The attack happened at about 11 a.m., shortly after Mr. Rushdie took the stage for a lecture. He was taken by helicopter to a local hospital, the state police said in a statement. His condition is not yet known. The attack shook the literary world.

It was not clear what motivated the attacker. Mr. Rushdie was undergoing surgery, his agent said. A witness said the assailant kept trying to attack Mr.Rushdie even after he was restrained. “It took like five men to pull him away and he was still stabbing,” she said.

PEN America chief executive officer: "We can think of no comparable incident of a public attack on a literary writer on American soil" "Just hours before the attack, on Friday morning, Salman had emailed me to help with placements for Ukrainian writers in need of safe refuge," she says.

“The Satanic Verses” was banned in Iran in 1989. The book is considered offensive to Islam. The author has been banned from the U.S. for more than a decade. He was in India to give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution.

Witness: “I could just see his fists sort of pounding on Salman’s head.” The conversation was scheduled to be moderated by Henry Reese, the co-founder of a Pittsburgh nonprofit. A trooper assigned to the event took the assailant into custody, the police said.
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