Indian-born writer Salman Rushdie, on whose head there has been a bounty since the 1980s for his novel The Satanic Verses, has been stabbed Friday during a conference in New York State.
Rushdie was rushed to a local hospital via helicopter where his condition has not been disclosed. Rita Landman, an endocrinologist who was in the audience, told The New York Times that the author had suffered stab wounds to the neck and other areas.
The writer had spent years in hiding and under police protection after Iranian Revolution leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a 1989 religious edict known as fatwa ordering every Muslim to kill him for his blasphemous work.
Although Iran has officially backtracked from the fatwa, a religious foundation in the country offered a US$ 3.3 million bounty for Rushdie in 2012.
A suspect was taken into custody Friday after being detained by people in the audience. The identity of the suspect has not been revealed, nor has his motivation for the attack.
The Chautauqua Institution in southwest New York state usually holds an array of programs including fine and performing arts, lectures, worship services, and religious programs.
Video footage from Friday's attack shows security staff swarming the stage and Rushdie lying on the ground.
“Rushdie suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck,” the New York State Police said in a statement.