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Literary institution where Salman Rushdie was attacked tightens security

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Washington — Chautauqua The Institution, the idyllic New York hideout where Salman Rushdie was attacked last week, has added new security measures, including requiring photo ID and going through metal detectors before entering the venue.

Rushdie, 75, was scheduled to give a lecture on artistic freedom at a venue in western New York last week when a man rushed onto the stage and stabbed the Indian-born author. Rushdie has lived with the bounty on his head since his novel The Satanic Verse was published in 1988. This prompted Iran's then-supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, to issue a fatwa urging Muslims to kill him.

The facility was considered a safe haven for writers and artists to gather each summer. But the attack on Rushdie prompted a rethink of security measures.

At the event where Rushdie was attacked, members of the audience said no bag checks, metal detectors, or similar security measures were in place. Attendees purchased a pass to enter through the main gate and scanned the pass to enter the amphitheater.

The agency said on its website that access to the premises would require photo identification and that additional security checks, including metal detectors, would be required before entering the amphitheater and other venues. It added that there were no new or known imminent threats and that it was implementing additional protocols "out of an abundance of caution."

The facility also said it will enforce a "no bags" policy in amphitheaters and other indoor venues.

The suspect who attacked Rushdie told the New York Post that he admired Khomeini, but did not say if he was inspired by a fatwa issued by the former Iranian leader.

A representative for the acclaimed author said Sunday that Rushdie is off a ventilator and his health is improving.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh of her in Washington; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)