Salman Rushdie, author of “The Satanic Verse,” was taken off a respirator and able to speak the day after he was stabbed while preparing a talk in upstate New York.
Rushdie remained hospitalized with serious injuries, while fellow author Artish Tashir tweeted earlier in the evening that he was “talking (and joking) off the ventilator.” Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wiley, confirmed the information without providing further details.
Earlier in the day, the man accused of attacking him at the Chautauqua Institution, a nonprofit education and retreat center, on Friday was charged with attempted murder and assault in what prosecutors called a “preplanned” crime. pleaded not guilty to
Hadi Matar’s attorney filed a petition on his behalf during the western New York arraignment. The suspect appeared in court wearing a black and white jumpsuit and a white face mask and handcuffed in front.
A judge ruled that District Attorney Jason Schmidt took steps to put 24-year-old Matter in a position to intentionally harm Rushdie, obtain an advance pass to the event the author was talking about, and bring a fake. ID ordered him to be held without bail after he said he arrived a day early.
“This was a targeted, unprovoked, pre-planned attack against Mr. Rushdie,” Schmidt said.
Public defense attorney Nathaniel Barone complained that authorities took too long to bring Matar before a judge, leaving him “chained to a bench in the state police barracks”.
“He has a constitutional right to a presumption of innocence,” added Barone.
Rushdie, 75, had suffered liver damage and severed nerves in his arm and eye, Wiley said Friday night.
The attack was met with shock and outrage by many around the world, along with tributes and admiration for the award-winning author, who has faced death threats for “Satanic Verse” for over 30 years.
Writers, activists, and government officials have cited Rushdie’s bravery and long-standing defense of free speech despite the risks to his own safety. Writer and longtime friend Ian McEwan called Rushdie “an inspirational advocate for persecuted writers and journalists around the world,” and actor and author Kal Penn called “an entire generation of artists, I have cited him as a role model, especially for many of us in South Asia, a diaspora in which he displayed an incredible warmth.
President Joe Biden said in a statement on Saturday that he and his wife, Jill Biden, were “shocked and saddened” by the attack.
“With his insight into humanity, his unparalleled sense of storytelling, and his refusal to intimidate or silence, Salman Rushdie represents essential and universal ideals.”Truth. courage. Resilience. Ability to share ideas without fear. These are the building blocks of a free and open society. ”
Originally from India, Rushdie has lived in the UK and the US since, and is known for her surreal and satirical prose style beginning with her Booker Prize-winning 1981 novel Midnight’s Children. , Indira Gandhi.
After “The Satanic Verses” was published in 1988, many Muslims viewed the dream sequences based on the life of the Prophet Muhammad as blasphemy and provoked death threats. Iran’s great ayatollah, Ruhollah Khomeini, had been banned and burned in India, Pakistan and other places before issuing a fatwa, or edict, calling for the death of Ayatollah.
Khomeini died that same year, but the fatwa remains in effect. Iran’s current supreme leader, Khamenei, has never issued his own fatwa revoking an edict, but Iran has not focused on writers in recent years.
Investigators were working to determine whether the suspect, who was born ten years after “The Satanic Verse” was published, acted alone.
District Attorney Schmidt alluded to the fatwa as a potential motive for opposing bail.
“Even if this court sets a million dollar bail, it could still be paid,” Schmidt said.
“His resources are not important to me. I understand that the agenda that was run yesterday was adopted and approved by larger groups and organizations well beyond the jurisdictional boundaries of Chautauqua County. ‘ said the prosecutor.
Barone, a public defender, said after the hearing that Matar had been in candid contact with him and would be available on a number of upcoming occasions to learn more about his client, including whether he had any psychological or addiction issues. It will take weeks.
Matter is from Fairview, New Jersey. Rosalía Calabrise is the manager of the State of Fitness Boxing Club, a small tight-knit gym in nearby North Bergen, Mattar joined on April 11 and emailed her a few days ago. A while ago, I attended about 27 group sessions for beginners trying to improve their fitness.
Jim’s owner, Desmond Boyle, said there was “nothing violent” about Mattar, and that he was polite and quiet but always looked “extremely sad.” He said Matar welcomed him and resisted his and others’ attempts to get involved.
“He had this look on his face every time he came in. It looked like he had the worst day of his life,” Boyle said.
Matar was born in the United States to parents who migrated from Yaron in southern Lebanon, village chief Ali Teefe told the Associated Press.
Flags of the Iran-backed Shia militant group Hezbollah are visible throughout the village, along with portraits of leaders Hassan Nasrallah, Khamenei, Khomeini and the slain Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
Journalists who visited Yarrow on Saturday were asked to leave. A Hezbollah spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Iran’s theocratic government and its state media have not specified a motive for the attack. In Tehran, some Iranians interviewed by the AP hailed the attack on an author they believed had undermined their Islamic faith, while others feared it would further isolate their country. Worried.
On Friday, an AP reporter witnessed the attacker stabbing and punching Rushdie about 10 or 15 times.
Event host Henry Reese, 73, suffered facial injuries and was discharged after receiving treatment, police said. He and Rushdie planned to discuss the United States as a haven for writers and other artists in exile.
A state trooper and county sheriff’s deputy were assigned to lecture Rushdie, and police said officers made the arrest. But then, some longtime visitors to the Chautauqua Institution wondered why there was no tight security, given the threats against Rushdie and his over $3 million bounty on his head. I wondered.
On Saturday, the center said it was increasing security through measures such as requiring photo ID when purchasing gate passes that previously could be obtained anonymously. Patrons entering are also prohibited from carrying bags of any kind.
The change, along with the increased presence of armed police for idyllic reasons, has come as a shock to the Chautauquans, who have long enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere known as the nearly 150-year-old holiday colony. rice field.
After the publication of Fatwa in 1989, interest in “The Satanic Verses” rose again, topping the bestseller list.
As death threats and bounties were faced after Rushdie’s publication, Rushdie went into hiding under a British government protection program that included 24-hour armed guards. After nine years of quarantine, Rushdie made a discreet public appearance.
In 2012, he published a memoir about fatwas, “Joseph Anton”.
In a New York lecture that year, he said that terrorism is actually the art of terror.