Shocked and saddened to learn of the vicious attack on Salman Rushdie, US President Joe Biden prayed for his health and recovery on Saturday and said the Mumbai-born writer stands for essential and universal ideals — truth, courage and resilience.

“Jill and I were shocked and saddened to learn of the vicious attack on Salman Rushdie yesterday in New York. We, together with all Americans and people around the world, are praying for his health and recovery. I am grateful to the first responders and the brave individuals who jumped into action to render aid to Rushdie and subdue the attacker,” Biden said in a statement.

“Salman Rushdie — with his insight into humanity, with his unmatched sense for story, with his refusal to be intimidated or silenced — stands for essential, universal ideals. Truth. Courage. Resilience. The ability to share ideas without fear,” he added.

“These are the building blocks of any free and open society. And today, we reaffirm our commitment to those deeply American values in solidarity with Rushdie and all those who stand for freedom of expression,” the US president said.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, in another statement, described the attack on Rushdie as reprehensible.

“This act of violence is appalling. All of us in the Biden-Harris Administration are praying for his speedy recovery,” Sullivan said.

“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,” he added.

Rushdie was stabbed in the neck and abdomen by a man who apparently sympathised with Shia extremism and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The controversial author, who faced Islamist death threats for years after writing “The Satanic Verses”, was stabbed by Hadi Matar (24), a United States national of Lebanese origin, on stage on Friday while he was being introduced at a literary event of the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York.

“The news is not good,” the 75-year-old writer’s agent, Andrew Wylie said about Rushdie’s critical health condition, sending shockwaves across the literary world, which condemned the incident as an attack on freedom of expression.