Iranian rapper faces death threats, bounty over song
The bounty for the killing of rapper Shahin Najafi appear on the website shia-online.ir.
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 Shia-Online.ir 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. Redneck Rebel

    I am not into rap...but this is pretty good. Wish he would do an English version. This whole story just proves that there are places in this world where freedom of thought and speech is still regulated by those in power.

    May 16, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  2. Peter

    I am offering a $200,000 bounty for the killing of Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani. I'm a former Muslim, now an atheist.

    May 16, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. Denzig

    My god is better than your god! Blah blah blah.

    May 16, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  4. jamdfh

    Great, now I wanna buy that song!

    May 16, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. Sean

    Oh...poor baby can't handle a bit of critism...did we get our feelings hurt? There, there, don't worry...don't cry about it...it's ok...

    Why are Muslims such babies about words & pictures?

    May 16, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  6. citizenmn

    More barbaric behavior from the followers of a backward religion.

    May 16, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  7. Delete Me

    As we speak, Ayatollah Komenei and Imam Hadi are in Hell. From the moment they died years ago, and until this very day, they've been screaming and gnashing their teeth in agony as they're eternally cooked alive in a cauldron full of boiling excrement.

    Ponder this for a second, Shi'ites. The second these wicked heretical beasts died, until today, and as far into the future as you can imagine.... millions and millions of years... ions... they've been experiencing, and will experience, tortures that your mind can't comprehend. The Lord of the univers will show them NO mercy, either, because they've transgressed against Him and His law.

    May 16, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Never Debate

      I suppose you are a fortune teller. Somebody who can predict what is happening in the hereafter. The Shias think everybody else is going to the hell fire. Christians thinks it is the other way, Jews think that they are the chosen people. Atheists think we are all going into dust. That it is just a short life to enjoy it. What do you think of this argument?

      May 16, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • fishsticks

      How do you know the creator is a he? Idiot.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. LuisWu

    All the ayatollahs, imams, prophets, etc. are all disgusting morons. They all suck. Muhommed was gay for little boys, plus he ate pork and dog meat. So come after me you sick religious morons.

    May 16, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  9. A

    You don't see the pope issuing death sentences to Trent Reznor, do you? Barbaric.

    May 16, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  10. Denzig

    The notion of god is just a creation of the human mind to perpetuate the idea that the human race is superior to all other life forms on this rock we call home. From what I see on a day to day basis it is a delusion at best and an ego trip on a massive scale at worst. Think about it, many believe we were created in gods image but I would argue he was created in ours: jealous, vindictive, spiteful and altogether needy to the core.

    May 16, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  11. capnmike

    Islam is a crock of crap. Imams are liars and parasites who feed off the ignorant and brainwashed. There. Wanna come after me, you hijos'e'putas? Cowards hiding behind their sick excuse for a religion and fomenting hatred and violence. Every one of these hatemongering devils should be removed.

    May 16, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  12. Locksmith

    So, please reminds us how this filthy religion is peace loving and what not?

    And for the record, all religions are pathetic.

    May 16, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. paul woizeschke

    the album artwork looks like a boob

    May 16, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Wojimoto

      why yes it does

      May 16, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. fangpi

    Instead of dropping bombs on Iran, how about a mass media assault over several years exposing these child-molesting Imams and their puppet government? Take over their airwaves and pump out this guy's raps 24/7.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  15. rick

    one group of men deciding that another man should die for what he thinks and says. make sense to you?

    May 16, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
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