Iranian rapper draws Shi'ite fatwa

2012-05-14 20:55

Dubai - An Iranian rapper living in Germany has a $100 000 bounty on his head after an Islamist website offered a reward for anyone who kills him over a song that satirises the Islamic Republic and irreverently addresses a historic religious figure.

The Iranian news and religion website said hip-hop star Shahin Najafi deserved to die for a song which it said "grossly insulted" Ali al-Hadi al-Naqi, one of the 12 imams, the religious figures highly revered by Shi'ite Muslims.

Najafi denied his song focused on the revered Sh'ite imam or was meant to criticise Islam.

The song takes the form of a prayer to the ninth century Naqi and expresses ironic reverence for many contemporary Iranian figures.

With references ranging from Iranians' love of nose jobs to economic sanctions and the contested 2009 presidential election, the song's Farsi language lyrics would mean little to a foreigner but have resonated with Iranians and have earned it more than 320 000 hits on YouTube.

Many rap songs by exiled Iranians would be politically and morally offensive to authorities in the Islamic Republic, where little home-grown pop music is allowed. But Najafi's constant refrain of "O Naqi" has drawn more ire than usual.

"A [website] founder who lives in one of the Gulf Arab states has promised to pay the [$100 000] bounty on behalf of to the killer of this abusive singer," the site said in a posting.

In echoes of the 1989 fatwa - religious ruling - ordering the death of British author Salman Rushdie for his novel "The Satanic Verses", which was deemed blasphemous - a senior cleric in Iran said Najafi's rap might merit a death sentence.


Asked by his followers about the song, Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi said in a ruling: "Any outrage against the infallible imams... and obvious insult against them would make a Muslim an apostate," Iran's Fars news agency reported.

Apostasy carries a death sentence under Islamic laws which are applied in predominantly Shi'ite Iran.

Speaking to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Najafi said: "I thought there would be some ramifications. But I didn't think I would upset the regime that much. Now they are taking advantage of the situation and making it look like I was trying to criticise religion and put down believers.

"For me it is more of an excuse to talk about completely different things. I also criticise Iranian society in the song. It seems as though people are just concentrating on the word 'imam'."

Najafi, in his early 30s, was active in Iran's underground music scene before he left the country in 2005.

Iranian officials have not yet commented on Najafi's song and Iran's media have not widely reported the bounty put on his head by the Shi'ite website.

Najafi said he had taken some "precautionary measures" because "some of the supporters of the regime want to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation".

  • michael.a.devilliers - 2012-05-14 21:04

    And people wonder why people think Iran is bad.

      rudiwaan.joseph - 2012-05-14 21:54

      michael, Iran has a head of state and a religious head(Ayahtollah) The Ayahtollah issued a fatwa (a religious creed) on the singer and his song/s that was found to be blasphamous according to his (Shi'ite) believes, much like the Pope would make a call on a similarcatholic religous issue(minus the bounty and death call),. The state of Iran has been given bad publicity lately and most of it negative propoganda to further a western hidden agenda. Like in Zimbabwe, not all citizens agrees with what is said by its leaders but that doesnt carry much weight! PEACE!

      rudiwaan.joseph - 2012-05-14 21:58

      there is no need to ''thumbs down'' Michael he merely stated what people think!. Rather set the record straight!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-14 22:25

      I'm sorry you think the election adjusting, women stoning, terrorism funding, Holocaust denying, oppressive Iranian regime distinct from the Iranian people is "receiving bad press" Rudiwaan.

      rudiwaan.joseph - 2012-05-14 23:07

      Fred, I respect your opinion and dont claim to be an expert on Iranian issues.but Iran remains a sovereign state who hasnt had a single citizen laying a charge in The Hague' against the regime. And how can you be assured that what you heard is true. (assuming that you havnt been to Iran to witness these acts first hand) China, Bosnia, and a couple of countries on our continent is no different but the same is not said about them. The debate goes on. Castro's days are numbered and he will never live to see any action taken against his communist regime for all he had done to his people! But he is not an Islamic state and therefore exempted from military action by the watchdogs and police of the world! So i find it sad that you are not so loudly outspoken in favour of all peoples'' oppressed' where ever they may find themselves' Shalom.

  • robbieyahu - 2012-05-14 22:33

    we need peace in this world not hatred ...religions ALL fan and incite hatred !!!!! religion has a very UGLY FACE AND THIS IS IT !!!!!

      rudiwaan.joseph - 2012-05-14 23:25

      Robbie, atheist also believe in something even if it isnt the concept of a GOD. As such it is also a religion of sort. Religion doesnt incite hatred but INTOLERANCE, EXTREMIST and FUNDAMENTALISM DOES. Most religions preaches 'peace' and the 'love they neighbour' concept. It is mankind that takes the scripts and interpret it to suit their own agendas!

      Bradley - 2012-05-15 09:27

      Yes we believe that If we do bad we feel bad we do good we feel good.

      rudiwaan.joseph - 2012-05-15 20:13

      bradley,bradley,bradley! Sober up already!

  • rudiwaan.joseph - 2012-05-15 06:10

    the moral of the story! just because you think it is, doesnt make it so! Tolerance is paramount to peace!

  • Jaba - 2012-05-15 08:26

    You draw a cartoon or compose a song that infuriate the Iranians and you are worthy of death. Now these are the same people that are on the road to obtaining nuclear tech. God help us all.

      rudiwaan.joseph - 2012-05-16 08:17

      jaba, if someone drew a cartoon depicting Jesus(Peach Be Upon HIM) in a speedo on the beach or as a cross dresser and that doesnt infuriate people that holds him in high esteem then i'll be more than surprised. There are people that have done worst things known to all and they have been in possession of nuclear war ready weapons for decades! God has helped us this far i am sure HE's not going to forsake us now. I am a firm believer of what goes for the goose goes for the gander! Oh! On this matter thumbs down is good, so do your thing as i expect you will!

  • Preshen - 2012-05-15 08:33

    "La ilaha illa Allah, ha la ili, hay yo Hili b'Allah, hey, hili bay yo We getting Arab money We getting Arab money"

  • pages:
  • 1