Salman Rushdie Is Off Ventilator and Starting to Recover & More Latest News Here

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The attack happened in a center dedicated to learning and reflection. A video on TikTok that was subsequently taken down showed the chaotic scene moments after the attacker had jumped onto the stage at the normally placid institution. Mr. Rushdie, who had been living relatively openly after years of a semi-clandestine existence, had just taken a seat to give a talk when a man attacked him.

A crowd of people immediately rushed to where the author lay on the stage to offer aid. Stunned members of the audience could be seen throughout the amphitheater. While some were screaming, others got up and moved slowly toward the stage. People started to congregate in the aisles. A person could be heard yelling “Oh, my God” repeatedly.

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Security at the Chautauqua Institution is minimal. At its main amphitheater, which regularly hosts popular musical acts and celebrity speakers and where Mr. Rushdie was scheduled to speak, there are no bag checks or metal detectors.

Little is known about Mr. Matar, the man accused of the attack. At a house listed as his residence in Fairview, N.J., no one answered the door on Saturday morning. Many of Mr. Matar’s neighbors said they did not know him or his family, although some residents, when shown a photograph of Mr. Matar, said they recognized him as someone who would walk around the neighborhood with his head down, never making eye contact.

In Lebanon, the mayor of Yaroun, a village on the southern border with Israel, said that Mr. Matar’s father lives there, and that authorities had been trying to reach him without success. The father lives in a stone house in the village’s center and tends to flocks of goats and sheep, said the mayor, Ali Tihfe.

“He’s refusing to see anyone, or even open the door for us,” Mr. Tihfe said in a phone interview.

Mr. Rushdie had been living under the threat of an assassination attempt since 1989, about six months after the publication of his novel “The Satanic Verses.” The book fictionalized parts of the life of the Prophet Muhammad with depictions that offended some Muslims, who believed the novel to be blasphemous. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who led Iran after its 1979 revolution, issued an edict known as a fatwa on Feb. 14, 1989. It ordered Muslims to kill Mr. Rushdie.

Hwaida Saadcontributed reporting from Beirut.

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