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. Woody

    Placing bounties on the heads of rappers may be the most intelligent thing Islam has ever done. I think I'll send the grand ayatollah my list. The rappers in America, however, do a pretty good job of killing each other.

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

    This is the religion of peace, right?

    May 16, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. Brian W.

    the money for his bounty was put up by "a philanthropist" in a Persian Gulf state...which to the uninformed means Saudi Arabia..

    May 16, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Lee S

      last time I checke d the Saudis were sunni, try again

      May 16, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. saywhat

    German Nobel Laureate Gunter Grass is facing death threats and is barred from travelling to Israel over a poem he wrote criticizing Israeli.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  5. Lulz

    Its funny " We are a religion of peace, and love ... what... what did he say .. oh no... OK thats it ... 100,000 dollar bounty on that guys head because he disagrees with us .... now back to what I was saying 😀 ... " Anyone who believes in Islam is automatically an idiot 🙂

    May 16, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  6. malibu1369

    Praise "god" and got all of the greedy and oppressive people who made him up. This would be funny if it wasn't so scary!

    May 16, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  7. clearick

    Iran doesn't like Free Speech, that is why in America there is a separation between Religion and the Government, does anyone think the Iranian way is better?

    May 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Colts19

      Thank God for the separation of Church and State! Wait...

      May 16, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • nameuser247

      I can get death threats from Americans for disliking their idols on youtube.

      May 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. panorain

    To believe Romney have to believe in Ritual Cult Abuse – RCA – which is similar to witchcraft hysteria – where people are encouraged to remember things as if they are real – 50 years later – and lo and behold people start to believe things are true that never happened. Ronald Reagan thought he went overseas. But didn't. Hillary Clinton thought she helicoptered right into the middle of a battle zone. But it didn't happen. Group hysteria is a common affliction among people with repressed memory syndrome.

    May 16, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. markus

    No need to worry about immigration problems in Iran.

    May 16, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. meeker

    okay okay this is seriously why iran needs to shut up its there way or the high way and thats not right thats the problem is islam if u dont bealive in it then u should be killed. guess wat iran no religion exsists u are all in make bealive because sum guy 1,000s of years ago whose name prolly was jesus christ asked him self why do i exsist on this earth and he bealived that there must be a higher power witch science has proven we have all evolved... remember when the teacher told u sumthing and u had to tell the next person in the class and so on and what happend when it got all the way around? it was completely different from wat started and what has religion done the same damn thing religion is the root of all evil every war has just about been faught due to religion...

    May 16, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • FUSEDVIAL

      Grammar much!

      Differences not religion start wars. Ideological differences. Look at the Iraq-Iran War...DIFFERENCES.

      May 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DJCowboy

    I just find it hilarious that the site says a "philanthropist" is donating money to kill someone

    May 16, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kriss Greenn

    Allah, Muhammond and Imam are evil and should burn for their wrong doings to humans. Oh no, should I worry about extremist muslims coming after me? I'm a educated woman too, who will not let man or any person run my life. I wonder how much the bounty on my head would be.

    May 16, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Totradz

    song's not bad at all – will put it in my ipod! ... there are some nice harmonies at 1:40... and considering that the most instruments are voices.. good job man! You're worth of $100,000 now! 😉 good luck surviving there though !!!

    May 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Zepplin

    If "God knows what to do" then let him be the judge and jury, not some ancient nazi cleric.

    May 16, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lost

    "Insulting an Imam".....the people have had enough of tyrannical, subjective leadership. Separation of religion and state matters is best.

    May 16, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
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