This is an op-ed written by the board of Ithaca City of Asylum. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit op-eds for publication consideration, please send them to Matt Butler at mbutler@ithacavoice.com.

The board of Ithaca City of Asylum, a local organization that has been giving shelter to endangered writers for twenty years, joins with many authors and human rights advocates worldwide in condemning the brutal attack on novelist Salman Rushdie in Chautauqua, New York, on August 12th.  

Targeted by Islamic extremists for many years after publication of his novel, The Satanic Verses, Rushdie has frequently spoken out for the need to protect the right of free expression for all artists.  He is a past president of PEN, the international writers’ advocacy organization, and has publicly organized campaigns to protect poets, essayists, novelists and journalists everywhere.  For us at Ithaca City of Asylum, he has been an inspiration for our efforts to give shelter to writers in danger.  His is a courageous voice for freedom, and such vital voices must never be silenced.  

We would like to express our solidarity with PEN in its efforts to give shelter and support to endangered writers, and with the other North American Cities of Aslyum in Pittsburgh and Detroit.  The director of the Pittsburgh organization, Henry Reese, was the moderator of Rushdie’s talk at Chautauqua and was also injured in the attack. To Salman Rushdie and Henry Reese we offer our heartfelt support and wishes for a complete recovery.

Gail Holst-Warhaft

On behalf of the Board of Ithaca City of Asylum