Lauding Salman Rushdie for consistently standing up for the universal rights of freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Sunday said that the Iranian state institutions have incited violence against the Indian-origin author for generations and state-affiliated media recently gloated about an attempt on his life.
Rushdie, who received death threats from Iran due to his book 'The Satanic Verses', was stabbed on Friday morning by a 24-year-old attacker at a literary event in New York.
"We join those across the country and around the world who are keeping Salman Rushdie in our thoughts in the aftermath of this heinous attack. More than a literary giant, Rushdie has consistently stood up for the universal rights of freedom of expression , freedom of religion or belief, and freedom of the press," Blinken said in a statement.
State Secretary further said that while the officials are investigating the attack, he was reminded of the pernicious forces that seek to undermine these rights, including through hate speech and incitement to violence
Blinken said Iranian state institutions have incited violence against the Indian-origin author for generations and state-affiliated media recently gloated about an attempt on his life. "This is despicable," he added.
The United States and its partners will not waver in their determination to stand up to these threats, using every appropriate tool at their disposal. The strength of Rushdie and that of all of those around the world who have endured such threats steels the resolve and underscores the imperative of standing united as an international community against those who would challenge these universal rights, Blinken said.
On Sunday, Rushdie was disconnected from the ventilator and is now able to talk. Rushdie's agent, Andrew Wylie, confirmed that Rushdie was taken off a ventilator and could be able to talk, without giving further details, according to The Washington Post.
Meanwhile, Hadi Matar, who is suspected of stabbing Rushdie, pleaded not guilty to attempted murder in the second degree and other charges in a New York court.
Rushdie is a celebrated India-born British-American author and winner of numerous literary prizes. The seventy-five-year-old author hogged the limelight with his novel 'Midnight's Children' in 1981. The India-born author won Booker Prize for the novel which was also adapted for the stage.
But his 1988 book 'The Satanic Verses' led to a fatwa, a religious decree, by the then Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The threat forced him into hiding for several years.
Rushdie's books have been translated into several languages. (ANI)