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. Will

    Google: "Blasphemy and Extrajudicial Killing in Shi’a Islam" to see the context of Golpayegani's comment.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John

    God is powerful enough that if anyone is going to be punished for something, He can take care of it and doesn't need some carbon life form (human) to do it.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pretzelogic

      there is no god

      May 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. SoldierofFortunes

    God is Vanilla Ice Cream and religions are nothing more than flavors of it....

    May 15, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fallofthewest

      No he's not, ice cream actually exists.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • alex

      LOL fallofthewest

      May 15, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. 1plus1

    Kill people that don't believe in your imaginary friend...


    May 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. 1plus1

    Kill people that don't believe in your imaginary friend...



    May 15, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    All Gods are hedonistic pigs. So are the religious humans who worship these fairy tales. They barely practice what they preach.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duffey

      Hmmm. And Muslims wonder why people in the West tend to dicriminate against them?

      May 15, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duffey

      In reply to Mike. Don't blame God or Pigs for this.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joe

    It's bad enough we're forced to listen to this crap here, now others are sharing in our misery. For real yo.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. blam

    That's some real street cred.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. don newell

    seroiusly islam is evil from the devil himself.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. rick

    writers, cartoonists, rappers ................... and the announcement is met with a resounding silence from the muslim world.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. SoldierofFortunes

    Godsmack – Serenity...nothing changes days go by...when we will learn...

    May 15, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Really?

    You jokers realize this is the type of law that states like Kansas want kept completely out of the court rooms right. Looks to me like Kansas has the right idea.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      Yeah, they just want to implement the Christian equivalent instead. Break canon law, or say anything critical of Jesus or the church, and get stoned to death.

      If Kansas's motives were sincere they'd outlaw canon law too.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. RottenCrotch

    I love god and religion. It gives me something to laugh at, and people to challenge about their faith. More often than not, they walk away doubting their beliefs... maybe for the first time ever. At that point, I know I've done my job.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. General Norman Scheisskopf

    Imam Hadi and Ayatollah Khamenei are roasting in hell as we speak. They're getting boiled alive in a cauldron full of diarrhea.

    Stop and ponder that for a second, muzzies. The second they died they found themselves experiencing tortures you cannot fathom. They're experiencing those very same tortures today. And they'll be experiencing them millenia from now. It will never end. The Lord Almighty will show them no mercy.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dunlar

    Al Tupac Shahin, should keep his eye out for Biggie Golpayegani.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
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