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. Naghi

    only 10,000 for taking another human's life? I believe his life worth more than that

    May 16, 2012 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  2. Rags

    "Being an apostate, or someone who forsakes Islam, is punishable by death under Iranian law."

    Who the 4ell died and left these losers in control? Come get me suckers: Islam is a religion for fools. grand ayatollah is an idiot and gay. Golpayegani is a qu33r.

    May 16, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  3. jbm66

    When will the world ever grow up to the fact that Religion is a fairy tale. These clowns in Iran are probably the worst of them all because their country is controlled by these Imbecile Ayatollahs...At least in our country we can laugh our talk show host Christians morons and get away with it.

    May 16, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. russ

    tea-baggers come in all flavors

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

      So do mоrоnѕ, as is apparent by your post.

      May 16, 2012 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  5. Pierre - Westmount, Qc

    A typical reactionary spectacle coming from a typical hypocritical islamic theocracy. Nothing surprising here.

    May 16, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  6. vjpgh

    OMG – just be glad that our God is nicer. and BTW – exactly when did God tell them what he wants them to do?
    When did God ever actually speak to man – or write a book?

    May 16, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  7. dan

    No wonder they Ayatollah wants him dead, the beat and flow are terrible! Lol no I'm kidding that's terrible. I wonder if FOX has the balls to cover a story that makes rap music look victimized, given their love for anything even slightly related to black culture...note the sarcasm

    May 16, 2012 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  8. Connie

    Is there any other response these folks know other than to kill someone? Let's try to think outside the box, there can be other solutions- I guess silly me right?

    May 16, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. John

    It is so hard to believe that in this day and age people are still sentenced to death because of free speech. Marcos oppressed and suppressed the people of the Philippines for 20 years. The masses came out in millions with civil disobedience in 1986. The soldiers and his personal thugs were ordered to fire on the civilians. Fighter planes and choppers were ordered to strafe and bomb them. The military refused to kill their own people. Ahhhh.... this is about religion. How simple can you define freedom? If Iranians want freedom, they can have it anytime. They just have to muster the courage to die for it. How long can you stand in front of the mirror and admit that you are a coward.And that is why you and your country are not free and will never be free.

    May 16, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. Chut Pata

    Does Iran has a Guantanamo Bay where Christian are tortured to death? or they just chop their heads off to a peaceful death? Other than that, Iran sounds pretty much like a Republican USA where converts tried as terrorist after gettin them thru sting operations.

    May 16, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. Exiled1

    That song reminds me of that whack ass white dude from Canada,Snow that came out with that informer song like ten yers ago.

    May 16, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  12. Bill

    Radical Muslims must be wiped off the face of the Earth so they can go s*ck on Mohammed's little b*lls.

    May 16, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  13. willard43

    How many other death fatwas does Iran have on the books? I think they should all get together and do like a "we are the world" type video..."We are the fatwa'd, we are the chosen, we are the ones Iran wants dead, so let's start livin."

    May 16, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. AndriconBoy

    Why stop at one rap "artist?" Why not just get rid of all of them? 🙂

    May 16, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. AndriconBoy

    Are you talking about rap music, or the Ayatollah?

    May 16, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
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