HBO's "Real Time" host Bill Maher on Friday responded to the stabbing of author Salman Rushdie.
Rushdie was transported to a local hospital by helicopter and underwent several hours of surgery, his agent, Andrew Wylie told The New York Times.
“The news is not good," Wylie told the newspaper. "Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged."
Maher said, "a friend of mine, a dear friend of mine, good friend of this show, got stabbed today."
He noted that "Sal did have some enemies in the past" in reference to the 1989 fatwa issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then the Supreme Leader of Iran, against Rushdie for his book The Satanic Verses.
"Sal was in Chautaugua, he was giving a lecture -- how's this for irony -- about how the U.S. is a safe haven for writers and other artists under threat of persecution," Maher said.
"And making that speech itself is unthinkable in most Muslim countries," he continued. "Salman Rushdie living in most Muslim countries, without getting stabbed every day, is unthinkable."
"So don't come at me with Islamophobic," Maher said. "Phobic means fear, right? Well, Sal had a good reason to be fearful. And when you say phobic, it's just a way to shut off debate. You know, they use transphobic, Islamophobic, and we should have a debate about this."
"These things don't go away," the host said. "Islam is still a much more fundamentalist religion than any of the other religions in the world and that means they take what is in the holy book seriously and that has been dangerous for a long time. It's still dangerous."