Salman Rushdie Talking Following Stabbing Attack

Author Salman Rushdie was talking Saturday, a day after he was repeatedly stabbed as he was about to deliver an address on artistic freedom at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York state.

The president of the Chatauqua Institution, Michael Hill, tweeted the news late Saturday.

Doctors had placed the author on a ventilator after the assault and resulting surgery.

Rushdie has lived with a price on his head following the publication of his book The Satanic Verses in 1988.

Hadi Matar, the man accused of attacking Rushdie pleaded not guilty Saturday to charges of attempted murder and assault. He is being held without bail. A motive for the attack is not clear.

The publication of The Satanic Verses prompted Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s supreme leader at the time, to issue a fatwa to kill Rushdie and anyone involved with the book’s publication because the subject matter was deemed blasphemous to Islam.

A fatwa is an Islamic religious decree. While Khomeini has died, the fatwa remains in effect.

Rushdie lived his life in seclusion for about nine years after the issuance of the fatwa but has lived a more open life since.

The 75-year-old writer suffered damage to his liver in the stabbing and severed nerves in an arm. Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, said Friday that Rushdie would likely lose an injured eye.

U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement, “Salman Rushdie -- with his insight into humanity, with his unmatched sense for story, with his refusal to be intimidated or silenced -- stands for essential, universal ideals. Truth. Courage. Resilience. The ability to share ideas without fear. These are the building blocks of any free and open society.”

The attack on the author brought into question security protocols at the Chautauqua Institution.

The establishment said Saturday it is introducing new and more stringent security measures.

Source: Voice of America