‘The Satanic Verses’ author Salman Rushdie ‘on the road to recovery’, agent says: ‘His usual hot-headed and defiant humor remains intact’

MAYVILLE, NY – Salman Rushdie is “on his way to recovery,” his agent confirmed Sunday, two days after the author of “Satanic Verses” was fatally injured in a stabbing attack at a lecture in upstate New York.

The announcement follows news that the lauded writer was put on a ventilator on Saturday and can talk and joke. Literary agent Andrew Wylie warned that although “Rushdie’s condition is on track,” his recovery will be a lengthy process. Wylie previously said that Rushdie, 75, suffered liver damage and severed nerves in one arm and one eye, and likely lost the injured eye.

“Although his life-changing trauma was severe, his often hot-tempered and defiant sense of humor has remained intact,” Rushdie’s son Zafar Rushdie said in a statement. Sunday stressed that the author remains in critical condition. The statement on behalf of the family also expressed gratitude to “the spectators who bravely stood up for him”, as well as the police, doctors and “love and support from around the world”. “.

Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey, on Saturday pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and charged with assault in what a prosecutor called “an unprovoked, targeted attack , pre-planned” at Chautauqua Institution, a nonprofit retreat and education center.

The attack was met with global shock and outrage, along with praise for the man who, for more than three decades, overcame death threats and a $3 million bounty. shouted over his head for “The Satanic Verses”. Rushdie even spent nine years hiding under a British government protection program.

Henry Reese, 73, told the Associated Press: “It was an attack against his body, against his life, and against every value he stood for. The Pittsburgh Refugee City co-founder was on stage with Rushdie and suffered a forehead injury, bruises and other minor injuries. They planned to discuss the need for writers’ safety and freedom of expression.

Authors, activists and government officials have cited Rushdie’s bravery and longtime championing of free speech in the face of intimidation. Writer and longtime friend Ian McEwan calls Rushdie an “inspirational defender of persecuted writers and journalists,” and actor and author Kal Penn calls him “a role model for an entire generation.” artists, especially many of us in the South Asian community.”

“Salman Rushdie — with its human insight, unparalleled sense of story, refusal to be intimidated or silenced — represents essential, universal ideals,” said US President Joe Biden. know in a statement Saturday. “Truth. Courage. Resilience. The ability to share ideas without fear.”

Rushdie, who was born in India to a Muslim family and lived in the UK and US, is best known for his satirical and surrealist prose, beginning with the 1981 Booker Prize-winning novel “Midnight Children” “, in which he sharply criticized- Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Brimming with magical realism, 1988’s “Verses of Satan” drew outrage from some Muslims who saw elements of the novel as blasphemous.

They believe that Rushdie insulted the Prophet Muhammad by naming a character Mahound, a medieval corruptor, “Muhammad”. This character is a prophet in a city called Jahilia, which in Arabic refers to the time before Islam appeared on the Arabian peninsula. Another chain includes prostitutes who share the same name as some of Muhammad’s nine wives. The novel also implies that Muhammad, not Allah, may be the real author of the Quran.

The book was banned and burned in India, Pakistan and elsewhere when Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran issued a decree calling for Rushdie’s death in 1989. Khomeini died that same year, but the fatwa still exists. effect – although Iran has, in recent years, not focused on Rushdie.

Iran’s state newspaper, Iran Daily, hailed the attack as an “implementation of a sacred decree” on Sunday. Another hardline newspaper, Kayhan, called it “divine revenge” that would ease some of the Muslim anger.

Investigators are trying to determine if the suspect, born nearly a decade after the novel was published, acted alone. A prosecutor has alluded to the standing dead as a potential motive in arguing against bail.

“His resources are not important to me. We understand that the agenda made yesterday is something that has been adopted and that it is accepted by larger groups and organizations well beyond the legal boundaries of Chautauqua County,” said District Attorney. Jason Schmidt said.

Schmidt said Matar received tickets in advance for the event the author was speaking on and arrived a day early with a fake ID. The judge ordered Matar’s detention without bail.

Public defender Nathaniel Barone complained that it took too long for authorities to bring Matar before the judge, leaving him “caught on the bench at the state police barracks”, and insisted that Matar had the right to presumed innocent.

Barone said after the hearing that Matar had communicated openly with him and that he would try to find out if his clinet had a psychological problem or an addiction.

Matar was born in the United States to parents who emigrated from Yaroun in southern Lebanon, village mayor Ali Tehfe told AP. Flags of the Iranian-backed Shia rebel group Hezbollah, along with portraits of Hezbollah and Iranian leaders, were visible throughout Yaroun before journalists visiting Saturday were asked to leave.

A spokesman for Hezbollah did not respond to a request for comment.

In Tehran, some Iranians interviewed by the AP praised the attack on an author they believe had tarnished the Muslim faith, while others worried it would further isolate their country. .

A state trooper and a deputy county sheriff were assigned to Rushdie’s lecture, and police said the soldier made the arrest. But then, some longtime visitors to the bucolic holiday colony questioned why there wasn’t tighter security due to the history of threats against Rushdie.

On Friday, an AP reporter witnessed the attacker stab or punch Rushdie about 10 or 15 times. Reese, the moderator, told CNN he initially thought the attack was a joke.

News of the stabbing has led to renewed interest in “Verses of Satan,” which topped the bestseller list after the fatwa was released in 1989. As of Sunday morning, the novel ranked No. 11 out of Amazonlist of .com.

One of Rushdie’s ex-wives, author and TV presenter Padma Lakshmi, tweeted on Sunday that she was “relieved” by Rushdie’s prognosis.

“Anxious and speechless, finally able to exhale,” she wrote. “Now hope for a quick cure.”

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