“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”
Salman Rushdie, former Booker prize winner and the author of books like Midnight’s Children, Shame, and the acclaimed Satanic Verses, was brutally attacked at Chautauqua Institution in New York, where he had come to deliver a speech.
The attacker, now identified as Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old man hailing from New Jersey, repeatedly stabbed the author in the abdomen and the neck. Reportedly, Rushdie is on the ventilator and has suffered severe liver and nerve damage. He may also lose an eye.
As the news of the attack broke in the media, Twitter reacted to intolerance, polarization, and the threat to freedom of speech in the hatred-filled world today.
Unhinged men wanting to police the world through violence. Salman Rushdie stabbed today. FBI attacked yesterday. I fear these examples of violence will only keep escalating with polarization, disinformation and extremism going mainstream.— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) August 12, 2022
Three months ago I heard Salman Rushdie speak at the PEN World Voices Festival. He said: “A poem cannot stop a bullet. A novel can’t defuse a bomb … But we are not helpless … We can sing the truth & name the liars.” We must tell better stories than the tyrants.— Jean Guerrero (@jeanguerre) August 12, 2022
For 33 years, Salman Rushdie has embodied freedom and the fight against obscurantism. He has just been the victim of a cowardly attack by the forces of hatred and barbarism. His fight is our fight; it is universal. Now more than ever, we stand by his side.— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) August 12, 2022
This Salman Rushdie quote hits hard today. pic.twitter.com/Rd2y3a4SRY— laney (@laneymakesstuff) August 12, 2022
I’d like to give a big “fuck you” to anyone applauding the attack on author Salman Rushdie. He wrote words. If you or your religion cannot handle words, the problem is with you and your religion.— Scott Lyons (@rscottlyons) August 12, 2022
For the unversed, a fatwa, attached with a bounty, was issued to kill Salman Rushdie in Iran in 1989, following the release of his novel, Satanic Verses.
No idea what the motive is here, but everyone should remember that the bounty on Salman Rushdie’s head from the Iranian government remains active and the Twitter account of Iran’s supreme leader was locked a few years ago for reminding people of that. https://t.co/oDATIzMluJ— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) August 12, 2022
Salman Rushdie is a kind & brave human, a brilliantly talented writer, and a role model for an entire generation of artists, especially many of us in the South Asian diaspora toward whom he’s shown incredible warmth. I hope he recovers quickly from this disgusting attack. ❤️🙏🏽— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) August 12, 2022
It’s appalling what has happened to Salman Rushdie. It’s also appalling that there are people who will think he brought it on himself or somehow deserved it.— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) August 13, 2022
My thoughts and prayers, for Salman Rushdie. an incredibly brave man.— Chris Rose (@ArchRose90) August 12, 2022
In a civilised society, people should be able to express different opinions about religions without fear of violence from cowardly creatures.
I condemn the barbaric attack on Salman Rushdie by some fanatic . I hope that NY police and the court will take the strongest action possible against the attacker .— Javed Akhtar (@Javedakhtarjadu) August 12, 2022
Salman Rushdie has been targeted for his words for decades by fundamentalists but that never stopped him from fiercely speaking out. The attack on him is terror attack designed to spread fear among those who choose to speak freely. Prayers for his recovery. #SalmanRushdie— Rohini Singh (@rohini_sgh) August 12, 2022
I stand a 100 % solidarity with Salman Rushdie, the unafraid champion of free speech, with this brave man who was attacked by a filthy coward yesterday and is now struggling for his life. Extremism MUST be punished. The good must speak and speak of logic, sanity and what’s right pic.twitter.com/BQjK9vHYfB— INJESTERS 🇮🇳 (@rockyandmayur) August 13, 2022
Sickened by the hateful and cowardly attack on author #SalmanRushdie. We should all condemn those who preach violence as a response to the free exchange of ideas.— Siddharth Kara (@siddharthkara) August 13, 2022
Horrific. Ugly. Salman Rushdie is 75. He did not deserve this.— Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay) August 12, 2022
Read his Midnight’s Children to know what writing is. A genius. A legend. This is such a cowardly act of a hate-filled mind.
People who fantasise about killing authors create a dangerous atmosphere. A vile regime hounded #SalmanRushdie but many individuals joined in. I’m thinking of other writers who’ve been targeted, like J K Rowling & Orhan Pamuk. It puts lives at stake & shames those who do it.— Joan Smith (@polblonde) August 13, 2022
Whether we like Salman Rushdie, his books, his writing style is irrelevant in today’s context of attack on him.I can dislike his books & still stand up 4him,defending same rights for him as I demand/expect for myself. Rights & freedom cannot be contextual it’s either there or not— fatma (@khatta_neembu) August 12, 2022
Attack on #SalmanRushdie is attack on the freedom of expression. It is condemnable in every term possible.— Barat Ali Batoor (@BaratBatoor) August 13, 2022