Salman Rushdie told two weeks ago life ‘very normal again’ and fears of an attack were in the past


Salman Rushdie told two weeks ago how his life was ‘very normal again’ and fears of an attack were in the past – as the Satanic Verses author continues recovery in hospital after being stabbed on stage

  • In final interview before stage stabbing, Rushdie said he didn’t worry about edict
  • Acclaimed author had $3m bounty on head stemming from Iranian death threat
  • ‘Fatwa was sent by fax. That’s all a long time ago. Nowadays life is normal again’
  • Conversation with German magazine Stern was set to be published on August 18

Salman Rushdie said his life was ‘very normal again’ after years of hiding and death threats in his final interview just days before he was stabbed on stage.

In an interview with German magazine Stern earlier this month, Mr Rushdie said death threats ‘have become more normal’ – but that the fatwa no longer scared him.

He said: ‘A fatwa is a serious thing. Luckily we didn’t have the internet back then. The Iranians had send the fatwa to the mosques by fax. 

‘That’s all a long time ago. Nowadays my life is very normal again.’

Iran issued a call on Muslims worldwide to kill the India-born author in 1989 after his fourth novel, the Satanic Verses, was considered blasphemous.

The British-American author, 75, has been taken off a ventilator two days after he was stabbed up to 15 times by extremist Hadi Matar, 24, on stage in New York.

Rushdie is even able to ‘talk and joke’, a friend who visited him confirmed this morning.

Matar has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault in New York.

Rushdie (pictured in Los Angeles in 2013) has now been taken off a ventilator and can speak. There had been fears he would be left unable to talk after the attack last week

Rushdie (pictured in Los Angeles in 2013) has now been taken off a ventilator and can speak. There had been fears he would be left unable to talk after the attack last week

Salman Rushdie was attacked before he was due to give a talk to an audience in New York state. Here he is pictured on stage moments before the attack

Salman Rushdie was attacked before he was due to give a talk to an audience in New York state. Here he is pictured on stage moments before the attack

Rushdie told a German magazine earlier this month that the fatwa against him no longer scared him. Here bystanders and staff tend to Mr Rushdie on stage after the attack

Rushdie told a German magazine earlier this month that the fatwa against him no longer scared him. Here bystanders and staff tend to Mr Rushdie on stage after the attack

The acclaimed author was rushed to hospital after being stabbed '10-15 times' while on stage. Here he is pictured being taken to a air ambulance

The acclaimed author was rushed to hospital after being stabbed ’10-15 times’ while on stage. Here he is pictured being taken to a air ambulance

The acclaimed writer also told Stern that despite the ‘scary times’ we live in – and the fact the internet has made the world ‘infinitely more dangerous’ – he no longer fears the fatwa.

Rushdie said: ‘I always tell people: don’t be afraid. 

‘But the bad thing is that death threats have become more normal. Not only politicians get them, even American teachers who take certain books off the syllabus.

‘I think a lot of people today live with similar threats to the ones I had back then. And the fax machines they used against me is like a bicycle rather than a Ferrari compared with the internet.’

Mr Rushdie came out of a decade-long hiding in 1998 after incoming Iranian president Mohammad Khatamisaid he no longer supported the fatwa.

But some Muslims continued to back Ayatollah Khamenei’s extreme edict – and the bounty on Rushdie’s head was raised to $3million (£2.7million).

Rushdie, who became a US citizen in 2016 and lives in New York City, said he was most worried about threats to democracy in the United States.

‘Trump’s victory over truth is most important there. His people believe that they are lied to by the others, not by him,’ he said.

Rushdie's fourth book, which he is pictured holding in February 1989, prompted a fatwa edict for his murder by the state of Iran. It has been ignored by frontline politicians since 1998

Rushdie’s fourth book, which he is pictured holding in February 1989, prompted a fatwa edict for his murder by the state of Iran. It has been ignored by frontline politicians since 1998

Earlier this month Rushdie, 75, had said his life had become 'very normal again' as fear of the fatwa faded

Earlier this month Rushdie, 75, had said his life had become ‘very normal again’ as fear of the fatwa faded 

Hadi Matar, 24, arrives for a hearing at Chautauqua County Courthouse, NY yesterday. He pleaded not guilty to attempted murder

Hadi Matar, 24, arrives for a hearing at Chautauqua County Courthouse, NY yesterday. He pleaded not guilty to attempted murder

Rushdie added that he is optimistic about the future, stating: ‘I believe something very good is happening in the young generation. It is much more inclined to activism. We are seeing a generation grow of age that we urgently need right now, a combative one. 

‘We need people who can organise themselves, and people who are prepared to fight. Fighters. For a society worth living in. 

‘As an author I also notice that young authors are becoming role models again – instead of the way it used to be, namely just the dead ones.’

And asked whether he was nostalgic, Rushdie said, ‘Not necessarily. I love history, but when it concerns my own life, I prefer to look ahead.’

Booker Prize winner Salman Rushdie spent years in hiding after being issued ‘spiritual’ death threat by Iran

Sir Salman Rushdie is a Booker Prize-winning author and novelist.

His writing is often based around the themes of connections and migrations between Western and Eastern civilizations.

He won the Booker Prize in 1981 for his second novel, Midnight’s Children. His writing has spawned 30 book-length studies, and over 700 articles on his writing.

Rushdie’s writings have broadly been acclaimed to the genres of magical realism and historical fiction.

He has been living in the US since 2000, and he was named a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University in 2015.

He has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize five times, including for Midnight’s Children, in 1983 for Shame, in 1988 for The Satanic Versus, in 1995 for The Moor’s Last Sign, and in 2019 for Quichotte.

Salman Rushdie, 75, is an Indian-born author who has been acclaimed for his writing in the genres of magical realism and historical fiction

Salman Rushdie, 75, is an Indian-born author who has been acclaimed for his writing in the genres of magical realism and historical fiction

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