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)

    Anyone who reads this article and doesn't see how freaking insane these fundamentalists are, shouldn't be allowed to be in public. Religion is for weak, gullible people. Islam is the weakest of all the stupid religions out there. Have a nice day!

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

      Right on!

      May 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      I agree completely with your comments about religion and Islam. Its always been amazing to me how fragile Islam is. So many simple things can destroy it: drawing a picutre of Mohammed, Lady Gaga doing a concert in Indonesia, someone writing a book that doesn't praise everything in the Quoran, and now a song. How has it managed to survive this long?

      May 15, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Abner Dick

      yes, rediculous but necessary. you see, simple minds like those of the 14th century cave dweller require a format for how to live their respective lives. why, without religion - and a fabricated leader, they would just be....lemmings (um, in the figurative sense)

      May 15, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. angryersmell

    If God knows what to do, then why issue the death threats and bounty? You and your ilk are the blasphmers, sir. God knows what to do.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. god is dead

    the breast/mosque is awesome

    May 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bigdil

    Islamic leaders are just going to have to accept the fact that they can't bully people anymore. If they can't accept it, they'll see their church wither. Instantaneous world-wide communication has crushed the ability of oppressive churches to censor apostates through isolation. The Catholic church is just beginning to figure this out. When they tried to make an issue out of contraception a few months ago, their own flock shut them down. A humbling lesson for the the Catholic clergy who, until recently, thought they owned the Catholic church.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iceman

      Actually you have it quite wrong. Their own "flock" didn't shut them down, the liberal media stopped writing about it because it had the potential to hurt Obama. By turning many Catholics against the democratic controlled political machine in an election year, it could certainly cause much 'change" in November by voting them out of office.

      You are not even comparing apples to apples when trying to show similarities with the Catholic church clergymen speaking about about contraception and some fanatical, insane religious zealots calling for the death of an artist over what they believe is an insulting song.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Blake

    Fundamentailst Islam acts like a petulant child bully who can't take criticism and is terminally insecure. How can you expect anyone to respect and tolerate such poor behavior, when you have so little respect and tolerance? Allah will certainly damn you for behaving in such a manner in his name...

    May 15, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Steve

    religion is stupid. Santa Claus is just a myth.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • TomVIO

      Actually Steve... Religion is a myth, Santa Clause is based on a real person. Of course, the red suit and the white beard was invented by Coca-Cola, but that doesn't mean that the person was not real.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Taint

    Has anyone mentioned yet how badly this song sucks?

    May 15, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Retired Army


      May 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ernie

    The end of Islam would mean a peaceful world..

    May 15, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blake

      No such thing. Another religion that prays on the disenfranchised and uneducated would take it's place. History is a stunning rebuke of religion, and yet it continues. Religion, created to moderate the baser instincts of man, has instead channeled and amplified those instincts for it's own consolidation of power over man. Any war or act of agression in the name of god is using his name in vain, regardless of idiology.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • PulTab

      The end of religion would mean a peaceful world.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Preston Burke


    May 15, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Adam

    Unfortunately Islam has not moved passed its Dark Ages Era of Inquisitions, having blashpemy laws in Iran or witch hunts in Saudia Arabia. It is sad that UN would not officially condemn these countries.
    Some of you might say that the west was also doing this. But lets just recall that Inquisition of this sort were happening nearly 800 years ago in Europe and the last witch hunts "The Salem Witch Trials" in US over 300 years ago. At that time the number of people that could actually read any where in the world was in the single digits of a percent scale. So please don't try to compare the two.
    These Blasphemy Laws and Witch Hunts are an insult to Human Race, and Muslims should really reject this behaviour if they want to be taken seriously by the rest of the world

    May 15, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Retired Army

    Doesn't matter......he's just another thug rapper......

    May 15, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. cbyrd

    Just a religion of peace.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Duane - St. Pete FLA

    Really?? How's this Muslims......ALLAH can kiss my A**!! Allah is a girl.....with a dress on, and pretty hat......hahahaha

    May 15, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kosmogonia

      "Allah" is an equivalent for the God of Judaism and Christianity, so - in your ellipses-ridden ignorance - you just insulted the God of the Christian Holy Bible. Congratulations, now have some cake.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      And don't forget that Imam Hadis mother wears combat boots!!

      Religion is so stupid.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thereisnogod

      I bet you worship some equally nonexistent and ridiculous god.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJC

      I agree with you, but I also noticed you didn't put your last name, Duane.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. middletestament

    I don't know. Is this guy one of the 10 best rappers in the world?

    May 15, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Didn't Ted Nugent threaten President Obama's and put a bounty on his head by conspiring to assassinate our President and undermine our democracy and the will of the people if they re-elected the President? So whay kind of religion and hate is driving the Ted Nugents of the world? And what about those white supremacist tepublicans driving around the country with bumper stickers calling for the assasination of our President? What kind of religion and hate are driving these home grown radical extremist?

    May 15, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimbean

      Yea, I remember a movie and same rhetoric when bush was in office, but you seem to have forgotten about that....

      May 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "Yea, I remember a movie and same rhetoric when bush was in office, but you seem to have forgotten about that...."

      Yes there was a British 'what if' film that showed the possible scenario of what could happen if he was assassinated, it did not in any way attempt to claim that they wanted him dead. It was also roundly condemned by both sides of the political divide in the US, 2 major cinema chains refused to show it, and main media channels refused to shown ads for the film.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • TooClose2DC

      First, Ted Nugent was investigated by the Secret Service and no threat was found to be made. Second, we have free speech in this country...even hate speech is protected. If you are worried about someone with a bumper sticker, please feel free to move to Iran where they will take your concern seriously.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
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