British author Salman Rushdie, who was stabbed in New York while giving a lecture on Frida, is known for his outspoken activism in relation to freedom of speech.
The writer was the subject of controversy for his 1988 novel “Satanic Verses,” a book that many critics called “blasphemous” about Islam. The book’s publication led to multiple death threats and assassination attempts. As late as this year, the Government of Iran had offered money for anybody who could assassinate the author.
The author has been supportive of Ukraine’s efforts to fend off Russia’s invasion since 2014.
This past February, Rushdie joined over a thousand other prominent literary figures in signing an open letter that read, in part, that they were “appalled by the violence unleashed by Russian forces against Ukraine and urgently call for an end to the bloodshed. We stand united in condemnation of a senseless war, waged by President Putin’s refusal to accept the rights of Ukraine’s people to debate their future allegiance and history without Moscow’s interference.”
The writers’ letter continued that they”stand united in support of writers, journalists, artists, and all the people of Ukraine, who are living through their darkest hours. We stand by you and feel your pain. All individuals have a right to peace, free expression, and free assembly. Putin’s war is an attack on democracy and freedom not just in Ukraine, but around the world. We stand united in calling for peace and for an end to the propaganda that is fueling the violence.”
Accurately, the letter noted that there could be “no free and safe Europe without a free and independent Ukraine.”
An opponent of Russian and of the Iranian Governments, Rushdie had taken liberal positions and opposed the lack of media freedom in the two countries.
Early reports indicated that the would-be assassin was an American resident of Iranian extraction.
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