Salman Rushdie
State Police: ‘Suspect Identified' In Salman Rushdie Attack Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

Salman Rushdie is off the ventilator and has been reported to be in a joking mood merely a day after he was stabbed on stage Friday. The controversial writer was removed from the ventilator over the weekend and despite suffering severe injuries was said to be already talking. No other information on his condition was revealed by fellow author Aatish Taseer who previously tweeted this but later deleted his post.

According to Reuters, the British-American author was still unable to speak Friday night as his agent, Andrew Wylie revealed that Rushdie had to undergo hours of surgery due to sustained wounds to his liver, nerve damage to his arm and that it is most possible for the author to lose an eye.

Rushdie’s attacker, Hadi Matar, 24, pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and assault following his arrest and court appearance on Saturday. Matar’s court-appointed lawyer, Nathaniel Barone, said they were still in the early stages of the case and refused to make any further comment. “They need to look at everything. They can't just assume something happened for why they think something happened.”

During the preliminary hearing, prosecutors said the attack was premeditated, as Matar had bought a pass to attend Rushdie’s talk at the Chautauqua Institution located in western New York. The suspect had traveled around 12 miles by bus from Lake Erie to get to the educational retreat facility where he rushed up to the stage and repeatedly stabbed the Indian-born author. Witnesses told police that Matar did not utter a word as he ran up to stab Rushdie 10 times.

A state trooper was able to arrest him at the scene after many from the audience gathered around tackling Matar down to the ground. A trooper and another sheriff's deputy were posted as security for the event at the request of the institution.

Authorities are yet to establish a motive for the attack, but an initial review of Matar’s social media revealed he was sympathetic to Shi’ite radicalism and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRG). No solid links could be established between Matar and the powerful Islamic factions, but Rushdie reportedly carries a bounty on his head from Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989. The Iranian leader declared a religious order, also known as a fatwa, that called for all Muslims to kill the author and anyone associated with publishing Rushdie's book, “The Satanic Verses.”

The novel is said to contain passages that were viewed by Muslims as blasphemous, resulting in the literature getting banned in countries highly populated by Muslims. In 1991, the Japanese translator of Rushdie’s novel, Hitoshi Igarashi, was stabbed to death at Tsukuba University despite having a number of bodyguards due to constant death threats. No arrests have been made and the case still remains unsolved.

Handout provided by Chautauqua County Jail of Hadi Matar who attacked Salman Rushdie
In this handout provided by Chautauqua County Jail, Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey poses for a mugshot after he was arrested on one count of attempted second-degree murder and one count of second-degree assault at the Chautauqua County Jail August 12, 2022 in Mayville, New York. Matar was accused by prosecutors of a ‘preplanned’ attack on author Salman Rushdie before being remanded without bail. Photo by Chautauqua County Jail via Getty Images

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