Novelist Salman Rushdie has lost the use of an eye and one hand following an attack in August by a man who rushed the stage and stabbed him in the neck and torso multiple times.
The author, famed for his book “The Satanic Verses,” which made him the target of a 1989 death warrant issued by Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, was grievously wounded on stage at the Chautauqua Institution in New York on August 12, moments before a planned speech on artistic freedom.
Speaking to Spain’s El País, Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, confirmed that the 75-year-old author would survive the attack, but kept details of the severity of the author's injuries until now.
“[His wounds] were profound, but he’s [also] lost the sight of one eye,” Wylie said. “He had three serious wounds in his neck. One hand is incapacitated because the nerves in his arm were cut. And he has about 15 more wounds in his chest and torso. So, it was a brutal attack.”
Wylie did not confirm whether his client was still hospitalized.
“I can’t give any information about his whereabouts,” Wylie said. “He’s going to live…That’s the more important thing.”
The title of Rushdie’s book, “The Satanic Verses” refers to verses of the Quran that the author claimed had been removed, and made comments on Islam that hard-liners found offensive.
The Iranian regime offered $3 million to anyone who would succeed in killing Rushie following the publication of his book.
In a statement for his fatwa on Rushdie, former Iranian leader Khomeini said, “I inform the proud Muslim people of the world that the author of the Satanic Verses book, which is against Islam, the Prophet and the Koran, and all those involved in its publication who are aware of its content are sentenced to death.”
Hadi Matar, 24, was accused of stabbing Rushdie but pleaded not guilty to second-degree attempted murder and assault charges following the attack.
Wylie said that Rushdie had spoken previously of the possibility of attacks after calls for his death.
“The principal danger that he faced so many years after the fatwa was imposed is from a random person coming out of nowhere and attacking [him],” he said. “So, you can’t protect against that because it’s totally unexpected and illogical.”
“It was like John Lennon’s murder,” he said.