SALMAN Rushdie’s family have broken their silence after the author was brutally stabbed to death at an event in New York.
The 75-year-old’s son, Zafar, said his father suffered “serious, life-changing” injuries but “his usual lively and defiant sense of humor remains intact”.
Rushdie was stabbed up to 15 times in front of a horrified crowd in New York on Friday after years of death threats over his novel The Satanic Verses.
The Indian-born writer was taken to hospital but has now been taken off his ventilator and was able to say a few words.
His son Zafar today thanked the brave viewers who rushed to his aid as he shared an update on his father’s health.
He said: “Following Friday’s attack, my father is in critical condition in hospital and is receiving ongoing medical attention.
“We are very relieved that yesterday he was weaned off the ventilator and supplemental oxygen and was able to say a few words.
“Though his life-changing injuries are severe, his usual lively and defiant sense of humor remains.
“We are so grateful to all the viewers who bravely jumped to his defense and provided first aid, along with the police and doctors who attended to him and for the outpouring of love and support from around the world.
“We ask for continued patience and privacy while the family gathers at his bedside to support and help him during this time.”
It comes as Rushdie’s accused attacker – who is believed to be Iranian regime sympathizers – pleaded not guilty after allegedly stabbing the author 15 times.
Hadi Matar, 24, has been charged with attempted murder and assault after perpetrating the horrific attack while Rushdie was on stage preparing to give a lecture on Friday.
An attorney for Matar entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf during a prosecution hearing in New York.
Matar appeared in court wearing a black and white jumpsuit and a white face mask. His hands were tied in front of him.
Rushdie was being introduced to give a lecture on artistic freedom in front of hundreds of people when a man stormed onto the stage and pounced on the writer, who has been living on a bounty since the late 1980s.
Horrified attendees rushed to his aid with images from the scene, which showed Rushdie on stage with a crowd surrounding him.
Blood was splattered on a screen in the classroom and on a chair Rushdie was sitting in.
The Iranian dictatorship has hailed the horror attack, branding Rushdie a “renegade” and a “heretic” as they praised his attacker for “snapping the neck of the enemy of God with a knife”.
More than 30 years ago, the regime demanded the assassination of Rushdie and forced him into hiding.
Rushdie, who was born to a Kashmiri Muslim family in Bombay, now Mumbai, before moving to the UK, faced lengthy death threats over his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses.
After its release in 1988, it was banned in many countries with large Muslim populations.
A few months later, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s supreme leader at the time, issued a fatwa, or religious edict, calling on Muslims to kill the writer and anyone involved in the book’s publication for blasphemy.
Rushdie, who called his novel “pretty bland,” went into hiding for nearly a decade.
Hitoshi Igarashi, the novel’s Japanese translator, was assassinated in 1991.
The Iranian government said it would no longer support the fatwa in 1998, and Rushdie has lived relatively openly in recent years.
Iranian organizations, some linked to the government, have put up a million-dollar bounty for Rushdie’s murder.
And Khomeini’s successor as supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said as recently as 2019 that the fatwa was “irrevocable”.
Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency and other news outlets donated money in 2016 to increase the bounty by $600,000 (£500,000).
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5997285/salman-rushdies-family-break-silence-health-update/ Salman Rushdie’s family breaks the silence to give a major health update as the author is taken off a ventilator and able to speak