“satanic verses” author Salman Rushdie was taken off a ventilator and was able to speak on Saturday, the day after he was stabbed, while preparing to give a lecture in upstate New York.
Rushdie remained in the hospital with serious injuries, but a fellow author atish tazir tweeted that evening that he was “off the ventilator and talking (and joking)”.
agent Rushdie, Andrew Wileyconfirmed this information without providing further details.
Earlier in the day, a man is accused of assaulting him on Friday at Chatoqua Institutenon-profit educational and retreat center pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault charges in what the prosecutor called a “pre-planned” crime.
Lawyer for Hadhi Matar filed on his behalf during a trial in western New York.
The suspect appeared in court wearing a black and white jumpsuit and a white mask, his hands cuffed in front of him.
The judge ordered that he be held without bail after District Attorney Jason Schmidt told her that Matar, 24, had taken steps to deliberately put himself in a position to hurt Rushdie by obtaining a pass in advance to the event the author was speaking at and arriving a day early with a fake ID.
“This was a targeted, unprovoked, pre-planned attack on Mr. Rushdie,” Schmidt said.
public defender Nathaniel Baron complained that it took too long for the authorities to bring Matar before a judge, leaving him “connected to a bench in the state police barracks”.
“He has this constitutional right to be presumed innocent,” Barone added.
Rushdie is likely to lose an eye
Rushdie, 75, suffered liver damage and damaged nerves in his arm and eye, Wylie said Friday night.
He most likely lost his injured eye.
The attack was met with shock and outrage from much of the world, along with tributes and praise for the award-winning writer who faced death threats for over 30 years for “satanic verses.”
Writers, activists and government officials have noted Rushdie’s courage and his longstanding defense of free speech despite the risks to his own safety.
Writer and longtime friend Ian McEwen called Rushdie “an inspirational advocate for persecuted writers and journalists around the world” and an actor-writer Kal Penn called him a role model “for a whole generation of artists, especially for many of us in the South Asian diaspora, to whom he showed incredible warmth.”
the president Joe Biden said Saturday in a statement that he and the first lady Jill Biden were “shocked and saddened” by the attack.
“Salman Rushdie – with his understanding of humanity, with his unrivaled sense of history, with his refusal to intimidate or silence – stands for basic, universal ideals,” the statement said. “Truth. Courage. Persistence. The ability to share ideas without fear. These are the building blocks of any free and open society.”
Rushdie, an Indian native who has since lived in the UK and the US, is known for his surreal and satirical prose style, beginning with his Booker Prize1981 winning novel.midnight children”, in which he sharply criticized the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi.
The Satanic Verses drew death threats after it was published in 1988, and many Muslims considered the life-based dream episode to be blasphemy. Muhammad the prophetamong other objections.
Rushdie’s book had already been banned and burned in India, Pakistan and other countries even before Iran Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa or decree calling for Rushdie’s death in 1989.
Rushdie’s attacker acted alone?
Khomeini died that same year, but the fatwa remains in effect.
The current Supreme Leader of Iran, Khameneinever issued his own fatwa to rescind the decree, although Iran has not paid much attention to the writer in recent years.
Investigators were trying to determine if the suspect, who was born ten years after The Satanic Verses was published, was acting alone.
District Attorney Schmidt cited a fatwa as a potential motive in objecting to bail.
“Even if this court sets bail at a million dollars, we risk bail being posted,” Schmidt said.
“His resources don’t matter to me. We understand that the agenda that was implemented yesterday was adopted and sanctioned by larger groups and organizations far beyond the jurisdiction of Chatoqua County,” the prosecutor said.
Barone, a public defender, said after the hearing that Matar spoke openly with him and that he would spend the coming weeks trying to find out about his client, including whether he has psychological or addiction issues.
Matar from Fairview, New Jersey.
Rosaria Calabresemanager Condition of the fitness boxing cluba small, closely related gym in nearby North Bergen, said Matar joined on April 11 and took part in about 27 group classes for beginners looking to improve their fitness before emailing her a few days ago that he wants to cancel his membership because “he won’t be back for a while”.
gym owner Desmond Boyle said he saw “nothing cruel” in Matara, describing him as polite and quiet, but one who always looked “extremely sad”.
Rushdie’s attacker was born in America
He said that Matar resisted attempts by him and others to welcome and involve him.
“He had that look every time he walked in. It seemed like it was the worst day of his life,” Boyle said.
Matar was born in the United States to parents who emigrated from Yarun in southern Lebanon, the oldest resident of the village. Ali Tehfeawning Associated Press.
Flags of an Iranian-backed Shiite militant group Hezbollah are visible throughout the village along with portraits of the leader Hassan Nasrallah, Khamenei, Khomeini and the murdered Iranian. General Qasem Soleimani.
The journalists who visited Jarun on Saturday were asked to leave.
Hezbollah representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
Iran’s theocratic government and its state media did not give a motive for the attack.
Several Iranians interviewed by AP in Tehran praised the attack on the author they believe it tarnished the Islamic faith, while others feared it would further isolate their country.
On Friday, an AP reporter witnessed an assailant stabbing or punching Rushdie about 10 or 15 times.
event moderator Henry ReeseThe 73-year-old man suffered a facial injury and was treated and released from the hospital, police said.
USA, a refuge for artists in exile
He and Rushdie planned to discuss the United States as a haven for writers and other artists in exile.
A state police officer and a county sheriff’s deputy were assigned to Rushdie’s lecture, and the police said the officer had made the arrest. But subsequently, some longtime visitors to the Chautauqua Institute wondered why there weren’t tighter security measures given Rushdie’s threats and a reward of more than $3 million on his head.
On Saturday, the center said it was boosting security with measures such as requiring a photo ID to buy passes that could previously be obtained anonymously.
Visitors entering the amphitheater where Rushdie was attacked will also be prohibited from carrying any type of bag.
The changes, along with an increase in the presence of armed police in the pastoral area, came as something of a shock to the people of Chatoquah, who have long enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere that the almost 150-year-old resort colony is known for.
News of the stabbing led to renewed interest in The Satanic Verses, which topped bestseller lists after the 1989 fatwa was published.
As of Saturday afternoon, the novel was ranked 13th on Amazon.com.
The death threats and largesse Rushdie faced for the book after its publication forced him into hiding as part of the British government’s protection program, which included round-the-clock armed guards.
After nine years of seclusion, Rushdie carefully summed up his public appearances.
In 2012, he published a fatwa memoir titled “Joseph Anton,” the alias I used when hiding.
That same year, during a speech in New York, he said that terrorism was actually the art of fear: “The only way to defeat it is to decide not to be afraid.”