Washington [US], August 13 (ANI): American comedian and host Bill Maher during his most recent broadcast of HBO's Real Time honoured his close friend Salman Rushdie who was stabbed on Friday minutes before giving a lecture in Western New York.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Maher noted at the beginning of the episode that his thoughts were on the attack when he sat down with guests Piers Morgan and writer Rikki Schlott. According to a statement released by Rushdie's agent, Andrew Wylie, late Friday, the author of the 1988 book 'The Satanic Verses' was on a ventilator and was probably going to lose one eye as a result of the attack.
"First, I have to say something -- it's somewhat personal but also national news," Maher said. "A dear friend of mine, good friend of this show, got stabbed today, Salman Rushdie. I'm sure people have seen this news."
Maher continued by discussing his feelings surrounding the Islamic faith. "Islam is still a much more fundamentalist religion than any of the other religions in the world, and that means they take what's in the holy book seriously," Maher said as quoted by the Hollywood Reporter. "And that has been dangerous for a long time -- it's still dangerous. This was 1989 when he was first threatened," he added.
In his response, Morgan compared the assault on Rushdie to the onstage heckling of comedians Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock earlier this year and said that the United States' commitment to free expression is under threat.
"Ask Dave Chappelle -- attacked onstage for having an opinion, for cracking jokes," Morgan said. "Ask Chris Rock, punched onstage at the Oscars for cracking a joke. Once it strays into violence, then you end up with Salman Rushdie being stabbed by a lunatic on a stage in New York."
Hadi Matar, who stabbed Indian-origin author Salman Rushdie in Western New York state on Friday, has been charged with attempted murder and assault, local media reported on Saturday.
According to a statement from the Chautauqua County District Attorney, the 24-year-old attacker rushed to the stage at the Chautauqua Institution yesterday morning where 75-year-old Rushdie was beginning a lecture on freedom of expression, New York Post reported. (ANI)