Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has described Bangladesh's relationship with the United States as "outstandingly warm and cordial," but noted that some quarters are trying to inject bitterness into this relationship through lies. The foreign minister said that the United States believes in democracy and human rights. "So, there is similarity in our views and thoughts with the United States. In principle, the two countries have similarities. However, some individuals may not appreciate our development," Momen said, calling upon the Bangladeshi expatriates in the United States to be vigilant. Govt can't guarantee violence-free election without support from all: FM Momen He urged the Bangladeshi diaspora to take a stand, regardless of their political affiliation, to challenge those who lie about Bangladesh. The foreign minister was speaking at a views-exchange meeting organized by the Bangabandhu Foundation in New York's Bangladeshi-dominated Jackson Heights on September 26. The foreign minister said, "We have remarkably friendly relations with the United States. America believes in the same principles and values we believe in. Bangladesh is the country where we have fought for democracy. Although we won the popular vote, we were not allowed to form the government in 1971. Rather, genocide was unleashed on us, and then Bangabandhu declared independence." FM Momen for strengthening trade, investment ties with African nations Momen said Bangladesh declared independence to establish democracy, justice, and human rights. "Because of this, we had to sacrifice three million lives during the Liberation War. Nowhere in the world have so many people sacrificed themselves for democracy and human rights in such a short period of time. We are the only nation in the world that has made such great sacrifices for democracy and human rights," he added. Referring to the replacement of the Digital Security Act, he said, the government accepted the suggestions provided by the United States as a friendly country. Read Cyber Security Bill before making comments: FM "The United States expects free and fair elections, and we are also committed to free and fair elections. But there are some people in our country who want to boycott the elections, they fear elections," the foreign minister said, referring to the opposition, that they are trying to thwart the election. The foreign minister said Bangladesh is now the 35th largest economy in the world. "If Bangladesh's current economic development continues, we will become the 26th largest economy in a few years. We have 17 crore people, so our own market is huge. That's why many people are interested in our country, because our per capita income has increased 5 times," he said. Momen said the poverty rate has been reduced by more than half. "All these have become possible due to the implementation of goal-oriented measures of the government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina." Momen also said, "We are now self-sufficient in food. We are third in the world in fish and vegetable production. We are fourth in the world in rice production. Our agricultural land has shrunk, but food production has quadrupled. This has been possible due to the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina." Momen said as Bangladesh is making progress, many people do not like the development activities of the country. "We are an independent, sovereign country. Our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has given us a beautiful foreign policy. And this principle is 'friendship to all, malice to none.' We believe in this principle. We follow a balanced foreign policy," said the foreign minister. Bangabandhu Foundation United States unit General Secretary Abdul Quader Mia was present at the event as a special guest. Other leaders including Moshiur Malek, Fakir Ilyas, Abdul Khalek Mia, New York Correspondent of Bangladesh Protidin Lovelu Ansar were present.
Singapore will upgrade its consulate in Dhaka to a high commission from October 1. The upgrade reflects the enhanced economic and people-to-people relations between Singapore and Bangladesh, said the government of Singapore. Singapore's support sought for Rohingya repatriation, Dhaka's inclusion as ASEAN Dialogue Partner The development was shared by Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, to Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on September 20 during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York. The high commission’s operating hours will be from 9 am to 5 pm, Sundays to Thursdays (closed on Bangladesh’s public holidays and Singapore’s National Day). Foreign minister seeks to expand economic ties with Singapore Foreign Minister Dr Momen had earlier requested the Singapore Foreign Minister to set up a full-fledged mission in Dhaka that would benefit both countries. Momen called for more investment from Singapore in Bangladesh and said that Singapore can take the opportunity to invest in Bangladesh’s special economic zones. Singapore delegation meets BGMEA leaders to discuss trade potential
Biman Bangladesh Airlines is working to expand its international routes to enhance air connectivity for Bangladeshi passengers, Managing Director and CEO of the national flag carrier, Shafiul Azim, has said. “We have taken initiatives to operate flights on some important routes across the globe including to New York, Chennai, Bengaluru, Los Angeles, Rome, Male, and Guangzhou.” The Biman CEO shared the information during an exclusive interview with UNB “Gradually we will be able to start flights on these routes. We are evaluating and working on how to start flights on each of these routes within the shortest possible time,” he added. Biman currently operates regular flights to 19 destinations around the world. “We have a fleet of 21 aircraft including Dreamliners. Ten new aircraft are being purchased from Airbus,” he added. New aircraft from Airbus will facilitate the expansion of routes and will open up new directions in coordination with other countries, the Biman CEO hoped. Read: Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Gulf Air forge strategic partnership for enhanced travel connectivity With the addition of the new aircraft, the number of flights on popular routes can also be increased, which would in turn create a more competitive market and help in reducing ticket prices. The Biman CEO said, “We are working on expanding our network not only in Asia but also in western countries, especially in Europe.” Besides, Biman has already done everything to launch direct flights from Dhaka to New York, he said. He further said some formal work is going on with Civil Aviation, Federal Aviation Authority and their Department of Transport. If everything goes well, all activities regarding flight operations on the new routes, including New York, are scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. He said that Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Gulf Air have recently started a partnership – set to revolutionise travel between Bangladesh and the Gulf region. As a result, passengers can travel from Dhaka to Bahrain and Bahrain to Dhaka with onward connection to Chattogram and Sylhet via both airlines (Biman and Gulf Air). Read: Biman Bangladesh Airlines launches online travel date change service In addition, it will benefit both airlines through enhanced operational efficiency and shared expertise in the aviation industry, he added. “We are starting flights to Narita (Tokyo), Japan from September 1. Chennai is also being considered as a destination. Apart from this, we are going to resume flights to Guangzhou in China by the middle of September. Besides, we are trying to establish communication and code sharing with other countries through Narita in Japan,” the Biman CEO said. Regarding the launch of flights to Japan, he said that Bangladesh has very good bilateral relations with Japan, and they have investments here. “We are launching a direct Dhaka-Narita (Tokyo) flight from September 1, 2023 and it is a major achievement for us,” the Biman Bangladesh Airlines CEO said, adding, “Bangladeshi students are going to study in Japan and Japanese businessmen are coming here. Besides, many people travel to Japan from neighbouring countries. We have a good air network with the West compared to the East. Through Dhaka-Narita (Tokyo) direct flights, a new horizon will open,” CEO Azim added. Besides, Biman will take initiative for improvement of the Bangladesh-Japan tourism sector. Read more: 2 flights of Biman Bangladesh Airlines on Friday cancelled At the same time, “we are moving forward with marketing strategies so that passengers from neighbouring countries can travel to and from Japan via Dhaka,” the Biman Bangladesh Airlines CEO said.
A Bangladeshi-owned restaurant in New York’s Queens came under attack by an unidentified gunman on Saturday (June 3, 2023), injuring one employee and sending customers running for cover, CBS News reports. Surveillance video from inside Boishakhi Restaurant -- in the Astoria neighbourhood of Queens -- shows people, including children, who were sitting down eating and in line waiting for food, running out of the establishment and ducking for cover after a gunman opened fire. "We had a lot of customers inside. After the initial shooting, he moved around a bit, then he went behind my counter and shot one of my employees," restaurant owner Abu Taher told CBS News. Read more: Top Instagrammable rooftop restaurants in Banani According to Taher, the gunman, who was wearing a mask and a red hooded sweatshirt, fired three shots. "He didn't say anything. He just came and shot and ran away," he said. One of the bullets hit an employee of the restaurant in the upper thigh. Police say the shooter took off running. Read more: Best Instagrammable Rooftop Restaurants at Gulshan in Dhaka While the motive is still being investigated, sources say the gunman got into an argument with an employee in the store earlier in the week. Now, the shattered glass, bullet holes and half-eaten food left behind are a grim reminder to the family who runs the restaurant that gun violence can affect you when you least expect it. "Definitely scared, you know. It's a very small business," Taher told CBS. "I'm really scared to run a small business in New York City. It's not safe, actually. We are not safe. Our life is not safe." Boishakhi Restaurant -- near 36th Avenue and 29th Street in the Astoria neighbourhood -- was previously featured in The New York Times for its delicious Bangladeshi food. It also received “Special Congressional Recognition” in 2021 for its community service during the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more: Police: 8 killed in Texas mall shooting, gunman also dead
His name has been plastered on this city’s tabloids, bolted to its buildings and cemented to a special breed of brash New York confidence. Now, with Donald Trump due to return to the place that put him on the map, the city he loved is poised to deliver his comeuppance. Rejected by its voters, ostracized by its protesters and now rebuked by its jurors, the people of New York have one more thing on which to splash Trump's name: Indictment No. 71543-23. “He wanted to be in Manhattan. He loved Manhattan. He had a connection to Manhattan,” says Barbara Res, a longtime employee of the former president who was a vice president at the Trump Organization. “I don't know that he has accepted it and I don't know that he believes it, but New York turned on him.” None of Trump's romances have lasted longer than his courtship of New York. No place else could match his blend of ostentatious and outlandish. His love of the city going unrequited is Shakespearean enough, but Trump took it a step further, rising to the presidency only to become a hometown antihero. Trump was born and raised in Queens to a real estate developer father whose projects were largely in Queens and Brooklyn. But the younger Trump ached to cross the East River and make his name in Manhattan. He gained a foothold with his transformation of the rundown Commodore Hotel into a glittering Grand Hyatt and ensured a spotlight on himself by appearing at the side of politicians and celebrities, popping up at Studio 54 and other hot spots and coaxing near-constant media coverage. By the greed-is-good 1980s, he was a New York fixture. And in a city that prides itself as the center of the world, Trump saw himself as king. “Trump grew up with a great deal of resentment toward others who he thought had more fame, wealth, or popularity,” says David Greenberg, a Rutgers University professor who wrote “Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency.” “Making it in Manhattan — building Trump Tower and becoming a fixture of the Manhattan social scene in the 1980s — meant a lot to him.” The feeling was never truly mutual, though. Trump left a trail of unpaid bills, jilted workers and everyday New Yorkers who saw through his shameless self-promotion. He may have been a singular character, but in a city of 8 million stories, his was just another one. So, for years, Trump's life here continued as the city raced on around him. Marriages came and went. Skyscrapers rose. Bankruptcies were filed. Trump flickered in and out of fame's upper echelon. He may never have been a common New Yorker, packed in the subway on the morning commute or grabbing a hot dog from a street vendor, but for many he remained a benign, if outsized, presence. That began changing with years of bizarre, racially-fueled lies about Barack Obama's birthplace, and by the time he descended the golden escalator at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015, to announce his presidential bid, many in his hometown had little patience for the vitriol he spewed. Rockefeller Center played host to a weekly “Saturday Night Live” that made him a mockery, and at a Waldorf-Astoria gala, he elicited groans. In vast swaths of the city, distaste for Trump turned to hatred. Even among Republicans, many saw him as believable as a Gucci bag on Canal Street. Trump won the state's Republican primary, but couldn't convince GOP voters in Manhattan. “He’s no longer just this TV show charlatan. People see this man is actually going to lead the country and the world in the wrong direction,” says Christina Greer, a political scientist at Fordham University. On Election Night 2016, tears flowed at the Javits Center, where Hillary Clinton's victory party never materialized, while giddy supporters of Trump reveled in his surprise win across town in a Hilton ballroom. New Yorkers' rebuke of their native son meant nothing. His face was projected unto the face of the Empire State Building as locals digested the fact that he would be president. In the days that followed, a curious parade of politicians and celebrities journeyed to Trump Tower to meet the president-elect and, for weeks after, predictions about his presidency were rampant. Among the musings of observers was speculation of a commuter president shuttling between New York and Washington. When word emerged that his wife and young son wouldn't immediately move to the White House, it gave credence to the idea that Trump could never fully part with the city that made him. But Trump continued being Trump, his presidency gave way to one controversy and broken norm after another, and New York become a capital of the resistance, giving birth to persistent mass protests. The city of his dreams was no longer a place he could call home. “New York has gone to hell,” he said as Election Day 2020 neared. When the ballots were counted, Manhattan had seven times as many supporters of Joe Biden than those for Trump, and this time the Electoral College followed. When Trump's presidency ended and he left Washington after the violent insurrection he incited, it was clear New York would be inhospitable. Like droves of New Yorkers before him, he retired to Florida. When he returns north now, he spends most of his time at his club in Bedminster, New Jersey. The man who long tried to eschew his bridge-and-tunnel past is again separated from Manhattan by a river. On his first return to Manhattan after leaving office, the New York Post reported a single person waited outside Trump Tower to catch a glimpse. Even protesters couldn't be bothered with him anymore. His rebuke came from New Yorkers taking part in a rite-of-passage for city dwellers, jury duty, and if it fit the mold of prior grand juries, it brought together a quintessential Manhattan cross-section, from neighborhoods, incomes and backgrounds different enough to ensure a cast of characters fit for TV. With word of Trump's indictment now out, the story of his deteriorating romance with New York is gaining a sense of finality. Even the Post, part of the Rupert Murdoch media empire that helped Trump win the White House to begin with, has abandoned him. The paper that once documented his affair with a screaming “Best Sex I've Ever Had” headline beside Trump's smirking face, last week called him “deranged” on a front page on which he was branded “Bat Hit Crazy” in huge letters. Trump once bragged he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and remain popular. Today, he could hand out fifties in New York and still not win the support of most locals. He has dismissed the grand jury's actions as a “scam" and a “persecution" and denied he did anything wrong. Democrats, he says, are lying and cheating to hurt his campaign to return to the White House. Outside the courthouse that awaits him, the spectacle has largely been confined to the hordes of media. Among the few regular New Yorkers to make the trip there was Marni Halasa, a figure skater who showed up in a leopard print leotard, cat ears and wads of fake bills strung into a “hush money” boa. She stood alone outside Friday to celebrate the indictment of one of her city's most famous sons. “New Yorkers are here in spirit,” she says, “and I feel like I'm representing most of them.”
FBCCI recently signed an MoU with Greater New York Chamber of Commerce and Industry with a view to facilitating mainstream trade and investment between Bangladesh and USA. The signing ceremony took place at the seminar titled " 25th September: Bangabandhu's Vision and Bangladeshi Immigrant Day" on Sunday in New York, USA. President of the two chambers Md. Jashim Uddin and Mark Jeff signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organisations. FBCCI president Jashim Uddin urged the US Companies to source other products apart of RMG from Bangladesh’s diverse export basket as The USA remained a friend to Bangladesh’s journey to growth and resiliency. He said that Bangladesh embarked on a new round of reforms to strengthen and modernize the private sector in a bid to unleash the country's potential to drive industrialization, diversified, and export-led growth.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday left London for New York after attending the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. The premier will attend the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and some important events on the sidelines in New York. A VVIP chartered flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines carrying the PM and her entourage took off from London Stansted International Airport for New York at 8pm local time. The flight is scheduled to arrive at New York JFK International Airport at about 10:30pm New York time on the same day. Bangladesh Ambassador-designate in Washington Muhammad Imran and Bangladesh Permanent Representative to the UN Muhammad Abdul Muhith will receive her at the JFK International Airport. On September 20, the PM is scheduled to attend a reception hosted by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and join the inaugural ceremony of 77th session of UNGA. She will have bilateral meetings with Filippo Grandi of UNHCR and Slovenian President Borut Pahor. She will also join the UNGA Platform of Women Leaders. At the end of the day, she will attend the reception of US President Joe Biden. Besides, she will join a high-level side event on sustainable housing co-hosted by Bangladesh, Botswana, Slovak Republic and UN Habitat on September 21. On the same day, she will have a bilateral meeting with WEF Executive Director Professor Schwab Klaus, and join the Global Crisis Response Group (GCRG) Champions' Meeting. In the afternoon, the prime minister will visit the photo exhibition on Padma Bridge at UNHQs followed by bilateral meeting with Kosovo President Dr Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu, Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso Mendoza, and Rabab Fatima, USG OHRLSS. The PM will start the day on September 22 through a breakfast meeting on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) followed by a courtesy call on by IOM Director General Antonio Vitorino. She will also join a high level policy roundtable with the US Bangladesh business council. Later, she will have bilateral meetings with Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen and ICC Prosecutor Nick Klegg and Karim Khan. On September 23, the Prime Minister will deliver her address at the General Debate of the 77thSession of the UN General Assembly. She will join a civic reception to be given by the expatriate Bangladeshis on September 24. Earlier, Hasina arrived in London on September 15 on an official visit to the United Kingdom mainly to attend the Queen’s funeral and the new king’s ascension reception. The PM is scheduled to return home in the early hours of October 4 after a short stopover in London on her way from Washington. Also read: PM reiterates commitment to work for child rights
“The Satanic Verses” author Salman Rushdie was taken off a ventilator and able to talk Saturday, a day after he was stabbed as he prepared to give a lecture in upstate New York. Rushdie remained hospitalized with serious injuries, but fellow author Aatish Taseer tweeted in the evening that he was “off the ventilator and talking (and joking).” Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, confirmed that information without offering further details. Earlier in the day, the man accused of attacking him Friday at the Chautauqua Institution, a nonprofit education and retreat center, pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault charges in what a prosecutor called a “preplanned” crime. An attorney for Hadi Matar entered the plea on his behalf during an arraignment in western New York. The suspect appeared in court wearing a black and white jumpsuit and a white face mask, with his hands cuffed in front of him. A judge ordered him held without bail after District Attorney Jason Schmidt told her Matar, 24, took steps to purposely put himself in position to harm Rushdie, getting an advance pass to the event where the author was speaking and arriving a day early bearing a fake ID. “This was a targeted, unprovoked, preplanned attack on Mr. Rushdie,” Schmidt said. Public defender Nathaniel Barone complained that authorities had taken too long to get Matar in front of a judge while leaving him “hooked up to a bench at the state police barracks.” “He has that constitutional right of presumed innocence,” Barone added. Rushdie, 75, suffered a damaged liver and severed nerves in an arm and an eye, Wylie said Friday evening. He was likely to lose the injured eye. The attack was met with shock and outrage from much of the world, along with tributes and praise for the award-winning author who for more than 30 years has faced death threats for “The Satanic Verses.” Authors, activists and government officials cited Rushdie's courage and longtime advocacy of free speech despite the risks to his own safety. Writer and longtime friend Ian McEwan called Rushdie “an inspirational defender of persecuted writers and journalists across the world,” and actor-author Kal Penn cited him as 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.” President Joe Biden said Saturday in a statement that he and first lady Jill Biden were “shocked and saddened” by the attack. “Salman Rushdie — with his insight into humanity, with his unmatched sense for story, with his refusal to be intimidated or silenced — stands for essential, universal ideals,” the statement read. “Truth. Courage. Resilience. The ability to share ideas without fear. These are the building blocks of any free and open society.” Rushdie, a native of India who has since lived in Britain and the U.S., is known for his surreal and satirical prose style, beginning with his Booker Prize-winning 1981 novel “Midnight's Children,” in which he sharply criticized India's then-prime minister, Indira Gandhi. “The Satanic Verses” drew death threats after it was published in 1988, with many Muslims regarding as blasphemy a dream sequence based on the life of the Prophet Muhammad, among other objections. Rushdie's book had already been banned and burned in India, Pakistan and elsewhere before Iran's Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie’s death in 1989. Khomeini died that same year, but the fatwa remains in effect. Iran’s current supreme leader, Khamenei, never issued a fatwa of his own withdrawing the edict, though Iran in recent years hasn’t focused on the writer. Read: Author Salman Rushdie on ventilator after New York stabbing Investigators were working to determine whether the suspect, born a decade after “The Satanic Verses” was published, acted alone. District Attorney Schmidt alluded to the fatwa as a potential motive in arguing against bail. “Even if this court were to set a million dollars bail, we stand a risk that bail could be met,” Schmidt said. “His resources don’t matter to me. We understand that the agenda that was carried out yesterday is something that was adopted and it’s sanctioned by larger groups and organizations well beyond the jurisdictional borders of Chautauqua County,” the prosecutor said. Barone, the public defender, said after the hearing that Matar has been communicating openly with him and that he would spend the coming weeks trying to learn about his client, including whether he has psychological or addiction issues. Matar is from Fairview, New Jersey. Rosaria Calabrese, manager of the State of Fitness Boxing Club, a small, tightly knit gym in nearby North Bergen, said Matar joined April 11 and participated in about 27 group sessions for beginners looking to improve their fitness before emailing her several days ago to say he wanted to cancel his membership because “he wouldn’t be coming back for a while.” Gym owner Desmond Boyle said he saw “nothing violent” about Matar, describing him as polite and quiet, yet someone who always looked “tremendously sad.” He said Matar resisted attempts by him and others to welcome and engage him. “He had this look every time he came in. It looked like it was the worst day of his life,” Boyle said. Matar was born in the United States to parents who emigrated from Yaroun in southern Lebanon, the mayor of the village, Ali Tehfe, told The Associated Press. Flags of the Iran-backed Shia militant group Hezbollah are visible across the village, along with portraits of leader Hassan Nasrallah, Khamenei, Khomeini and slain Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Journalists visiting Yaroun on Saturday were asked to leave. Hezbollah spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment. Iran’s theocratic government and its state-run media assigned no motive for the attack. In Tehran, some Iranians interviewed by the AP praised the attack on an author they believe tarnished the Islamic faith, while others worried it would further isolate their country. On Friday, on AP reporter witnessed the attacker stab or punch Rushdie about 10 or 15 times. Event moderator Henry Reese, 73, suffered a facial injury and was treated and released from a hospital, police said. He and Rushdie had planned to discuss the United States as a refuge for writers and other artists in exile. A state trooper and a county sheriff’s deputy were assigned to Rushdie’s lecture, and police said the trooper made the arrest. But afterward some longtime visitors to the Chautauqua Institution questioned why there wasn’t tighter security given the threats against Rushdie and a bounty of more than $3 million on his head. On Saturday the center said it was boosting security through measures such as requiring photo IDs to purchase gate passes, which previously could be obtained anonymously. Patrons entering the amphitheater where Rushdie was attacked will also be barred from carrying bags of any type. The changes, along with an increased presence of armed police officers on the bucolic grounds, came as something of a shock to Chautauquans who have long relished the laid-back atmosphere for which the nearly 150-year-old vacation colony is known. News about the stabbing has led to renewed interest in “The Satanic Verses,” which topped best seller lists after the fatwa was issued in 1989. As of Saturday afternoon, the novel ranked No. 13 on Amazon.com. The death threats and bounty Rushdie faced over the book after its publication led him to go into hiding under a British government protection program, which included an around-the-clock armed guard. After nine years of seclusion, Rushdie cautiously resumed more public appearances. In 2012 he published a memoir about the fatwa titled “Joseph Anton,” the pseudonym he used while in hiding. He said during a New York talk that year that terrorism was really the art of fear: “The only way you can defeat it is by deciding not to be afraid.”
Salman Rushdie, whose novel “The Satanic Verses” drew death threats from Iran’s leader in the 1980s, was stabbed in the neck and abdomen Friday by a man who rushed the stage as the author was about to give a lecture in western New York. A bloodied Rushdie, 75, was flown to a hospital and underwent surgery. His agent, Andrew Wylie, said the writer was on a ventilator Friday evening, with a damaged liver, severed nerves in an arm and an eye he was likely to lose. Police identified the attacker as Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey. He was arrested at the scene and was awaiting arraignment. Matar was born a decade after “The Satanic Verses” was published. The motive for the attack was unclear, State police Maj. Eugene Staniszewski said. An Associated Press reporter witnessed the attacker confront Rushdie on stage at the Chautauqua Institution and punch or stab him 10 to 15 times as he was being introduced. The author was pushed or fell to the floor, and the man was arrested. Dr. Martin Haskell, a physician who was among those who rushed to help, described Rushdie’s wounds as “serious but recoverable.” Event moderator Henry Reese, 73, a co-founder of an organization that offers residencies to writers facing persecution, was also attacked. Reese suffered a facial injury and was treated and released from a hospital, police said. He and Rushdie were due to discuss the United States as a refuge for writers and other artists in exile. A state trooper and a county sheriff’s deputy were assigned to Rushdie’s lecture, and state police said the trooper made the arrest. But after the attack, some longtime visitors to the center questioned why there wasn’t tighter security for the event, given the decades of threats against Rushdie and a bounty on his head offering more than $3 million for anyone who kills him. Rabbi Charles Savenor was among the roughly 2,500 people in the audience. Amid gasps, spectators were ushered out of the outdoor amphitheater. The assailant ran onto the platform “and started pounding on Mr. Rushdie. At first you’re like, ‘What’s going on?’ And then it became abundantly clear in a few seconds that he was being beaten,” Savenor said. He said the attack lasted about 20 seconds. Another spectator, Kathleen James, said the attacker was dressed in black, with a black mask. “We thought perhaps it was part of a stunt to show that there’s still a lot of controversy around this author. But it became evident in a few seconds” that it wasn’t, she said. Matar, like other visitors, had obtained a pass to enter the institution’s 750-acre grounds, President Michael Hill said. The suspect’s attorney, public defender Nathaniel Barone, said he was still gathering information and declined to comment. Matar’s home was blocked off by authorities. Rushdie has been a prominent spokesman for free expression and liberal causes, and the literary world recoiled at what novelist and Rushdie friend Ian McEwan described as “an assault on freedom of thought and speech.” “Salman has been an inspirational defender of persecuted writers and journalists across the world,” McEwan said in a statement. “He is a fiery and generous spirit, a man of immense talent and courage and he will not be deterred.” PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said the organization didn’t know of any comparable act of violence against a literary writer in the U.S. Rushdie was once president of the group, which advocates for writers and free expression. Rushdie’s 1988 novel was viewed as blasphemous by many Muslims, who saw a character as an insult to the Prophet Muhammad, among other objections. Across the Muslim world, often-violent protests erupted against Rushdie, who was born in India to a Muslim family. At least 45 people were killed in riots over the book, including 12 people in Rushdie’s hometown of Mumbai. In 1991, a Japanese translator of the book was stabbed to death and an Italian translator survived a knife attack. In 1993, the book’s Norwegian publisher was shot three times and survived. The book was banned in Iran, where the late leader Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a 1989 fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie’s death. Khomeini died that same year. Iran’s current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has never issued a fatwa of his own withdrawing the edict, though Iran in recent years hasn’t focused on the writer. Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday’s attack, which led a night news bulletin on Iranian state television. The death threats and bounty led Rushdie to go into hiding under a British government protection program, which included a round-the-clock armed guard. Rushdie emerged after nine years of seclusion and cautiously resumed more public appearances, maintaining his outspoken criticism of religious extremism overall. He said in a 2012 talk in New York that terrorism is really the art of fear. “The only way you can defeat it is by deciding not to be afraid,” he said. Anti-Rushdie sentiment has lingered long after Khomeini’s decree. The Index on Censorship, an organization promoting free expression, said money was raised to boost the reward for his killing as recently as 2016. An Associated Press journalist who went to the Tehran office of the 15 Khordad Foundation, which put up the millions for the bounty on Rushdie, found it closed Friday night on the Iranian weekend. No one answered calls to its listed telephone number. In 2012, Rushdie published a memoir, “Joseph Anton,” about the fatwa. The title came from the pseudonym Rushdie had used while in hiding. Rushdie rose to prominence with his Booker Prize-winning 1981 novel “Midnight’s Children,” but his name became known around the world after “The Satanic Verses.” Widely regarded as one of Britain’s finest living writers, Rushdie was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2008 and earlier this year was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honor, a royal accolade for people who have made a major contribution to the arts, science or public life. In a tweet, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson deplored that Rushdie was attacked “while exercising a right we should never cease to defend.” Read:Gunmen kill 4 in attack targeting lawmaker in NW Pakistan The Chautauqua Institution, about 55 miles (89 kilometers) southwest of Buffalo in a rural corner of New York, has served for more than a century as a place for reflection and spiritual guidance. Visitors don’t pass through metal detectors or undergo bag checks. Most people leave the doors to their century-old cottages unlocked at night. The center is known for its summertime lecture series, where Rushdie has spoken before. At an evening vigil, a few hundred residents and visitors gathered for prayer, music and a long moment of silence. “Hate can’t win,” one man shouted.
Salman Rushdie, the author whose writing led to death threats from Iran in the 1980s, was attacked Friday as he was about to give a lecture in western New York. An Associated Press reporter witnessed a man storm the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and begin punching or stabbing Rushdie as he was being introduced. The author was taken or fell to the floor, and the man was restrained. Rushdie's condition was not immediately known. Rushdie’s book “The Satanic Verses” has been banned in Iran since 1988, as many Muslims consider it to be blasphemous. A year later, Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie’s death. Read:Gunmen kill 4 in attack targeting lawmaker in NW Pakistan A bounty of over $3 million has also been offered for anyone who kills Rushdie. Iran’s government has long since distanced itself from Khomeini’s decree, but anti-Rushdie sentiment lingered. In 2012, a semi-official Iranian religious foundation raised the bounty for Rushdie from $2.8 million to $3.3 million. Rushdie dismissed that threat at the time, saying there was “no evidence” of people being interested in the reward. That year, Rushdie published a memoir, “Joseph Anton,” about the fatwa.