“He’s off the ventilator, so the road to recovery has begun,” Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, told DailyExpertNews on Sunday. “It will take a long time – the injuries are serious. But his condition is moving in the right direction.”
“While his life-changing injuries are serious, his usual snappy and defiant sense of humor remains intact,” the statement said.
Rushdie was preparing to give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institute on Friday when a man jumped on stage and stabbed him in several places, including in the neck and abdomen.
“It was very hard to understand. It looked like some kind of bad joke and it didn’t have any sense of reality,” said Ralph Henry Reese, another speaker at the event who suffered a minor head injury during the attack. He was taken to a hospital by ambulance and later brought home with a facial injury.
“And when there was blood behind him, it got real,” Reese told DailyExpertNews’s “Reliable Sources” on Sunday.
Rushdie was flown to a hospital after the attack and underwent surgery, police said. The author may eventually lose his right eye, Schmidt said.
“We are so grateful to all the members of the public who bravely jumped to his defense and provided first aid along with the police and doctors who looked after him,” the statement said, “and for the outpouring of love and support from across the country.” whole world .”
In a tweet Sunday, Padma Lakshmi, the TV host and the author’s former wife, said she was “relieved” that Rushdie is “coming through after Friday’s nightmare”.
“Worried and wordless, can finally exhale. Now hoping for a speedy recovery,” she said.
The suspect pleads innocent
The lawyer said Matar has been “very cooperative” and communicated openly, but he did not discuss what was said during those talks.
Matar was denied bail and remanded to the Chautauqua County Jail. His next court hearing is Friday.
He faces up to 32 years if convicted on both charges, Schmidt said.
The FBI is now working with local and international authorities to investigate the attack on the Chautauqua Institute, which took place in front of an audience when Rushdie was introduced.
A witness, Joyce Lussier, was sitting in the second row when she saw a man jump across the stage and lunge at Rushdie. She heard people screaming and crying, she told DailyExpertNews, and saw people from the audience running onto the stage.
Another witness, Stephen Davies, who videoed the moments just after Rushdie was attacked, said he could not tell if the attacker had a knife in his hand, although the charges against Matar indicate that he used a knife.
“He jumped up on Mr. Rushdie and started beating him real quick with his hand,” Davies said. “I was completely stunned and shocked.”
The suspect had a ticket to the event which is now facing questions about its security procedures
The suspect arrived in Chautauqua at least a day before the event and bought a ticket to the event two days earlier, Schmidt said during Matar’s arraignment.
Matar traveled by bus to Chautauqua carrying cash, prepaid Visa cards and false identification, said Schmidt, who called the stabbing a “targeted, pre-planned, unprovoked attack on Mr. Rushdie.”
There were no security screenings or metal detectors at the event, a person who witnessed the attack told DailyExpertNews. The witness has not been identified as they were concerned for their personal safety.
The attack has raised questions about security measures at the host institution.
According to two sources who spoke to DailyExpertNews on condition of anonymity, the institution’s leadership had rejected recommendations for basic security measures, including bag checks and metal detectors, for fear it would create a divide between speakers and audience. .
Institution president Michael Hill defended his organization’s security plans when asked at a news conference on Friday whether more precautions would be taken at future events.
“We review for each event what we think is the right level of security, and this was definitely one that we thought was important, which is why we had a State Trooper and Sheriff there,” Hill said. “We will assess what we believe is the appropriate level of security for each of the events at the institution and that is an ongoing process that we are working on with local law enforcement.”
Matar – who authorities say has no documented criminal history – was described as a quiet person who mostly kept to himself. DailyExpertNews spoke exclusively with State of Fitness Boxing Club owner Desmond Boyle, who said Matar enrolled at the gym in North Bergen, New Jersey, in April.
“You know that look, that look of ‘it’s the worst day of your life’? He came in like this every day,” Boyle told DailyExpertNews on Saturday.
While the investigation continued, police were seen Friday night at a New Jersey home believed to be associated with the suspect.
Rushdie had a bounty on his head
Rushdie’s writings have won him several literary awards, but it was his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, that received the most criticism, as some Muslims found the book sacrilegious. The book, which led to demonstrations, was banned in several countries.
The late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who described the book as an affront to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, issued a religious decree or fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death in 1989.
As a result, Rushdie began a decade under British protection.
The bounty against Rushdie has never been lifted, although in 1998 the Iranian government tried to distance itself from the fatwa by promising not to implement it.
However, in 2017, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was asked if the “fatwa against Rushdie was still in effect”, and he confirmed that it was, saying: “The decree is as issued by Imam Khomeini. “
Kiely Westhoff, Andy Rose, Paul P. Murphy, Aya Elamroussi, Ray Sanchez, Christina Maxouris, Artemis Moshtaghian, Sara Smart and Samantha Beech of DailyExpertNews contributed to this report.