SALMAN Rushdie’s family broke in silence after the author was brutally stabbed at an event in New York.
His 75-year-old son, Zafar, said his father suffered a “serious, life-changing” injury, but his “flashy and defiant humour remained intact”.
Rushdie was slashed 15 times on Friday to the horror of New York viewers after years of death threats over his novel The Satanic Verses.
The Indian-born writer was rushed to the hospital but is now off the ventilator and can speak a few words.
His son Zafar today thanked the brave viewers who ran to support him as he shared an update on his father’s health.
He said: “After Friday’s attack, my father remains in critical condition in hospital receiving medical treatment.
“We are very relieved because yesterday he was removed from the ventilator and given oxygen and he was able to speak a few words.
“Although his life-changing wound was severe, his usual hot-headed and defiant humor remained intact.
“We are grateful to all the spectators who bravely rushed to his defense and performed first aid along with the police and doctors who cared for him and for the love and support from all over the world. In the world.
“We ask for patience and continued privacy as his family comes to his side to support and help him through this time.”
It comes as Rushdie’s alleged attacker – believed to be sympathetic to the Iranian regime – pleads not guilty after allegedly stabbing the author 15 times.
Hadi Matar, 24, was charged with attempted murder and assault after causing the horrific attack while Rushdie was on stage preparing for a lecture on Friday.
An attorney for Matar pleaded not guilty on his behalf during a scheduled hearing in New York.
Matar appeared in court wearing a black and white jumpsuit and a white mask. Hands cuffed in front.
Rushdie was introduced to speak to hundreds of audiences about artistic freedom when a man dashed onto the stage and pounced on the novelist, who has lived with a bounty on his head since the late 1980s.
Terrified attendees ran to his aid with photos from the scene showing Rushdie lying on stage as a crowd surrounded him.
Blood could be seen splattering across the screen in the cinema and the chair Rushdie was sitting in.
Iran’s dictatorship glorified the horror attack – branding Rushdie an “apostate” and “heretic” as it praised its attacker for “ripping the throats of God’s enemies with a knife”.
More than 30 years ago, the regime called for the killing of Rushdie – forcing him to go into hiding.
Rushdie, who was born to a Muslim Kashmiri family in Bombay, now Mumbai, before moving to the UK, has long faced death threats for her fourth novel, The Satanic Verses.
It was banned in many Muslim-majority countries when it was published in 1988.
A few months later, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then the supreme leader of Iran, announced a religious decree, or fatwa, calling on Muslims to kill the novelist and anyone involved with the publication of the book. books for blasphemy.
Rushdie, who calls her novel “quite gentle,” has been in hiding for nearly a decade.
Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator of the novel, was murdered in 1991.
The Iranian government said in 1998 it would no longer support fatwas, and Rushdie has lived relatively openly in recent years.
Iranian organizations, some affiliated with the government, have raised a multi-million dollar bounty for Rushdie’s murder.
And Khomeini’s successor as supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said most recently in 2019 that Fatwa is “unchangeable.”
Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency and other news outlets raised money in 2016 to increase the prize money to $600,000 (£500,000).