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Welsh Conservative leader criticises Mark Drakeford ‘silence’ on Salman Rushdie stabbing

14 Aug 2022 6 minute read
Mark Drakeford and Andrew RT Davies.

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies had criticised the “silence” of First Minister Mark Drakeford on the stabbing of Salman Rushdie.

The author was left severely injured after being stabbed on stage at an event in New York state.

Andrew RT Davies tweeted after the attack that there must be “tolerance of this extremism. None.

“Free speech is the cornerstone of our society and it must be protected at all costs.”

But he said today that he was “disappointed” that the First Minister “hasn’t publicly condemned the attack on Salman Rushdie, nor offered his condolences”.

“We all need to stand against extremism and in favour of freedom of speech,” he said. “Silence won’t do.”

The author revealed in a biography published ten years ago that he spent part of his years in hiding in Wales after he was subjected to death threats over the Satanic Verses.

He spent time in a remote farm in Powys which was the second home of his former agent Deborah Rogers, after his fourth novel The Satanic Verses was condemned as blasphemous by some Muslim religious leaders.

‘Critical condition’

Salman Rushdie suffered severe, life-changing injuries in the attack on Friday but his “usual feisty and defiant sense of humour remains intact”, his family has said.

They said that the author had a damaged liver and severed nerves in an arm and an eye.

In a statement, his son Zafar said the family was “relieved” he was taken off a ventilator on Saturday.

He said: “Following the attack on Friday, my father remains in critical condition in hospital receiving extensive ongoing medical treatment.

“We are extremely relieved that yesterday he was taken off the ventilator and additional oxygen and he was able to say a few words.

“Though his life changing injuries are severe, his usual feisty & defiant sense of humour remains intact.

“We are so grateful to all the audience members who bravely leapt to his defence and administered first aid along with the police and doctors who have cared for him and for the outpouring of love and support from around the world.

“We ask for continued patience and privacy as the family come together at his bedside to support and help him through this time.”

In an update on his condition on Sunday, his literary agent, Andrew Wylie, said: “He’s off the ventilator, so the road to recovery has begun.

“It will be long, the injuries are severe, but his condition is headed in the right direction.”

Sir Salman Rushdie. Photo Matt Crossick. PA Images

‘Unprovoked’

The Indian-born Briton was about to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution, 65 miles from Buffalo in New York state, when he was attacked.

The man accused of stabbing him pleaded not guilty on Saturday to charges of attempted murder and assault, in what a prosecutor called a “pre-planned” crime.

A lawyer for Hadi Matar, 24, entered the plea on his behalf during a formal hearing at a court in western New York.

Matar 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 to be held without bail after district attorney Jason Schmidt told her Matar took steps to purposely put himself in a position to harm Sir Salman, getting an advance pass to the event where the author was speaking and arriving a day early with a fake ID.

“This was a targeted, unprovoked, pre-planned attack on Mr Rushdie,” Mr Schmidt said.

Public defender Nathaniel Barone said the 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,” Mr Barone added.

Sir Salman was stabbed at least once in the neck and once in the abdomen, according to police, before he was taken to hospital.

Sir Salman’s publisher Penguin Random House said they were “deeply shocked and appalled” by the incident.

‘No to violence’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend”.

He added: “Right now my thoughts are with his loved ones. We are all hoping he is okay.”

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “Salman Rushdie has long embodied the struggle for liberty and freedom against those who seek to destroy them.

“This cowardly attack on him yesterday is an attack on those values. The whole Labour Party is praying for his full recovery.”

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said: “Today, the country and the world witnessed a reprehensible attack against the writer Salman Rushdie. This act of violence is appalling.

“All of us in the Biden-Harris administration are praying for his speedy recovery. We are thankful to good citizens and first responders for helping Mr Rushdie so quickly after the attack and to law enforcement for its swift and effective work, which is ongoing.”

The president of the Royal Society of Literature, Bernardine Evaristo, said she was pleased to hear he was off a ventilator, adding: “People are always going to disagree, but we have a right to express an opinion and artistic licence should be a human right.

“So – Yes to argument; no to violence.”

Public life

Sir Salman began his writing career in the early 1970s with two unsuccessful books before Midnight’s Children, about the birth of India, which won the Booker Prize in 1981.

The author lived in hiding for many years in London under a British government protection programme after the fatwa.

In 1998, the Iranian government withdrew its support for the death sentence and Sir Salman gradually returned to public life, even appearing as himself in the 2001 film Bridget Jones’s Diary.

The Index on Censorship, an organisation promoting free expression, said money was raised to boost the reward for Sir Salman’s killing as recently as 2016, underscoring that the fatwa still stands.


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The Original Mark
The Original Mark
1 month ago

Rushdi isn’t dead, why would anyone offer their condolences?
why doesn’t RT keep his gob shut until he has been told what to say by his handler

Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 month ago

RT Davies isn’t a Conservative, he doesn’t even understand current Tory doctrine nor does he execute it… he just says “Mark Drakeford is bad”. That’s it, that’s his manifesto “Mark Drakeford is bad”. In some ways, it is an endlessly flexible position, if Mark Drakeford says something “Mark Drakeford is bad” allows RT Davies to say “That thing Mark Drakeford said is bad” and if Mark Drakeford DOESN’T say something, the philosophy of “Mark Drakeford is bad” allows RT Davies to say “Mark Drakeford is bad and that is why he hasn’t said anything”. …It doesn’t translate to anything though.… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

The total lack of self awareness of this nobody, because nobody in the London Tory party knows who he is, knows no bounds. As his party in London is about to remove the human rights act in the whole of the DUK, he comes out with support for free speech, while his party will arrest people for protesting to noisily. Hypocrit or fool I cant be sure, but I do know he has no integrity or shame.

John
John
1 month ago

Oes yna gasgen wnaiff y twpsyn hwn beidio plymio i’w waelod?

Owain Morgan
Owain Morgan
1 month ago

So, ARTD wants to find a stick to beat Drakeford with 😂😂🤣🤣 Anyone would think his party couldn’t win an election without halving Labour’s vote 😂😂🤣🤣

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

If I was MDFM I would have offered sanctuary to Freya the Walrus but I’m not and he didn’t so she had to die as a sacrifice to the stupidity of Norwegians (a protected species in Norway) needless to say I shall from here on be cutting all ties, braces and belts with Norway…what say you Mr Davies?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

This of course does not in any way affect my deep affection for the Norwegian Church Arts Centre in Cardiff Bay whose warm embrace was the only softness on that cold wet Saturday afternoon in the grey concrete wasteland that was the Bay area some twenty years ago…to be repeated that Sunday lunchtime in a big old pub my special pal from Uni days took me to so I could meet her warm and funny friends…and be impressed by the measure of a glass or two of red…

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

I can speak for Mark Drakeford. But out of curiosity where were you Andrew RT Davies as the official opposition when a Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh was killed by an Israeli sniper whilst doing her job. Reporting news. Nowhere. You talk about freedom of speech & democracy. Where was her right to life? And similarly. Where was your outrage at the desecration of her funeral when IDF soldiers beat the coffin bearers live on TV? Again nowhere. She like Salman Rushdie was unjustly attacked, and in her case, murdered. It’s, do as I say not as I do.… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Y Cymro
The original mark
The original mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

They don’t want him on the family farm, he only gets in the way, that’s why they sent him to Cardiff.

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago

Correct. They get enough dung from the cattle they don’t need his bull***t added to it !

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

Is this the same ARTD who said the duty of then ‘ Assembky ‘ was to leave 🌎 matters to the UK Gvt as these were not ‘ devolved ‘ ?

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard
One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
1 month ago

Criticising somebody for not virtue signalling on Twitter?
Classic Artie!

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
1 month ago

Are we to expect a follow up Daily Telegraph article too?

One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
1 month ago
Reply to  Nobby Tart

Inevitably

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago

Andrew RT Davies is a bloody embaressment, even my (one) Tory friend says so.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
1 month ago

This is a cheap shot that smacks of desperation. He’ll have todo a lot better than that if he wants to win a Senedd election.

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