On Friday, author Salman Rushdie was stabbed multiple times at a lecture in New York, with the Associated Press saying he was quickly hospitalized with a “damaged liver” and “severed nerves in his arm and an eye [that] he was likely to lose.” Rushdie was put on a ventilator, with his condition being described as “serious but recoverable.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Rushdie was taken off the ventilator last night and was in at least a good enough condition to “talk and joke.” His agent, Andrew Wylie, said in a statement that Rushdie is “headed in the right direction,” recovery-wise, but it will still be “a long process.” Rushdie’s son, Zafar Rushdie, said in his own statement that his father’s “usual feisty and defiant sense of humor remains intact,” and he thanked the audience members at the lecture who “bravely leapt” to Rushdie’s defense after the attack.
A man named Hadi Matar was arrested and charged with the stabbing, with THR saying he pleaded not guilty to attempted murder on Saturday. He reportedly got an advance pass to Rushdie’s lecture and arrived “a day early bearing a fake ID.” His public defender says he had been “hooked up to a bench at the state police barracks” for too long before seeing a judge, noting that he “has that constitutional right of presumed innocence.”
Rushdie, of course, has been the target of many, many death threats of the last 30 years, stemming from the publication of his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses. As of today, it doesn’t sound like law enforcement knows much about a potential motivation behind the attack, with the THR story adding that “investigators were working to determine whether the suspect, born a decade after The Satanic Verses was published, acted alone.”