Author Salman Rushdie on the road to recovery, taken off ventilator

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Author Salman Rushdie, 75, who was stabbed at an event in western New York on Friday, is on the road to recovery. According to The New York Times, he has been taken off the ventilator and can speak again.

“[The road to recovery] will be long; the injuries are severe, but his condition is headed in the right direction,” said Andrew Wylie, Rushdie’s long-time agent, in an email to Reuters on Sunday.

Following the attack on Friday, my father remains in critical condition in hospital receiving extensive ongoing medical treatment,” tweeted Rushdie’s son, Zafar. “Though his life-changing injuries are severe, his usual feisty and defiant sense of humour remains intact.”

Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old resident of New Jersey, attacked the author on Friday ahead of a scheduled public lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York, stabbing him over 10 times. Following the incident, the author was airlifted to a Pennsylvania hospital. Matar pleaded not guilty in court on Friday and has been held without bail for a week till his next court appearance.

Rushdie was put on a ventilator and suffered nerve damage in his arm and potential loss of the use of an eye, according to a statement by Wylie. A fatwa (religious edict), calling for Rushdie’s murder, was announced in 1989 by the then-Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, after the release of his The Satanic Verses (1988). Incidentally, India was the first country to ban the book, nine days after its release. The novel, a satire on the life of Prophet Muhammad, was accused of blasphemy. Consequently, the author went into hiding for nine years, during which he survived several assassination attempts. Even though the fatwa is still in place, Rushdie only resumed public life in 2000, after the Iranian government distanced itself from the fatwa in 1998.

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