British writer Salman Rushdie was stabbed just before a lecture he was due to give in Chautauqua, about 470 kilometers from New York city. The perpetrator, a 24-year-old man from New Jersey, was overpowered by members of the public and has been arrested.

Police say Rushdie sustained a stab wound to his neck. He was transported to a hospital in a stretcher by helicopter. He will be operated on there, his publisher says. It is not known how Rushdie is exactly. Eyewitnesses report in American media that the writer was lying in a pool of blood, but apparently still alive.

Motive unclear
Police say they are not yet able to say what the suspect’s motive was. He had bought a ticket for the lecture and probably acted alone. According to the police, there were no indications in advance that Rushdie was in danger during the lecture.

Born in India in 1947 , Ahmed Salman Rushdie became notorious in the world of radical Muslims for his book The Satanic Verses , which was published in 1988 and which led to mass demonstrations in many Muslim countries .

A year later, the then spiritual leader in Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, declared Rushdie an outlaw and called for a fatwa to kill him.

Rushie, who had gone to study and live in England after his childhood in India, went into hiding for ten years and received permanent protection from the British police. At least one attempt was made to kill him with a failed bomb attack.