Sir Salman Rushdie said that after years of living in hiding and death threats, his life was now “relatively normal” just weeks before he was attacked on stage.

British author of Indian descent, 75, was stabbed or punched 10 to 15 times in the neck and abdomen, according to witnesses at an event in upstate New York on Friday.

Sir Salman spoke to the German magazine Stern about two weeks ago and called himself an optimist, saying that when it comes to his own life: “I prefer to look ahead.”

The interview, in which the author expressed concern about threats to democracy in the United States, was released by the magazine on Saturday, the day after the attack. It should appear in the magazine next Thursday.

Sir Salman was forced into hiding for years and received death threats after the 1988 publication of his book The Satanic Verses, which contains passages that some Muslims consider blasphemous.

A fatwa, or edict, calling for Sir Salman’s death was issued by the Iranian leader a year later.

In 2017, however, the threats against him were “practically over,” he told Sky News.

Speaking with Adam Boulton, he said that “the world has moved on”.

On Friday, Sir Salman was introduced to the Chautauqua Institution audience before giving a speech when he was attacked on stage.

He was flown to the hospital where he underwent hours of surgery and it was put on a fan and could lose an eyeaccording to his agent.

Sir Salman severed nerves in one arm and damaged his liver, Andrew Wylie said.

The fatwa against the author was issued by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution.

Sir Salman pointed out to Stern that the fatwa, calling on Muslims around the world to kill him for blasphemy, had been issued a long time ago.

Read more:
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The world reacts when the controversial perpetrator is stabbed in upstate New York

He has been in hiding for nearly a decade, but has lived relatively openly in recent years.

The suspected attacker, named Hadi Matar, 24, from Fairview, New Jersey, was arrested and is now in custody.

Matar had bought a pass for the event. Police say they do not yet know the reason for the attack, but believe the suspect acted alone.

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