UK police investigating online threat to JK Rowling

UK authorities said on Sunday they were investigating an online threat against author JK Rowling after she offered her support on social media to Salman Rushdie, the novelist who was attacked last week during of an event in western New York.

Hours after the attack on Mr Rushdie, who was stabbed around 10 times as he prepared to speak at the Chautauqua facility, Ms Rowling tweeted his condolences. She first wrote on Twitter, “Horrifying news”, then added: “I feel very sick right now. Let it be alright.

In response, a user with the handle @MeerAsifAziz1 replied, “Don’t worry, you’re next.”

The tweet was later deleted and the account was suspended on Sunday evening.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said authorities had received a report of an online threat against Ms Rowling and an investigation was underway.

On Saturday, Ms Rowling, 57, who wrote the award-winning ‘Harry Potter’ books, attacked Twitter for allowing the social media account that harbored the threat to remain active.

“@TwitterSupport Those are your guidelines, aren’t they?” she wrote. “Violence: You cannot threaten violence against an individual or a group of people. We also prohibit the glorification of violence…”

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Sunday, Warner Bros. Discovery, the entertainment company behind the film adaptations of ‘Harry Potter’, has issued a statement condemning the attack on Ms Rowling.

“We stand with her and with all authors, storytellers and creators who bravely express their creativity and opinions,” the company said in a statement, which also offered condolences to Mr. Rushdie and his family.

“The company strongly condemns any form of threat, violence or intimidation where opinions, beliefs and thoughts may differ,” the statement said.

Mr Rushdie went into hiding in 1989, shortly after the publication of his novel “The Satanic Verses”. The book, which contained fictional depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, offended many Muslims and resulted in a fatwa, or religious edict, from Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s supreme leader, who urged Muslims to kill the author. In 1998, the country’s president declared that Iran no longer supported the edict.

As Mr. Rushdie prepared to speak at the Chautauqua facility, a man, later identified by police as 24-year-old Hadi Matar, from New Jersey, stormed the stage and stabbed him. Mr. Rushdie remains hospitalized in Erie, Pennsylvania, and his agent said on Sunday that he was recovering.

Mr. Matar pleaded not guilty in the attack.

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