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Salman Rushdie: World reacts as controversial author stabbed in New York state | World News

The stabbing of author Sir Salman Rushdie has shocked and horrified fellow writes and world leaders, with many praising him as a defender of free speech.

The 75-year-old remains on a ventilator after being airlifted to hospital and undergoing hours of surgery following the attack in New York state.

And messages of support have been pouring in for the Indian-born British author.

Fellow novelist Ian McEwan said: “This appalling attack on my dear friend Salman represents an assault on freedom of thought and speech.

“These are the freedoms that underpin all our rights and liberties. Salman has been an inspirational defender of persecuted writers and journalists across the world.”

Read more:
Why is Salman Rushdie so controversial?

Norwegian William Nygaard, who was shot and severely wounded in 1993 after publishing Sir Salman’s work, said: “He is a leading author who has meant so much to literature, and he had found a good life in the United States.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted: “Shocked and appalled to hear of the unprovoked and senseless attack on Sir Salman Rushdie.

“Freedom of expression is a value we hold dear and attempts to undermine it must not be tolerated. My thoughts are with Sir Salman and his family.”

Boris Johnson said: “Appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend.

“We are all hoping he is okay.”

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “For 33 years, Salman Rushdie has embodied freedom and the fight against obscurantism… His battle is ours, a universal one.”

Melvyn Bragg, Ian McEwan Sir Salman Rushdie poses at Sir Salman Rushdie Book Launch Party at the The Collection on Friday September 14, 2012 in London. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP)
Image:
Ian McEwan and Sir Salman Rushdie

Multimillion-selling horror writer Stephen King tweeted: “I hope Salman Rushdie is okay.” before adding “What kind of ***hat stabs a writer, anyway? F*****!”

Comedian and author David Baddiel tweeted: “It’s appalling what has happened to Salman Rushdie. It’s also appalling that there are people who will think he brought it on himself or somehow deserved it.”

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said: “Today, the country and the world witnessed a reprehensible attack against the writer Salman Rushdie. This act of violence is appalling.

“All of us in the Biden-Harris Administration are praying for his speedy recovery. We are thankful to good citizens and first responders for helping Mr Rushdie so quickly after the attack and to law enforcement for its swift and effective work, which is ongoing.”

And Suzanne Nossel, of free expression group Pen America, said: “While we do not know the origins or motives of this attack, all those around the world who have met words with violence or called for the same are culpable for legitimising this assault on a writer while he was engaged in his essential work of connecting to readers.”

Why is Salman Rushdie so controversial? | US News

Salman Rushdie is an Indian-born British author whose writing about religion and politics has made him controversial in some parts of the world.

His first three novels – Grimus (1975), Midnight’s Children (1981) and Shame (1983) – were all met with praise but it was his fourth – The Satanic Verses – that brought criticism.

Some of the scenes in the 1988 book depict a character modelled on the Prophet Muhammad and this was met with anger from some members of the Muslim community in the UK.

They considered it blasphemous.

Protests spread as far as Pakistan in January 1989 and the following month, the spiritual leader of revolutionary Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, condemned the book and issued a fatwa against him.

A bounty was offered for his execution.

The book was burned around the world and translators of the work were attacked – Hitoshi Igarashi, who translated it into Japanese, was murdered in 1991.

Rushdie adopted an alias and went into hiding under the protection of Scotland Yard, although he appeared in public occasionally.

Rushdie continued to write, despite the threat to his life

Despite the threat to his life, he continued to write and in 1998 the Iranian government said it would no longer enforce the fatwa.

The fatwa was never actually revoked, however, and The Satanic Verses remains banned in Iran and a number of other countries.

Rushdie wrote about his experience in the third-person memoir Joseph Anton in 2012.

Speaking in New York three years later, he said: “If you’re a free expression organisation, if you believe in the value of free speech, then you must believe in the value of free speech that you don’t like.

“If you only defend free speech that conforms to your own moral framework that’s what is normally called censorship.”

He was knighted in 2007, a move that was criticised by the Iranian and Pakistani governments.