Salman Rushdie: Boris Johnson and other political figures react to author’s


Boris Johnson and JK Rowling were among those who voiced their shock after Sir Salman Rushdie was stabbed on stage in New York state.

The Indian-born British author, 75, whose writing led to death threats from Iran in the 1980s, was set to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution when the incident occurred, leaving him with an apparent stab wound to the neck.

Sir Salman’s book The Satanic Verses is viewed by many Muslims as blasphemous, with Iran’s then-leader Ayatollah Khomeini issuing a fatwa that called for the writer’s death.

Reacting to news of the attack, prime minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “Appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend.

“Right now my thoughts are with his loved ones. We are all hoping he is okay.”

Conservative leadership hopeful Rishi Sunak said on Twitter: “Shocked to hear of the attack on Salman Rushdie in New York.

“A champion of free speech and artistic freedom. He’s in our thoughts tonight.”

Former prime minister Tony Blair said the attack was “horrible and utterly unjustified”.

French president Emmanuel Macron said Sir Salman had “embodied freedom and the fight against obscurantism” for 33 years. He continued: “His fight is ours, universal. Today, more than ever, we are at his side.”

Salman Rushdie being loaded into a MedEvac helicopter

(EPA)

Members of the literary world also expressed their disbelief following the attack on the author.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling reacted, saying: “Horrifying news. Feeling very sick right now. Let him be ok.”

Author of Atonement, Ian McEwan, told The Guardian: “This appalling attack on my dear friend Salman represents an assault on freedom of thought and speech. These are the freedoms that underpin all our rights and liberties.”

He described Sir Salman as “a fiery and generous spirit, a man of immense talent and courage” who “will not be deterred.”

Neil Gaiman, author of the DC Comics series The Sandman, said he was “distressed” to see his friend had been attacked before a talk. He added: “He’s a good man and a brilliant one and I hope he’s okay.”

Author of The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini, condemned the attack as “cowardly”, describing Sir Salman as “an essential voice” who “cannot be silenced”.

Sir Salman’s publisher Penguin Random House said they are “deeply shocked and appalled” to hear that he had been stabbed at a literaty event.

Home secretary Priti Patel said she was “appalled to hear of the unprovoked and senseless attack”, adding: “Freedom of expression is a value we hold dear and attempts to undermine it must not be tolerated. My thoughts are with Sir Salman and his family.”

Transport secretary Grant Shapps wrote that “freedom of speech is fundamental to all strong democracies”, while…



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