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. charles bowen

    Why would anyone follow a religion that advocates the Murder of its followers...That makes Allah the murderer by association with this evil Religious sect..Always thought that the ayatollas wer the problem with islam...Time to Cull the evil and clean up your religion... Might i recomend a 50 Cal from a range of say 750 yards with a good shooter might i recomend you practice on your loud mouth leader Ahmadinejad.... Charles Bowen Solomon Stone

    May 17, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrea

      It is not the religion that is promoting this particular outcry. It is people who distort the religion to remain in control. The Iranian government wants to remain in control and sees anyone who speaks out against it a threat. This has nothing to do with the teachings of Islam.

      May 17, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. Guest

    Why is it that Muslims say that the rest of the world is ignorant to their religion? To me Muslims are ignorant about the rest of the world! Their outlandish belief that they have the right to not be offended? What the hell is that? If you offend me, I can kill you! What a great religion!

    May 17, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. specter

    George Michaels is An Iranian rapper?

    May 17, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. chansz

    of course he should die. isn't that what god would want......?

    May 17, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. MattinDC

    Those CRAZY Iranians....Nuclear Weapons AND No Rap Music....pick your poison wearers of bed linens.

    May 17, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jack Harrington

    They are all Nut jobs.

    May 17, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ryan H

    is it just me or does that album cover have a side ways boob on it...

    May 17, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sarcasmo

    lol people

    Can we just nuke this planet already? This species is ridiculous.

    May 17, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  9. 1amazed1

    Another barbaric country who does not have what it takes to stop this bounty nonsense. What happened to free speech. Oh , I forgot they are still in the dark ages

    May 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. DT

    For some reason all of the middle east and muslim culture seems barbaric, primitive and ignorant. Stoning women, oppressing them, not allowing people to speak their mind, torturing them, executing them, I probably missed a long list of items.

    But they are trying to convince us that they are about "Peace" I don't think they know what peace is and even if they would have it they will fight over something else.

    May 17, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mongo31

    Religion and belief in God are very often 2 different things. Whatever happened to tolerance?

    May 17, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. aps

    that's islam for you. religion of peace.

    May 17, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Blake Bradley

    I don't even like rap, but I'll go ahead and tell Imam Najafi to go and perform a certain impossible anatomical act. These radical Muslims act like they are God themselves. They would do well to learn tolerance. As a Christian I know its a bad thing to blaspheme Jesus Christ, but if he were alive on earth today he would pity a blasphemer for his sin and anger, not suggest that he be killed. Any holy man with a hit list does not deserve my attention.

    May 17, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dowdotica

    Talk about putting the fear of God into people. Time to evolve folks. get it?

    May 17, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Nico

    America should learn a valuable lesson about what happens when you infuse too much religion into government. Ahhh hem, right wingers.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
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