Iranian rapper faces death threats, bounty over song
The bounty for the killing of rapper Shahin Najafi appear on the website
May 15th, 2012
01:16 PM ET

Iranian rapper faces death threats, bounty over song

An Iranian rapper is facing death threats and has a $100,000 bounty on his head for a song that some say insults an Islamic Shiite imam.

Shahin Najafi, who sings in Farsi and lives in Germany, told the German website Qantara that the song "Naghi" is not about a religious figure but about the state of society in Iran.

"The story with 'Naghi' was just a pretext," Najafi said in an interview with Qantara, which the German Foreign Office funds to promote dialogue with the Islamic world.

"For me it is more of an excuse to talk about completely different things. I criticize Iranian society in the song. It seems as though people are just concentrating on the word 'imam,' " Najafi is quoted as saying.

Religious figures in Iran see it differently.

"Following the affront by rap singer Shahin Najafi against Imam Hadi (7th Imam of Shias) in a song called 'Naghi', his apostasy sentence has been issued by Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani," Iran's official Fars News Agency said in a website posting in Farsi.

Golpayegani is a grand ayatollah, which means the highest- ranking authority in Shiite Islam after prophets and imams. Being an apostate, or someone who forsakes Islam, is punishable by death under Iranian law.

"If the song contains any insults or indecency towards Imam Naghi, then it is blasphemy, and God knows what to do," Golpayegani, a 92-year-old Iranian cleric, is quoted as saying by Qantara.

A post on the blog entegham says Najafi should be sentenced to death.

"According to article 513 of Islam’s penal code: Anyone who insults the sanctity of Islam, anyone of the great prophets, the Imams, and Sadigheh Tahereh (the prophet’s daughter) should be executed," the post says.

The Iranian website is offering $100,000 to anyone who kills Najafi. The money is being put up by "a philanthropist" in a Persian Gulf state, the website says.

In a blog post on Najafi, The Guardian in the UK calls Najafi "the Salman Rushdie of music," a reference to the author of "The Satanic Verses," who was given a religious death sentence by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989 after Khomeini said Rushie's book was blasphemous.

But writing in the state-run newspaper Kayhan, columnist Sadollah Zarei says Najafi's case is different from Rushdie's, according to a New York Times report.

"This fatwa does not represent the government of Iran,” Zarei is quoted as saying. “This is done by a religious group in our society.”

Nevertheless, Najafi told Qantara he has taken "precautionary measures."

"We do, after all, live in a country where there are rules and procedures for such predicaments. So there is nothing to worry about," he told Qantara.

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Filed under: Germany • Iran
soundoff (341 Responses)
  1. pdirt

    Islam is not a religion, it is a political system disguised as a religion. It is a counterfeit.

    May 15, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • nyc student

      thats all religion buddy... well except buddhism. karl marx said that religion is an opiate of the people. dumb people might start crying communism the secodn u mention marx but he was a genius and a visionary. religion distracts people from real issues so the powerful can dominate the weak. its as old as time in every major religion across the world. god doesn't have a "club" or "sect". gods love is universal. it is not limited by man.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joystick


      May 15, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. kellyzhao

    this comment made me laugh soo hard! ily for making my day

    May 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. nx3pde

    Terrorism,women oppression,suicide bombers,backwardness-meet islam.

    May 15, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. George Cantstandya

    Another argument against this big scam called religion. I am an adult. I do not believe in some invisible being watching us from above. That is for childrens imagination.

    May 15, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Why don't you ask God to be visible in your life. Surely you have situations in your life that can only be fixed by miraculous ways. God loves challenges.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Saint_John

      @Guest Because there are no god(s) for starters. Prayer is nothing but talking to yourself and it has been proven to not work. Ask any amputee if prayer works. There would be no challenges for an omnipotent god. A god as typically described by religions would have zero needs or wants at all including our worship and praise. Give it some deep thought if you can. The truth is obvious if your mind is open. I suggest stop praying and do something if you desire results.

      May 16, 2012 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |

      @St_John I will be sacrificing Irish slaves on the altar of Odin in prayers to Vahallah that you get dysentary.

      May 16, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      @ Guest May 15, 7:20 post – "Why don't you ask God to be visible in your life. Surely you have situations in your life that can only be fixed by miraculous ways. God loves challenges."

      Ask him to fix our economy

      May 16, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
    • JC-VA

      Why would he fix it..? He didn't mess it up.. Besides, let's say, He could fix it, Why do we deserve it..? Would you help your kid over and over and over if he keeps messing up..? I don't think so, at least I wouldn't... You are on your own Foul.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • capnmike

      What "god"? There are no gods...they are human inventions.

      May 16, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Vin

      Honestly? An omnipotent god finds something challenging? The internal contradiction in your statement is astounding.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • specter

      Thou shall not tempt the lord thy god.

      May 17, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Crystal

      1. Why click on a religious article and read it if you don't care about religion?
      2. Why be insulting to those who do believe in God?

      Take care.

      May 16, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Rags

      We're not talking about God here but rather the control freaks that think the world rotates around their sorry, smelly, selves.
      Take of those silly bedsheets and the toilet paper wrapped so tightly around your head. No wonder you cannot make a sound judgement. The blood cannot circulate through your small brain, hence you still live in the 14th century.

      May 16, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Papasan

      Because religion is the problem and as a believer, you are part of the problem. Religion is the root of all evil.

      May 16, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Fine, do what you want. I'm sure you are a decent upstanding person with true purpose in your life. Go on living as you wish..... when the time comes you will realize how wrong you were all along. If by chance I am wrong, at least i lived a good hopeful life and made a difference for others. I can't lose, and you cant win.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • That Guy

      Thanks, Crystal. It's nice to see at least one person with some common sense on these comment boards.

      May 16, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Denver Native

      "1. Why click on a religious article and read it if you don't care about religion?"

      Because this is not a religous article. It is an article about the head of a government (Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani) oppressing the right to free speech. That is why people clicked on it.

      "2. Why be insulting to those who do believe in God?"

      Because it always seems like the beliefs in "God" lead to violence and death. When people kill each other over which story book is better, that is a problem. Also as with any belief, you need to be strong enough to defend it. If you don't like what someone says about your religion, defend it...don't shut down free speech.

      May 16, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • El Lobo

      Because it is an article about how religion is used to terrorize and enslave people. Are you that blind?

      May 16, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      1) Curiousity.
      2) How else should you treat grown adults that still believe they can telepathically communicate with an invisible boogeyman in the sky?

      May 17, 2012 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
    • TheZel

      don't lump it all together.. religion is one thing. An infallible human's interpretation is another.

      May 16, 2012 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
    • aps

      you mean "fallible," right? because no human being is infallible.

      May 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Denzig


      May 16, 2012 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
    • tony

      accept god into your life, there are many names for the same god. open your heart and let him into your life

      May 16, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blake Bradley

      So you believe that the Universe just mystically appeared out of nothingness. All that material for the big bang just appeared for no apparent reason? Yes that much more reasonable than to assume that a higher power may have actually created the Universe. So I suppose if all of a sudden a car appeared in your driveway paid off and in your name you would just assume that was the natural order of things and nobody purchased it for you.

      May 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

    Islamic Law = the law of heathen swine.

    May 15, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. splasher6

    I see this as a win-win situation

    May 15, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bob

    While I appreciate the way so many Muslims voluntarily remove themselves from the gene pool, please be more like the catholics and do it without hurting other people. TIA!

    May 15, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Drew

    Philanthropy etymologically means "the love of humanity" – I don't think they quite got that...

    May 15, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. svscnn

    The Iranian website is offering $100,000 to anyone who kills Najafi. The money is being put up by "a philanthropist" in a Persian Gulf state, the website says.

    Islamic understanding of the word "Philanthropist" = EXTREME FAIL.

    May 15, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. caesarbc

    The only way we can win this war against Muhammed Jihads is to implement political correctness in the Mideast.

    May 15, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. caesarbc

    Well... strive for publicity or die trying.

    May 15, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. VinceRN

    Are death threats, and in fact being killed, in integral part of the rap business?

    May 15, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Aezel

    The religion of peace strikes again: "If you do anything we don't like we'll kill you."

    All religions are barbaric. Islam is by FAR the most barbaric.

    May 15, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MIke

    He must be dead by now since the $100,000 reward is now posted in an international newspaper! Good Job!!

    May 15, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |

    Only a fool argues over and about things they no nothing about; so indeed if their be GOD or GODS, it is not hard to understand why none appear, their challenges must seem insurmountable or else they no longer give a damn as they have grown tired of arguing with fools.

    May 15, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
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