Famed author Salman Rushdie, whose writings prompted the Supreme Leader of Iran to put a bounty on his head in 1989, was attacked ahead of a planned speech in New York on Friday, the Associated Press reports.
A man was witnessed storming the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and “punching or stabbing” Rushdie in the midst of the author being introduced, according to an Associated Press reporter on the scene. Rushdie suffered an “apparent stab wound to the neck,” reports ABC News.
The Sun U.S. reports: “According to images from the scene, there were splatters of blood on the walls in the Chautauqua Institute after the attack on author Salman Rushdie just before his lecture.”
Rushdie was transported to hospital via helicopter. His condition is currently unknown.
The man who is believed to have attacked the author has reportedly been detained.
New York State Police has launched a swift investigation into the attack.
“We can think of no comparable incident of a public violent attack on a literary writer on American soil,” PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement. “Salman Rushdie has been targeted for his words for decades but has never flinched nor faltered.”
Rushdie’s book “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.
A bounty of over $3 million has also been offered for anyone who kills Rushdie.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.