Called “the Salman Rushdie of music,” Shahin Najafi, a Germany-based Iranian singer, has been hit with fatwas calling for his killing, including one from a leading Ayatollah, after he released a song with references to Ali al-Hadi al-Naqi, the tenth of the 12 Shia Muslim Imams. The brief reference was enough to call for his death under Sharia law.
The actual reference is pretty brief and mild:
The song, by the rapper Shahin Najafi, is addressed to Imam Naghi, a revered Shiite Muslim cleric who died in the ninth century. The song’s lyrics include some profanity and sexual innuendo, according to a translation of some verses by Golnaz Esfandiari, a blogger for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the American-financed news network. But what caused a stir in Iran was a chorus in which Mr. Najafi asks for Imam Naghi to return instead of Imam Mahdi, the Shiite messiah.
Hey Naghi! Now that Mahdi has slept, we are calling you.
Hey Naghi! We are ready wearing our shrouds, hey Naghi! Rise up!
Naghi! For sake of love and Viagra.
The Iranian clerics unanimously declared him to be an apostate, including powerful Ayatollah Naser Makareme Shirazi in the holy city of Qom. Makareme Shirazi declared that “any outrage against the infallible imams … and obvious insult against them would make a Muslim an apostate.”Previously, the cleric issued tough edicts against “women attending football matches, keeping pets and the Holocaust.”
The Iranian religion website which runs on the regime-controlled .ir domain has offered a $100,000 (£62,000) reward for anyone who kills Najafi. The site declared “A (website) founder who lives in one of the Gulf Arab states has promised to pay the ($100,000) bounty on behalf of Shia-Online.ir to the killer of this abusive singer.”
The rapper should not look to the imam for spiritual support. Imam al-Hadi, who was later poisoned, dealt with religious dissidents in a fatal fashion. In his day, for example, some scholars believed words such as “zakat” or “prayer” did not actually mean praying or giving alms. Instead, they believed that they referred not to an act but to a man. Imam al-Hadi disagreed and ordered them all killed, telling his followers “…if you overcome any of them (extremists), break his head with a stone!”
It may be blasphemy and apostasy but it has a nice tune you can dance to. Perfect for any rave in the West or stoning in Iran . . .