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Man Arrested for Stabbing Controversial Writer Salman Rushdie on Stage

Hadi Matar, a 42-year-old man from New Jersey, has been identified as the knifeman who attacked the ‘Satanic Verses’ author and left him with multiple knife wounds.

AceShowbiz -Salman Rushdie’s attacker has been named as 42-year-old Hadi Matar, while the author remains in surgery after being stabbed at least 15 times from behind. ABC News says Matar, of New Jersey, is currently in New York State Police custody.

Controversial writer Rushdie, 75, was airlifted to hospital after suffering multiple knife wounds, including one inflicted on his neck, as he was getting ready to give a lecture in New York on Friday, August 12. His agent, Andrew Wylie, confirmed on Friday night “The Satanic Verses” author was currently in surgery for his injuries, but did not have an update on his condition.

Rushdie was attacked as he was being introduced to the stage for the CHQ 2022 event in Chautauqua, near Buffalo, on Friday morning. Witnesses claim he was stabbed 10 to more than 15 times when a man leaped on him after rushing the stage.

They say the knifeman managed to walk off the stage after the stabbing, before being restrained as people rushed to assist Rushdie, who had been seated when he was attacked. Blood was seen spattered on the wall behind where Rushdie had been attacked. A male suspect is being held by New York state troopers after being arrested almost immediately after the bloodbath.

An interviewer speaking to Rushdie also suffered a minor head injury. Governor Kathy Hochul called the attack “heartbreaking”, but stressed during a press conference Rushdie was still alive and “getting the care he needs at a local hospital.”

She also said a state police trooper “stood up and saved his life” after the attack. Rita Landman was one of those who offered her assistance after the incident, adding that Rushdie appeared to be alive and did not receive CPR.

Landman said, “People were saying, ‘He has a pulse, he has a pulse he has a pulse.’ ” Roger Warner from Cleveland, Ohio, who was sitting on the front row when the attack took place, added, “He was covered with blood and there was blood running down onto the floor. I just saw blood all around his eyes and running down his cheek.”

Rushdie’s London-based son Zafar, 42, is said to be aware of the horror but it is not known if he is on his way to New York. Thousands of people in the audience gasped at the sight of the attack and were then evacuated as his alleged attacker was taken into custody.

John Bulette, 85, who also witnessed the attack said, “There was a huge security lapse. That somebody could get that close without any intervention was frightening.” Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” has been banned in Iran since 1988, as many Muslims consider it to be blasphemous. A year later, Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie’s death, with a bounty of more than $3 million (£2.5 million) offered for anyone who kills Rushdie.

Iran’s government has long since distanced itself from Khomeini’s decree, but anti-Rushdie sentiment lingered. In 2012, a semi-official Iranian religious foundation raised the bounty for Rushdie from £2.3 million ($2.8 million) to $3.3 million (£2.7 million.)

Rushdie dismissed the threat at the time, saying there was “no evidence” of people being interested in the reward. That year, Rushdie published memoir “Joseph Anton” about the fatwa. Rushdie has continued to receive death threats and was forced to live in hiding under constant armed guard for nine years to keep him safe.

Born into a liberal Muslim family, dad-of-two Rushdie is married to third wife, 51-year-old writer and model Padma Lakshmi, from 2004-2007. He became an atheist before being knighted for services to literature in 2007.

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