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. w5cdt

    I'd like to see more inflammatory rhetoric from rappers. They are the perfect vehicle.

    May 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. And another, and another, and another

    If muslims had true faith in their god, they would let him do his own dirty work.

    May 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jason

    A rapper versus muslims. Where are the rednecks going to go on this one/

    May 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daryx

      they will sit back and let them destroy each, wait....put them on WWF, they will!! Then they'll get what they love most out of what they hate most!!
      lol rednecks.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Old Driller w/no TV

    Big deal Iran. Rappers in south-central LA face driveby shootings about every day. Ditto inner city rappers everywhere. I'd rather have someone threaten me than actually shoot me.

    May 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Drew

    How the heck do Muslims expect other people to share the world with them, if this is their degree of intolerance for free speech?

    May 15, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Old Driller w/no TV

    We all agree using the 'N' word is wrong. Heck, I get chewed out by old ladies for using the 'h' word. (hag) And one of them likes rap music! Word.

    May 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mrs. Carter

      Although you may think it funny to call women "hags", actually the word is derived from the word "haggard", as in "his appearance was haggard from lack of sleep." You do not sound like a person who would want to use a word incorrectly. Word.

      May 15, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ray

    Islam.....SUCH a loving tolerant and firgiving religion!! ...NOT

    May 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tony H.

    Please leave rap to the African Americans....Com'on man

    May 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Guesteppi

    I like that one part where he's talking about the thing and then he goes an starts spittin' some mad falluja whilst layin it down to da beatz.
    Whoever said that EVERYTHING seems to insult Islam is spot on..

    May 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. momoya

    Way to show the world how sensible you are, Islam in Iran..

    May 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. geo

    the song is awesome!!!!

    May 15, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Chris

    Hey Iran, I'd like to introduce you to some Public Enemy.

    May 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. t3chsupport

    I take it they didn't have anything to say about the boob?

    May 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jesse dez

    he better hide himself ! some how ,some way somebody will kill him soon !

    May 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Michel LeGrisbi

    Iran would probably love PE, since they got in trouble with jewish groups.

    May 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
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