Salman Rushdie event host thought attack was a 'cruel joke'text_fields
New York: When the renowned novelist Salman Rushdie was attacked right before his eyes Friday, the show host thought someone was playing a cruel joke.
It took awhile for Henry Reese, president of the non-profit group City of Asylum, to be jolted to reality—that too, only after seeing blood, according to AFP.
Henry Reese was also injured when the attacker stabbed Rushdie in the neck and abdomen.
Reese, 73, told CNN that it was very difficult to understand as it looked like a bad prank with no sense of reality.
Reality struck him when he saw blood behind Rushdie, making the prank real.
Reese, who is left with a bandage and swollen right eye, refused to detail more about the attack.
But he said that when a man raced onstage he thought the incident was a "bad reference" to the religious decree that Iran's leaders had issued calling for Muslims to kill Rushdie, and "not that it was a real attack, "AFP reported.
As the attack unfolded, the suspect Hadi Matar, 24, was wrestled to the ground by staff and audience members before the police detained him.
Rushdie spent years in hiding after Iranian leaders called for his killing for his novel "The Satanic Verses."