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. Allah has mercy

    The world would be better off without christians and muslims.

    May 15, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Person

      No, just people who believe monkeys evolved into......people.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Saby

      What do you know about a better world. My guess is that everywhere you go you spread misery.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • PulTab

      Well said Allah has mercy.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bob

    Why are theere no english subtext so we can read what he's saying!

    May 15, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. GodlessOpera

    FauxNews asked "isn't CNN liable for distributing bounty information?"

    I'd like to hope so. I don't put it past some people to read this headline and decide to go "hunting."

    In any case, I'm getting real tired of all the barbarism being done in the name of various religions.

    May 15, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jake

    So in Islam it's "Thou Shall Not Kill Except If you insult Islam, then in that case- killing is sanctioned by God"

    Such a peaceful and tolerant religion. It's no wonder why Muslims are so beloved by everyone.

    May 15, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Susan

    Thank god I live in America rather the little mosquito bug of a country called Iran! The Imam can bite me.

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

    he's in deep shiite.

    May 15, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iran a mile

      Hilarious. Thank you for making this mediocre day bright and joyful for me again.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mr Lowe

    "...and God knows what to do".

    Lol... He said that as if God works for HIM. "Yeah know what to do." God: "...I'm on it".

    May 15, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. New Muslim

    Think about this. What kind of a religion calls to harm anyone let alone execute them? This is not a religion. It is an evil manifest.

    The Quran must either be be re-written or abolished completely. In its current form, with hateful and violent writings, it belongs at the bottom of a manure pit. If fellow Muslims wish to have a respectful religion, then take action, re-write the Quran, publicly and repeatedly speak against those who promote violence and strike down that part of this religion that promotes violence against everyone and abuse of women.

    Radical Muslims are criminals. Their religion is not a religion at all. It is justification of evil, by evil people for evil purposes.

    May 15, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DC

    A bounty? Man, this Gregg Williams guy doesn't know when to stop!

    May 15, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. That's "music"?

    Hey Iran.. we have some rappers over here too. Care to take them off our hands?

    May 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jimmy

    Those crazy madcap people... what'll they do next???

    May 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ido

    ahhhh good old freedom....

    May 15, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. huh

    Yeah let's generalize about those violent muslims...

    Wake me up when another women's clinic gets bombed.

    May 15, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • lol

      what decade is that from? you must have been sleeping a long time

      May 15, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • RdWhtNBlu

      Dude, it's their national legal system! Not some idiot not acting right, that is just the human race and always will be. These people and their made-up, archaic, and untrue religeon (as are all), is the scourge of this Earth and may just end our civilization. Religeon out, we are all Earthlings and abide by general laws of freedom and peace, and we save all of the money we humans have forever invested in our individual war machines. I sure do like the sound of that, but it won't ever happen when you have extreme societies like the Middle East. Like they would ever agree to anything other than what Mohammed apparently instructed before they knew the Earth was round and not at the center of the universe. HELLO....these doctrines were written before they knew any better and it made sense at the time! Wake up sheep, science happened....we get it....can't we all just get along and work for better lives on Earth and not fight about the next life that doesn't exist? How many lives have been wasted trying to measure up to the imagined next life? Wow, greatest sales job ever!

      May 15, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Guero

    I guess there is no such thing as evolution or intelligent design in Iranian society or the GOP...

    May 15, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sHuRuLuNi

    Please someone just shoot him for that crappy song. My ears!!

    May 15, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
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