Salman Rushdie has reportedly been taken off a ventilator and is once again able to talk with others after being brutally attacked during an event in New York.
Salman Rushdie is once again able to speak with others after being seriously injured during a brutal stabbing at an event in New York on Friday, during which the Indian-born British-American author was scheduled to speak.
While the motive for the assault has not been confirmed, the 75-year-old was placed under a fatwa by Iran’s late Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, over his novel The Satanic Verses, with the country’s Islamist authorities offering nearly three million dollars to anyone who managed to murder the author.
Rushdie was subsequently forced into hiding after Khomeini ordered “Muslims of the world rapidly to execute the author and the publishers of the book”.
Iran’s current leadership were thought to have been trying to put some distance between themselves and the religious assassination order in recent years — although Khomeini’s successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, refused to revoke the fatwa.
According to a report by the Associated Press, despite the serious nature of the injuries Rushdie sustained as a result of the stabbing, the author is now once again conscious, with one fellow author reportedly claiming in a now-deleted tweet that the British national is “off the ventilator and talking (and joking)”.
This information was reportedly confirmed to the news agency by Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, though no further details were given.
Wylie had previously said that Rushdie was likely to lose an eye as a result of the assault, which also reportedly damaged some of the author’s organs.
“Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged,” the agent said back when Rushdie was reportedly on a ventilator and unable to speak.
While the exact motive for the attack at the event in New York remains unknown, more details continue to emerge over the stabbing, which has since been described as a “targeted, unprovoked, pre-planned attack” by a district attorney.
For instance, evidence has emerged that Hadi Matar, the man suspected of stabbing Rushdie, has expressed sympathy for radical Shia organisations in the past, including Iran’s own Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Matar, who pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder on Saturday, also reportedly carried a fake driver’s licence bearing the name “Hassan Mughnaiyah” — possibly in reference to senior Hezbollah paramilitary leader Imad Mughniyah, whose organisation has been strongly backed and influenced by Iran’s Islamist regime.
Some sections of Iranian media have also praised the attack on Rushdie, who has reportedly been referred to as a “heretic” and an “apostate” in some publications.
These factors have stoked anger in the West, with senior Tory party bigwig and candidate for prime minister Rishi Sunak now demanding that harsher sanctions are slapped on Iran, and that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps be designated a terror organisation.
“The situation in Iran is extremely serious and in standing up to [Vladimir] Putin we can’t take our eye off the ball elsewhere,” Sunak was reported as saying by The Telegraph, also claiming that a “nuclear-armed Iran would pose an existential threat to our ally Israel, and indeed imperil the whole of Europe with ballistic missile capability”.
“The brutal stabbing of Salman Rushdie should be a wake-up call for the West, and Iran’s reaction to the attack strengthens the case for proscribing [the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terror organisation],” he went on to say.