Famed author Salman Rushdie lost the use of one hand and an eye after an attack in August by a man who stormed the stage and stabbed him in the neck and torso several times — his agent confirmed last week.
Rushdie, the target of a 1989 death warrant issued by Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini over his groundbreaking book “The Satanic Verses,” was wounded while on stage at the Chautauqua Institution in New York on August 12, just before he planned on speaking about artistic freedom.
Andrew Wylie, literary agent for Rushdie, told Spain’s El País that the 75-year-old author would survive the brutal attack after his team kept the details of his injuries private 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.”
Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” title referred to verses of the Quran that Rushdie claimed had been removed; he also made references to Islam that hard-liners deemed offensive. Such offenses compelled the Iranian regime to offer more than $3 million to anyone who killed Rushdie.
“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,” Khomeini stated in his fatwa targeting Rushdie.
Iranian Prime Minister Mir Hussein Mousavi urged Hezbollah groups to “take the necessary action” against Rushdie, a native of India.
Rushdie denied the accusation that the book is blasphemous against Islam.
“I doubt very much Khomeini or anyone else in Iran has read this book or anything more than selected extracts taken out of context,” Rushdie said.
The mandate imposed by Iranian officials sent the author into hiding, where he spent the majority of nearly ten years living underground.
Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey — accused of stabbing Rushdie — pleaded not guilty to second-degree attempted murder and assault charges in the days following the attack.
Authorities have since incarcerated Matar after a Chautauqua County District Court grand jury charged him with one count of second-degree attempted murder and one count of second-degree assault, according to The Guardian.
Wylie said he and Rushdie had previously discussed the possibility of an attack after Iran’s Ayatollah imposed Islamic law calling 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 added.
Hank Berrien contributed to this report.