Author Salman Rushdie attacked on stage in New York

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LONDON — Novelist Salman Rushdie has been violently attacked while delivering a lecture in New York.

Police said Rushdie was airlifted to hospital after suffering “an apparent stab wound to the neck” Friday morning. His condition remains unknown.

The Booker Prize winner, who has been subject to death threats since the late 1980s from Iran after the publication of his book “The Satanic Verses,” was attacked by a man while speaking at an event held by the Chautauqua Institution, according to an Associated Press reporter in the room.

Other attendees reportedly restrained the attacker.

Iran’s then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie in 1989, declaring “The Satanic Verses” a blasphemy against Islam.

Rushdie spent the immediate years after the fatwa changing homes in the U.K.

Despite the death threats, Rushdie continued to advocate for freedom of speech and against extremism. But after years spent sharing his life with bodyguards and taking extreme measures to protect his life, the author told the press a decade ago that he believed the threat to his life was diminishing.

Born in Mumbai, India in 1947, Rushdie holds British and U.S. citizenship and has lived in New York since 2000.