Author Salman Rushdie is expected to lose an eye and is currently breathing with the assistance of a ventilator after he was stabbed multiple times as he took the stage to give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York on Friday.
CTV news reports that 75-year-old Rushdie also suffered severed nerves in his arms and damage to his liver from the attack which saw a man storm the stage and begin punching and stabbing the writer.
The suspect, Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey, was arrested at the scene and is being held without bail in the Chautauqua County Jail. Reports say Matar stabbed Rushdie multiple times in the neck and abdomen which left the author bloody and on the ground.
Rushdie is known for his writings and his most notorious work, The Satanic Verses, has been banned in Iran since 1988. The book is considered blasphemous by many Muslims and has led to death threats, mostly from Iran, since the 1980s.
Event attendees rushed onto the stage to Rushdie's defense. He was airlifted to the hospital where doctors began surgery on him immediately.
"For 33 years, Salman Rushdie has embodied freedom and the fight against obscurantism," Macron wrote on Twitter.
"Hate and barbarism have just struck him, cowardly. His fight is ours, universal. Today, more than ever, we are at his side."
Attendees who spoke to CTV questioned the event security. Henry Reese, 73, who was also on stage to moderate the discussion with Rushdie, suffered minor injuries to his face during the attack, police said. He was treated and released, MSN reports.
Police have not yet laid a motive and charges are pending. The FBI were searching his home on Friday.
In 1989, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie's death because of The Satanic Verses and placed a bounty on his head. That bounty currently sits at $3 million.
Iran's current government has toned down the anti-Rushdie sentiment, but the bounty remains.
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