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The White House condemns ‘reprehensible’ attack on Salman Rushdie, calling the violence ‘appalling’

The White House has slammed the attack on author Salman Rushdie, who remains on a ventilator after being stabbed multiple times at a literary event in upstate New York.

Rushdie, 75, was attacked by Hadi Matar, 24, as he got onto the stage to give a speech at the Chautauqua Institution.

The nerves in his neck were severed in the attack, meaning that he could lose an eye, and his liver was damaged according to his agent.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, on behalf of the White House, said in a statement: ‘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.’

Rushdie has been the subject of death threats from the Iranian regime since the late 1980s, and his attacker is understood to be sympathetic to the Iranian regime and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, on behalf of the White House, called the attack an ‘appalling’ act of violence against the Satanic Verses author

Salman Rushdie, 75, was attacked by a Hadi Matar, pictured with Sheriff's deputies, who approached him from behind before stabbing him multiple times. The suspect was quickly pinned to the floor before being arrested

Salman Rushdie, 75, was attacked by a Hadi Matar, pictured with Sheriff’s deputies, who approached him from behind before stabbing him multiple times. The suspect was quickly pinned to the floor before being arrested

People rushed to assist the author after the attack, with the attacker being restrained by witnesses.  The motive for the stabbing is currently unknown

People rushed to assist the author after the attack, with the attacker being restrained by witnesses.  The motive for the stabbing is currently unknown

New Jersey Police officers stand guard near the building where alleged attacker Hadi Matar, lives in Fairview, New Jersey

New Jersey Police officers stand guard near the building where alleged attacker Hadi Matar, lives in Fairview, New Jersey

Since the 1980s, the IRGC have been linked to Hezbollah, offering training and funding to the primarily Lebanon-based terrorist organization. Hezbollah’s logo is based on the IRGC’s. 

Rushdie was issued a fatwa – a death sentence – in 1989 by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini after his book, the Satanic Verses, sparked and outcry with Muslims in Britain.

Rushdie has previously received death threats for his writing, with his book the Satanic Verses sparking protests in 1988

British-born Booker Prize winning author Sir Salman Rushdie (pictured in 2019) got death threats and was issued a fatwah by Iran for his 1988 novel, the Satanic Verses. He has lived in the U.S. since 2000 and was today preparing to give a lecture about America being a haven for writers in exile

The book supposedly insulted the Prophet Mohammed and The Koran, with Khomeini calling for Rushdie’s death, and also called for Muslims to point him out to those who could kill him if they could not themselves.

His agent, Andrew Wylie, gave an update on his condition, saying: ‘The news is not good. 

‘Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged.’ 

Authorities descended on the Fairview, New Jersey home of Matar hours after he allegedly attacked Rushdie onstage. 

A fake driver’s license bearing the surname of an infamous Hezbollah commander was also found with Matar’s details on. 

It bore the name Hassan Mughniyah which are first and second names are linked to infamous terrorist organization Hezbollah.

Rushdie was attacked on stage ahead of his speech in Chautauqua, near Buffalo, with witnesses claiming that he was 'punched and stabbed'

Rushdie was attacked on stage ahead of his speech in Chautauqua, near Buffalo, with witnesses claiming that he was ‘punched and stabbed’

Medics rushed to the scene to take the author to hospital to treat his injuries. A Chautauqua Institution spokesperson, where the event was taking place, said: 'We are dealing with an emergency situation. I can share no further details at this time.'

Medics rushed to the scene to take the author to hospital to treat his injuries. A Chautauqua Institution spokesperson, where the event was taking place, said: ‘We are dealing with an emergency situation. I can share no further details at this time.’

The driver’s license also included a reference to an address in West New York, New Jersey, less than three miles from his listed address in Fairview, New Jersey.

Matar, who police say gained access to the grounds with a pass, managed to walk off the stage before being restrained, as people rushed to assist Rushdie.

Event moderator Henry Reese, 73, a co-founder of an organization that offers residencies to writers facing persecution, was also attacked. He and Rushdie were due to discuss the United States as a refuge for writers and other artists in exile.

Reese was released from a hospital on Friday afternoon and in an emailed statement to the New York Times, he called Rushdie ‘one of the great defenders of freedom of speech and freedom of creative expression.

‘The fact that this attack could occur in the United States is indicative of the threats to writers from many governments and from many individuals and organizations.’


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