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. Braybourne


    May 15, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Open your eyes

    Don't you realize your idea of "G"od came from a human? Do you believe a human is capable of interpreting the will of a being that, according to you, is capable of creating the universe? Do you believe that "G"od was enclosed in a room in a temple built by people who also believed that when you have a fever, the best thing to do is cut yourself to bleed it out? Use your brain and realize that these ancient ideas are from primitive times, and if you went back in time to thier era, you would be percieved as a god and could change religion as it is known today (You might just get enslaved, since that was 'hip' then). Try believing in yourself and stop giving your money to these tricksters who don't pay taxes. Look up in the midnight sky, see all the stars, these suns, consider the other planets and life and the immense size of the universe, and realize just how pretentious it is to believe that you or anyone living on this speck in the universe have any real idea about the truth. If you are truely interested in knowing "G"od, get to know the universe around you- it is the closest you will ever get to the "T"ruth.

    It is more likely that some other lifeform had an influence on this earth to make it what it is today than some hokus pokus ghosts and omnipresent moderators existing amongst us. The hardest things for us to accept in life can easily be thwarted by some false statement, like, "Don't wants the smurfs, because it has a wizard, and wizards are linked to Satan." (when I was a kid). Or how about when someone dies, "It was Gods will" but when someone commits suicide because of depression, "He's going to hell, and its satans fault." How convenient.

    I can go on, but I am getting bored.

    May 15, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Open your eyes

      I recommend watching the video "Imagine" by A Perfect Circle. It explains my POV nicely.

      May 15, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • rtbrno65

      As are we.

      May 16, 2012 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. Reader

    Imam Hadi (Ali -Al Naghi) is the 10th Imam of Shias. Please revise your report.

    May 15, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. parker

    these overly seneitive can't take a joke like crazy al yankovich, f#$k em this is the 21st century. they and many other groups internationally behave like the children they are!

    May 15, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. parker

    really we need to have more satyre about some of the higher ranking religious bozos in the US. seriously!

    May 15, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • AmazedinFL

      Fortunately someone can parody political and/or religious leaders here without having to worry about a death sentence over it.

      May 16, 2012 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
  6. Shane

    That is a pretty 'strict' interpretation of Article 513 of Islam's Penal Code, considering it does not suggest that a violator be executed at all... It says imprisoned from 1 to 5 years.

    May 16, 2012 at 3:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. East Coast

    I thought Islam was a religion of peace? Now the "code" calls for execution? Why is insulting an imam cause for execution? An imam is just a man, not Muhammod or however you spell the child r a p i s t's name.

    May 16, 2012 at 6:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. Cassarit

    It would be great if people here in the US who insulted our religious leaders or mocked our faith had prices on their heads.

    May 16, 2012 at 6:40 am | Report abuse |
    • AmazedinFL

      "It would be great if people here in the US who insulted our religious leaders or mocked our faith had prices on their heads." I'd like to believe we place more value on human life than to do something like that.

      May 16, 2012 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
  9. Rick

    AHHHHH! Religion........brings such joy! Grow up you nitwits, ALL religions were designed to dominate and control the masses. Just a fairy tale that brings REAL PAIN AND SUFFERING. Grow up Sheeple!!!!!!

    May 16, 2012 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
  10. sonbo

    what an awful rapper.

    May 16, 2012 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
  11. Alex

    Those Shia need to loosing it a bit,they should ask themselves:what would Imam Ali do?

    May 16, 2012 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. rtbrno65

    Article 513 of Islam’s penal code? Seriously? Why would anyone in their right mind follow this evil religion?

    May 16, 2012 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. Apostasy is Good for the Soul

    Anything that threatens these religious tyrants power base is good for the World. Mohamed bathes in camel p i ss. The koran is toilet paper. allah does each muslim 5x a day when they present everyday. The prophet's daughter loved to do 10 pigs in between prayers each day. Their mahdi is gay and all imams ayatollahs are psychopaths. There, did I miss anyone? Dude, I suggest a new album : Mohamed the Gay Camel Lover.

    May 16, 2012 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
  14. Stephen

    Here is the perfect example of why religion should be excluded from government. If you want to be intolerant idiots in the name of the invisible man, go at it, just do it in your own padded cell and leave the rest of us alone.

    May 16, 2012 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  15. EVN

    Another death sentence for saying something the grand pubas didn't like. What a repressive backwards place Iran, and the whole of Islam, is.

    May 16, 2012 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
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