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'Send him to hell': rapper in hiding after Fatwa

The Local · 15 May 2012, 18:01

Published: 15 May 2012 18:01 GMT+02:00

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Last week Iranian Shiite cleric Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani said those who mocked Imams were committing apostasy – the rejection of religion which in Iran is a crime punishable by death, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported on Monday evening.

The singer – who has been at loggerheads with Iranian authorities for years and has lived in exile Cologne since 2005 – last week released "Naqi," a provocative song in which he criticizes Iranian society and politics, news magazine Der Spiegel said on Friday.

This sparked an Iranian media campaign against Shahin Najafi, with newspapers saying his songs were proof of his apostasy, and calling for “appropriate consequences.”

Najafi told The Local in an email that calls were made for all Shiites and Muslims to find and kill him and “send him to hell.”

There was a storm of reaction online as death threats multiplied against the rapper, culminating in the anonymous offer of a $100,000 bounty on Najafi's head.

"I couldn't believe it," Najafi told German radio station Deutsche Welle radio on Friday.

"When I first saw the price on my head online, the $100,000, I really understood that it had got serious."

The threat intensified when a second Fatwa calling Najafi an apostate was issued by Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi via the Tabnak Iranian news agency, reported Focus on Tuesday.

The danger is that extremist Muslims in Germany or Europe take up the cause and try to kill him.

Najafi is now under police protection and has filed an official complaint against Safi Golpayegani, his manager told Deutsche Welle.

The rapper – famous for his lyrics critical of the Iranian authorities - has been living in exile in Cologne after being banned from performing in his home country. However, he says he did not intend to criticize Islam.

"I thought there would be some ramification," Najafi told the radio station.

"But I didn’t think it would upset the regime that much. Now they are taking advantage of the situation and making it look like I was trying to criticize religion and put down believers.”

The musician has been forced to cancel some of his upcoming appearances. "He can't work now, he has to go to ground," said manager Schahryar Ahadi in the radio interview.

Story continues below…

Najafi added that although he's afraid, he doesn't want to remain in hiding for long.

"I'm young and I'm an artist. I have to perform," he told Der Spiegel on Friday.

The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:33 May 15, 2012 by MeinSchwanz
the truth is, the regime IS the religion, it was co-opted long ago. you can't insult one without insulting the other.
23:09 May 15, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Better get in contact with Salman Rushdie and maybe organise a bodyguard sharing program. Those nutjobs are hard to shake off. Not that the Christian fundamentalists are any easier.
01:03 May 16, 2012 by Mr. Wonderful
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
01:16 May 16, 2012 by marimay
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
07:55 May 16, 2012 by Ruhetag
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
09:00 May 16, 2012 by catjones
Ingenious way to make money for your music. At least this guy puts his life on the line. Guts.
10:52 May 16, 2012 by asteriks
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
12:49 May 16, 2012 by Eastard
amazing... 4 out of 6 comments in breach... It is one thing for Islam to dictate within their region of authority and quite another when they put out paid hit lists for citizens around the world.. Does this mean that the cleric issuing the hit be labeled as an official terrorist..?
13:35 May 16, 2012 by johnny108
islam insults me- free speech. I insult islam- Death to the infidel!! Typical.
17:04 May 16, 2012 by marimay
That's funny, my comment was about the US president now being allowed to put a hit on american citizens if he chooses. Maybe it was the living up ones rear end that got it removed? Ah, well... lol
17:06 May 16, 2012 by Englishted
And people think it is O.K. to let these lot loose with a potential nuclear bomb.
14:31 May 17, 2012 by T Gonzaga
How much intolerance must we endure in the name of tolerance? This is a perfect example of of why merely standing by and allowing intolerance to be "shoved down all our throats" will ultimately undermine the freedoms of all. This incident reminds me of the Miami immigrant enclave in the novel "Up Dog Street", where in an effort to show tolerance, they let the locals impose censorship and legalize dogfighting. Who really loses in the the end? We all do, beginning with our precious freedoms.
23:09 May 20, 2012 by PierceArrow
And muddleheaded liberals still call Islam a religion of peace.
19:24 May 25, 2012 by yonnie
issue fatwa's on those who teach and preach hate. Go after the imams & clerics, end the reign of terror by ending those who teach it. Islam is not a religion, it is a hostile government which has declared war upon everyone who is not an islamist.
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