Police arrested 24-year-old Hadi Matar of Fairview, New Jersey, who is said to have pro-Iran sympathies.
The viciousness of the attack is forcing speaking venues that regularly host writers to rethink their security procedures, according to an official of one organization that often sponsors lectures.
But "unless you want to make every event like going to the airport," it's difficult if not impossible to completely eliminate risk, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly.
As a result, dissident writers who had come to feel safe in the United States are questioning that assumption.
Osama Alomar, a Syrian poet who has criticized his government and was forced to flee into exile, lives in a house sponsored by a U.S. human-rights group, where he has felt safe. After the Rushdie attack, he's not as sure.
"I used to say it when I was in Syria that I'm worried about freedom of speech in Syria. Now I'm worried about that even here in America," he said.
For journalist and activist Alinejad, an outspoken critic of Sharia law, the attack follows several incidents in which her safety was threatened. Last year, the FBI said it had foiled a plot by Iranian intelligence officers to kidnap Alinejad at her Brooklyn home. On July 28, a man was arrested carrying an AK-47 assault rifle outside her home.
Then came the attack on Rushdie, whom she has come to admire.