It’s hard out here for an Iranian MC. CNN reports that an Iranian rapper named Shahin Najafi has received death threats and has a $100,000 bounty on his life for creating a song called “Naghi” that allegedly insults an Imam.

Najafi actually lives in Germany and told Qantara that the song is not about a specific person, in this case Naghi, the tenth Imam in Shia (Shiite) Islam.

“I criticise Iranian society in the song. It seems as though people are just concentrating on the word ‘imam,’” Najafi told Qantara.

Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Safi Golpaygani has condemned the song, and the 92 year-old has been quoted as saying, “If the song contains any insults or indecency towards Imam Naghi, then it is blasphemy, and God knows what to do.” However, an official “fatwa” ruling that Najafi should be punished by death has not been issued. Nevertheless, an Iranian website,  shia-online, has offered $100,000 to whoever kills Najafi.

The socio-political leaning rapper, who rhymes in Farsi, does not seem to be too intimidated by his current predicament, which includes his website being hacked and numerous death threats. “I can’t go into any details. But we have taken precautionary measures,” Najafi told Qantara. “We do, after all, live in a country where there are rules and procedures for such predicaments. So there is nothing to worry about. Some of the supporters of the regime want to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. But everything is okay, and we will continue with our work.”

Listen to “Naghi” below.


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Photo: Qantara

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