A man rushed the stage as Rushdie was about to speak and stabbed him in the neck and abdomen.
Rushdie was flown to a hospital and had surgery. Andrew Wylie, the writer's agent, said the writer was on a ventilator, with a damaged liver, severed nerves in his arm and an eye that was likely to be lost.
The man police identified as the attacker was 24 years old. Rushdie was scheduled to speak at a resort where he was arrested. Matar was born a decade after the publication of the book.
The motive for the attack was not known.
Many Muslims saw Rushdie's novel as an insult to the prophet Muhammad and others. Rushdie's book was banned in Iran after the leader of the country issued a fatwa against him.
Iran'socratic government and state-run media didn't give a reason for the assault. In Tehran, some Iranians praised the attack on an author they believed damaged the Islamic faith, while others worried it would further isolate their country.
The attacker confronted Rushdie on stage and stabbed or punched him 10 to 15 times as the author was being introduced. Dr. Martin Haskell, who was among those who rushed to help, said Rushdie's wounds were serious but not life threatening.
Henry Reese is a co- founder of an organization that offers residencies to writers facing persecution. Reese was treated and released from the hospital. The United States was supposed to be a refuge for writers and other artists in exile.
The trooper who made the arrest was assigned to Rushdie's lecture. Some long time visitors to the center questioned why there wasn't tighter security for the event given the threats against Rushdie and the bounty on his head.
There were 2,500 people in the audience. The crowd was ushered out of the amphitheater.
The attacker ran onto the platform and began hitting Rushdie. At first you don't know what to think. It became obvious in a few seconds that he was being beaten. The attack took about 20 seconds.
Kathleen James said the attacker was wearing a black mask.
It was thought that it was part of a stunt to show that there is still controversy surrounding this author. She said that it became obvious in a few seconds that it wasn't.
Michael Hill, the institution's president, said that Matar had gotten a pass to enter the grounds.
Nathaniel Barone, the suspect's attorney, declined to speak. Matar's home was not allowed to be entered.
The United Nations issued a statement expressing their horror and stressing the importance of free expression and opinion.
Iran's mission to the United Nations did not respond to a request for comment on Friday's attack.
The attack on Rushdie was described as "reprehensible" by Jake Sullivan from the White House.
Sullivan called the act of violence appalling. Good citizens and first responders were thanked for helping Rushdie after the attack.
Rushdie has been a spokesman for free expression and liberal causes, and the literary world recoiled at what Ian McEwan, a novelist and Rushdie's friend, described as "an assault on freedom of thought and speech."
Aman has been an inspiration to writers and journalists around the world. He is a man of great talent and courage and he will not be deterred.
PEN America didn't know of any similar act of violence against a literary writer in the U.S.
Rushdie, who was born in India to a Muslim family, was the subject of often violent protests after the publication of his book.
Rushdie's hometown of Mumbai was home to 12 people who were killed in riots over the book. An Italian translator survived a knife attack in 1991, while a Japanese translator was killed. The book's publisher was shot three times.
He issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie's death. Iran has not focused on the writer in recent years, despite the fact that the supreme leader never issued a fatwa of his own.
Rushdie hid under a British government protection program that included a round- the-clock armed guard. After nine years of being out of the public eye, Rushdie came back and continued to criticize religious extremists.
In a talk in New York, he said that terrorism is a form of fear.
He said that the only way to defeat it was by not being afraid.
The anti-Rushdie sentiment has been around for a long time. Money was raised to increase the reward for his killing, according to the index on censorship.
The Tehran office of the 15 Khordad Foundation, which put up millions for the bounty on Rushdie, was closed on the weekend. The phone number was not answered by anyone.
Rushdie wrote a book about the fatwa. Rushdie used a different name 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."
Rushdie was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honor, a royal accolade for people who have made a significant contribution to the arts, science or public.
While exercising a right we should never cease to defend Rushdie.
A place for reflection and spiritual guidance has been served for more than a century by the Chautauqua Institution. Visitors don't go through metal detectors. The cottages are usually unlocked at night.
Rushdie has spoken before at the center.
A few hundred people gathered for prayer, music, and a long moment of silence at an evening vigil.
One man said hate can't win.
The Associated Press journalists are in New York City, Buffalo, New York, and Albany, New York.