Salman Rushdie Is ‘On the Road to Recovery’ Says Agent – NPR


Author Salman Rushdie, pictured in 2018, is expected to survive a knife attack, his agent says.

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Author Salman Rushdie, pictured in 2018, is expected to survive a knife attack, his agent says.

Rogelio V. Solis/AP

MAYVILLE, NY – Salman Rushdie is “on the road to recovery,” his agent confirmed on Sunday, two days after “The Satanic Verses” author was seriously injured in a stab wound at a conference in upstate New York.

The announcement followed news that the lauded writer was taken off a ventilator on Saturday and able to talk and joke. Literary agent Andrew Wylie warned that although “Rushdie’s condition is heading in the right direction”, his recovery would be a long process. Rushdie, 75, suffered a damaged liver and severed nerves in an arm and eye, Wylie previously said, and was at risk of losing the injured eye.

“While his life-changing injuries are severe, his usual fiery and defiant sense of humor remains intact,” Rushdie’s son, Zafar Rushdie, said in a statement on Sunday that noted the author remains in a state critical. The statement on behalf of the family also expressed gratitude for the “members of the public who bravely stood up for her”, as well as the police, doctors and “the outpouring of love and support from around the world”.

Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey, pleaded not guilty on Saturday to attempted murder and assault in what a prosecutor called “a targeted, unprovoked and planned attack” at the Chautauqua Institution, a center education and retirement nonprofit.

The attack has sparked global shock and outrage, as well as praise for the man who for more than three decades resisted death threats and a $3 million bounty on his head for “The Verses Satanic”. Rushdie even spent nine years in hiding under a British government protection scheme.

Authors, activists and government officials have cited Rushdie’s bravery and longstanding defense of free speech in the face of such intimidation. Writer and longtime friend Ian McEwan called Rushdie “an inspirational advocate for persecuted writers and journalists” and actor-author Kal Penn called him a role model “for a whole generation of artists, especially for many of us in the South Asian Diaspora”.

“Salman Rushdie – with his insight into humanity, with his unrivaled sense of history, with his refusal to be bullied or silenced – represents essential and universal ideals,” US President Joe Biden said in a statement on Saturday. a statement. “Truth. Courage. Resilience. The ability to share ideas without fear.”


Author Salman Rushdie receives treatment after being attacked at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY on Friday.

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Author Salman Rushdie receives treatment after being attacked at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY on Friday.

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Rushdie, who was born in India to a Muslim family and has lived in Britain and the United States, is known for his surreal and satirical prose, beginning with his 1981 Booker Prize-winning novel Midnight’s Children. in which he sharply criticized India at the time. -Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi.

Steeped in magical realism, 1988’s “The Satanic Verses” angered some Muslims who viewed elements of the novel as blasphemy.

They believed that Rushdie had insulted the Prophet Muhammad by naming a character Mahound, a medieval corruption of “Muhammad”. The character was a prophet in a town called Jahilia, which in Arabic refers to the period before the advent of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula. Another sequence has prostitutes who share names with some of Muhammad’s nine wives. The novel also implies that Muhammad, not Allah, may have been the true author of the Quran.

The book had already been banned and burned in India, Pakistan and elsewhere when Iranian Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie’s death in 1989. Khomeini died the same year, but the fatwa remains in force – although Iran, in recent years, had not focused on Rushdie.

Iran’s state-run newspaper, Iran Daily, on Sunday hailed the attack as an “implementation of divine decree”. Another radical newspaper, Kayhan, called it “divine revenge” that would partly calm the anger of Muslims.

Investigators were trying to determine if the suspect, born nearly a decade after the novel’s publication, acted alone. A prosecutor alluded to the current fatwa as a potential ground for opposing bail.

“His resources do not matter to me. We understand that the program that was implemented yesterday is something that has been embraced and is sanctioned by larger groups and organizations far beyond the jurisdictional borders of the Chautauqua County,” District Attorney Jason Schmidt said.

Schmidt said Matar got a pass to the event where the author was speaking and arrived a day early with a fake ID. The judge ordered Matar detained without bail.

Court-appointed attorney Nathaniel Barone complained that authorities took too long to bring Matar before a judge while leaving him “hanging on a bench in the state police barracks” and pointed out that Matar had the right to the presumption of innocence.

Barone said after the hearing that Matar was communicating openly with him and that he would spend the coming weeks trying to find out more about his client, including whether he had any psychological issues or addictions.

Matar was born in the United States to parents who emigrated from Yaroun in southern Lebanon, village mayor Ali Tehfe told The Associated Press. Flags of the Iran-backed Shiite militant group Hezbollah, as well as portraits of Hezbollah and Iranian leaders, were visible across Yaroun before visiting journalists on Saturday were told to leave.

Hezbollah spokesmen did not respond to requests for comment.

In Tehran, some Iranians interviewed by the AP welcomed the attack on a perpetrator who they said tarnished the Islamic faith, while others feared it could further isolate their country.

Event moderator Henry Reese, 73, suffered a facial injury and was released from hospital, police said. He and Rushdie had planned to discuss the United States as a haven for artists in exile.

A state trooper and a county sheriff’s deputy were assigned to the Rushdie conference, and police say the trooper made the arrest. But afterwards, some longtime visitors to the bucolic summer camp wondered why there wasn’t tighter security given Rushdie’s history of threats.

On Friday, an AP reporter saw the assailant stab or punch Rushdie about 10 or 15 times.

News of the stabbing sparked renewed interest in ‘The Satanic Verses’, which topped bestseller lists after the fatwa was published in 1989. As of Sunday morning, the novel ranked 11th rank on Amazon.com’s list.

One of Rushdie’s ex-wives, author and TV host Padma Lakshmi, tweeted on Sunday that she was “relieved” by Rushdie’s prognosis.

“Worried and mute, can finally breathe out,” she wrote. “Now I hope for a speedy recovery.”

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