Novelist Salman Rushdie stabbed in New York: Reactions

Rushdie is the author of The Satanic Verses, a novel that drew death threats in the 1980s.

Salman Rushdie
Rushdie spent years in hiding amid continuous death threats [File: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP Photo]

Salman Rushdie, the India-born novelist whose book The Satanic Verses drew death threats from Iran in the 1980s, was attacked on Friday morning on stage just before he was about to speak at a literary festival in Chautauqua, in New York state.

Rushdie was airlifted to a hospital and details about his condition are still unknown.

Here are some reactions to the attack:

NSA Jake Sullivan

“We’re all praying for his speedy recovery. And we’re thankful to good citizens and first responders for helping him so swiftly.”

French President Emmanuel Macron

“For 33 years, Salman Rushdie has embodied freedom and the fight against obscurantism. He has just been the victim of a cowardly attack by the forces of hatred and barbarism. His fight is our fight; it is universal.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“The cowardly attack on Salman Rushdie is a strike on the freedom of expression that our world relies on. No one should be threatened or harmed on the basis of what they have written. I’m wishing him a speedy recovery.”

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell

“Strongly condemn the attack on Salman Rushdie and wish him a speedy recovery. International rejection of such criminal actions, which violate fundamental rights and freedoms, is the only path towards a better and more peaceful world.”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul

“Today’s attack on Salman Rushdie was also an attack on some of our most sacred values – the free expression of thought. We condemn all violence. We stand up for to attacks on our fundamental rights. And we remain firm in our commitment to speak and to write truth.”

New York Senator Chuck Schumer

“This attack is shocking and appalling. It is an attack on freedom of speech and thought, which are two bedrock values of our country and of the Chautauqua Institution.”

Committee to Protect Journalists President Jodie Ginsberg

“Shocking news. Salman Rushdie has always been a staunch defender of the rights of everyone to speak freely. My thoughts are with his loved ones.”

Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad

“You can kill us but you cannot kill the idea of writing & fighting for our dignity. I condemn the barbaric attack on Salman Rushdie. After surviving a kidnapping and an assassination plot in New York, I won’t feel safe on US soil until the US take strong action against terror.”

British writer JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series

“Horrifying news. Feeling very sick right now. Let him be ok.”

American author Stephen King

“I hope Salman Rushdie is okay.”


United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson

“Appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend. Right now my thoughts are with his loved ones. We are all hoping he is okay.”


Free Expression Organization Pen America CEO Suzanne Nossel

“We can think of no comparable incident of a public attack on a literary writer on American soil … Salman Rushdie has been targeted for his words for decades but has never flinched nor faltered. He has devoted tireless energy to assisting others who are vulnerable and menaced. While we do not know the origins or motives of this attack, all those around the world who have met words with violence or called for the same are culpable for legitimizing this assault on a writer while he was engaged in his essential work of connecting to readers.”

Norwegian Publisher William Nygaard, who was shot and wounded in 1993 after publishing Rushdie’s work

“Rushdie has paid a high price. He is a leading author who has meant so much to literature, and he had found a good life in the United States.”

Afghan-American writer Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner

“I’m utterly horrified by the cowardly attack on Salman Rushdie. I pray for his recovery. He is an essential voice and cannot be silenced.”

Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, Rushdie’s US publisher

“We are deeply shocked and appalled to hear of the attack on Salman Rushdie while he was speaking at the Chautauqua Institution in New York. We condemn this violent public assault, and our thoughts are with Salman and his family at this distressing time.”

UK Culture Minister Nadine Dorries

“Horrifying. An awful attack on a literary giant and one of the great defenders of freedom of expression. Thoughts with @SalmanRushdie and his loved ones.”

British novelist and fellow Booker Prize winner Ian McEwan

“This appalling attack on my dear friend Salman represents an assault on freedom of thought and speech. These are the freedoms that underpin all our rights and liberties. Salman has been an inspirational defender of persecuted writers and journalists across the world. He is a fiery and generous spirit, a man of immense talent and courage and he will not be deterred.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies