Salman Rushdie, the author whose writing led to death threats from Iran in the 1980s, was attacked Friday as he was about to give a lecture in western New York. An Associated Press reporter witnessed a man storm the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and begin punching or stabbing Rushdie as he was being introduced. The author was taken or fell to the floor, and the man was restrained.
Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses has been banned in Iran since 1988, as many Muslims consider it to be blasphemous. A year later, Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie’s death.
A bounty of over USD 3 million has also been offered for anyone who kills Rushdie.
Iran’s government has long since distanced itself from Khomeini’s decree, but anti-Rushdie sentiment lingered. In 2012, a semi-official Iranian religious foundation raised the bounty for Rushdie from USD 2.8 million to USD 3.3 million.
Rushdie dismissed that threat at the time, saying there was “no evidence” of people being interested in the reward.