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Presidenton Saturday that he is “shocked and saddened” after the stabbing of author Salman Rushdie
Rushdie was stabbed multiple times before a speech at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York, on Friday. The attacker allegedly rushed onto the stage and stabbed him in the neck. Rushdie is undergoing surgery at a local hospital.
“Jill and I were shocked and saddened to learn of the vicious attack on Salman Rushdie yesterday in New York. We, together with all Americans and people around the world, are praying for his health and recovery. I am grateful to the first responders and the brave individuals who jumped into action to render aid to Rushdie and subdue the attacker,” Biden said in a statement.
“Salman Rushdie—with his insight into humanity, with his unmatched sense for story, with his refusal to be intimidated or silenced—stands for essential, universal ideals. Truth. Courage. Resilience. The ability to share ideas without fear. These are the building blocks of any free and open society. And today, we reaffirm our commitment to those deeply American values in solidarity with Rushdie and all those who stand for freedom of expression,” he added.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan condemned the attack in a statement on Friday.
“Today, the country and the world witnessed a reprehensible attack against the writer Salman Rushdie,” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement. “This act of violence is appalling. All of us in the Biden-Harris Administration are praying for his speedy recovery.”
“We are thankful to good citizens and first responders for helping Mr. Rushdie so quickly after the attack and to law enforcement for its swift and effective work, which is ongoing,” he continued.
A State Trooper assigned to the event at the Chautauqua Institution took the suspect, identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar, into custody, New York State Police said. The event moderator also suffered a minor head injury.
Andrew Wylie, an agent for Rushdie, told The New York Times that the writer is on a ventilator and is unable to speak.
“The news is not good,” Wylie said. “Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged.”
Rushdie has lived under the threat of a fatwa on his life after Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini condemned his book, “The Satanic Verses,” as blasphemy in 1989 and called for the author’s death. The book was also banned in Iran. A fatwa is a decree from an Islamic religious leader.
Iran has offered more than $3 million for anyone who kills Rushdie.
has since distanced itself from Khomeini’s decree, but Rushdie still faced opposition. A semi-official Iranian religious foundation raised a bounty for Rushdie in 2012 from $2.8 million to $3.3 million.
Fox News’ Adam Sabes and Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this report.