Author Salman Rushdie has been seriously injured after he was stabbed on stage as he was gearing up to give a lecture at an event in upstate New York on Friday morning. The renowned novelist was on stage at the Chautauqua Institution when he was suddenly attacked, video from the event shows.
Rushdie, 75, was attending the event for a debate on the United States as an asylum for creative expression and as a haven for writers and other artists in exile. He was stabbed just when he was about to begin his lecture. The author reportedly was stabbed in the neck and was profusely bleeding.
A video from the scene shows the attacker stabbing Rushdie, as he collapsed on stage. Organizers of the event were seen rushing to the author's help. As Rushdie was being introduced, a guy reportedly stormed the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and started hitting or stabbing Rushdie.
Rushdie fell through a stage barrier following the attack, and witnesses told the Washington Post that they saw blood on the author's hand.
Rushdie reportedly managed to leave the stage with the help of witnesses. Rushdie's condition is presently not known. A man has been arrested by New York police, and he is being investigated.
Rushdie's 42-year-old son Zafar, who lives in London, is aware of the incident and has watched his father being taken to the hospital by air ambulance following the assault.
Hundreds of spectators were removed after gasping in horror at the atrocity. The wall behind the area where Rushdie had been attacked appeared to be covered in blood, and some blood was also visible on a chair.
"We are dealing with an emergency situation. I can share no further details at this time," a spokesperson from Chautauqua Institution said.
According to reports, the attack could have been fatal had security personnel not rushed to stage on time and tackled the attacker.
Rushdie courted controversy with his award-winning book "The Satanic Verses". Iran banned him in 1988 as several Muslims view the book as disrespectful because he supposedly insulted Prophet Mohammed and The Koran.
After the release of "Satanic Verses", a culture war also sparked in 1988 in Britain. The book was also banned by Pakistan and the country issued a fatwa.
The fatwa, came after a string of book burnings in Britain and riots throughout the Muslim world that left 60 people dead and hundreds more hurt.
In 1989, Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie's death. The fatwa was later retracted by the Iranian government, but as recently as 2012, an Iranian semi-official religious group put a $3 million bounty on the author's head.
Rushdie previously said that Iran sent him a "kind of Valentine's card" every year to remind him that the country has not forgotten its promise to kill him after forcing him to go into hiding for 10 years under police protection.