Author Salman Rushdie, whose work has earned him death threats, was stabbed in the neck at a literary event in upstate New York Friday, when an assailant stormed the stage soon after his introduction.
Rushdie, who was scheduled to talk at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, N.Y., some 75 miles south of Buffalo, was rushed to a nearby hospital by helicopter, the New York State Police said in a statement. The author’s condition is unknown.
State Police took the assailant into custody.
A witness who was in the audience told The Post that Rushdie tried to run off the stage, and the two men scuffled before audience members rushed onstage to subdue the attacker.
“As this was happening, several members of the crowd were yelling fearfully and saying ‘he’s stabbing him!’” the audience member said.
The witness described the assailant as tall, and wearing a black hat and a mask.
Rushdie fell through a stage barrier following the attack, and witnesses told the Washington Post that they saw blood on the author’s hand.
Rushdie was treated for apparent injuries on stage.
Rushdie’s work earned him death threats in the 1980s, when the Iranian government banned “The Satanic Verses,” which some Muslims consider blasphemous.
In 1989, Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie’s death.
The Iranian government has since walked back the fatwa, but as recently as 2012 a semi-official religious organization inside Iran placed an over $3 million bounty on the author’s head.
The assailant’s motive was unclear on Friday, and police have not identified the attacker.
With Post wires