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. Pretzelogic

    " But I only said Jahova "

    May 15, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tex71

      (prances) "Jehovah, Jehovah, Jehovah..!"

      May 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bribarian

    Sad to see the tentacle of zi0nism reaching into Iran

    May 15, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. relians

    all religion sucks

    May 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Felix

    Someone sets a bounty to get a rapper killed? That's a philanthropist, alright.
    We should do that over here as well. I don't think the rappers will mind much, it adds to their "street cred". Just having some unpaid parking tickets doesn't do it.

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

    "...and god knows what to do." Oh yeah? So let him/her deal with it...oh that's right, she won't because she doesn't exist.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Pertnear

    I don't care if a rapper is black, white, Indian, Iranian – if they would all just go away, we would not be facing so many problems with teens wanting to be ganstas. Thanks for creating that style that kids wish to emulate.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dan

    Man, those guys'll kill ya for blowing your nose.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jean Sartre

    Although America has freedom of speech, not so much in Germany.

    This rapper should be put into therapy, as all rappers should... it just ain't music...

    May 15, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Stingy

    Iran should be ashamed of them self.. with 100.000 dollars people can not even purchases a home that is located in a good neighborhood inside Tehran less then in western Europe or USA.
    Therefore this is just propaganda on behalf of the swindlers in Iran if they really wish this man dead take out the wallet and give the person 3.5 million Dollars at least ....
    1.5 million Dollars to buy a home in a good neighborhood 1.5 million dollars to invest in a company and having 500.000 dollars as a buffer ....

    Shame on You Iran Shame you and your worthless propaganda bring out the good cash and give the opportunely to the poor to do some good for themselves

    May 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tom

    The answer is always kill it or hang it with them isn't it?

    May 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bermille

    This is what republicans want to do here in America. Execute anyone who disagrees with their viewpoint.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. r u serious ?

    Jay-z should be on the remix.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Christina

    I wish people would put some time into studying our Universe. It's only then one can see how brainwashed they are and how they waste their precious time and life believing in Gods. Take your one life and enjoy it!

    May 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • matty ice

      As a Christian who believes God breathed life in this world and sent his Son as a sacrifice, I enjoy my life very much. 🙂

      May 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Big Will

    GOOD GRIEF Is there anything that doesnt insult Islam with these people!!

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


      May 15, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • ME

      I think this is about the only way I'd defend rap - it's one thing to believe rap is not a worthy form of music, another to think a performer worthy of death.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jean Sartre

    Yeah, like Willard is so much different...

    May 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • You're missing the Paul

      Please cite a specific example of mittens calling for the death of a rapper or calling for a 100K bounty (normally its just tax breaks, but that does not make him a totalitarian murderer like the Ayatollah. That makes you an idiot for showing how stupid some democrats can be...just as dumb as williards supporters. SHUT UP.

      May 16, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
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