White House condemns attack on Rushdie: ‘Appalling’
The White House on Friday denounced the attack on author Salman Rushdie, who was stabbed onstage just before he was about to speak at an event in western New York.
“Today, the country and the world witnessed a reprehensible attack against the writer Salman Rushdie,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement. “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,” the statement concluded.
Rushdie, 75, was stabbed in the neck and abdomen. Following the attack, he was immediately flown to a hospital on Friday to undergo surgery. The author’s agent, Andrew Wylie, said that Rushdie was put on a ventilator Friday evening and was suffering from a damaged liver and severed nerves in his arm. The agent added that Rushdie was likely to lose an eye.
Police identified the suspect of the attack as Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, N.J. Matar was awaiting arraignment after he was arrested at the Chautauqua Institution.
Rushdie, who is of Indian descent, became a controversial figure after the publishing of his novel “The Satanic Verses,” which garnered backlash globally and among the Muslim community.
In 1989, then-Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie, and Rushdie has since spent years in hiding and faced threats on his life.
It is unclear at this point the motivation for the attack.
Rushdie’s novel is still banned in a number of countries, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and India.