Another Man Must Hide from Iranian Barbarism

Apparently Salman Rushdie’s novels aren’t the only thing that makes the Iranian ayatollahs into a homicidal rage; they’ve issued yet another fatwa calling for murder, this time of an Iranian rapper, now living in Germany, who released a song critical of the government.

Iranian rapper Shahin Najafi expected his song calling on a Shiite saint to save Iran from its current rulers to stir up controversy, but he never imagined it might cost him his life.

He is now being dubbed the Salman Rushdie of music after two influential clerics in Iran issued fatwas—religious edicts—justifying his murder on grounds of blasphemy.

“I am still in disbelief. I’m only 31, with my whole life ahead of me,” said Mr. Najafi in an interview from Germany, where he lives and, since last week, has been in hiding under the protection of German police.

Mr. Najafi says he doesn’t regret the song and refuses to apologize, arguing that invoking a saint’s name is a freedom of expression and not a religious insult. “Each person has to pay a price for what they want. I will never apologize for my art and for speaking the truth about Iran’s government,” said Mr. Najafi.

This isn’t an official government decree, but it might as well be:

The senior clerics empowered to issue fatwas act independently of the government—but anyone who carries out a death fatwa is granted impunity under Iranian law.

So they’ve outsourced state-sponsored murder. Very nice.

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  • laurentweppe

    I don’t call this fatwa the sign of Iranian barbarism: I call it the sign of Iran’s lack of predator drones

  • Doug Little

    Mr. Najafi says he doesn’t regret the song and refuses to apologize,

    Fuck Yeah, you stand up to those fucking bastards.

  • I hope millions and millions of Iranians continue speak out like this… what are they gonna do, issue fatwas against their entire population?

  • d cwilson

    And another reason to oppose creeping theocracy from the religious right in America: Criticism of the government becomes blasphemy punishable by death.

  • More evidence that religious delusion — whatever the flavor — should not be mixed with government. As if any more were needed.

  • coragyps

    Ouch, laurentweppe! Don’t get so close to the truth!

  • Chiroptera

    [Shahin Najafi] has been in hiding under the protection of German police.

    I bet those Iranian mullahs are thinking that this is a problem that could be solved with a couple of 15 Mt bombs!

  • KG

    So they’ve outsourced state-sponsored murder. Very nice.

    You’d think the US and Iranian governments would get on better, seeing how much they have in common!

  • @ Doug Little

    I understand where you’re coming from…

    you stand up to those fucking bastards

    But he wasn’t “standing up” to anyone. He just had something to say.

    Now his life is fucking ruined by religious bullies. The “we know what allah thinks” arrogant, violent assholes will be a threat to this guy for the rest of his life.

    Never again will he get a good night’s sleep.

  • KG @ 8

    Spot on.

  • Doug Little

    Kamaka @9,

    Well by being unapologetic about it he is standing up against their bullshit. It’s not like he has suddenly crapped his draws and is now begging for them to lift the fatwah, saying he is all repentant and shit. The more that this happens the less power these religious bullies have.

  • Doug Little

    I bet those Iranian mullahs are thinking that this is a problem that could be solved with a couple of 15 Mt bombs!

    Yeah, their crazy but not that crazy, that would probably seal their fate pretty quickly.

  • F

    Iran is also mad about Google Maps not labeling the Persian Gulf in a recent iteration, and wants to sue Google. Stupid non-stop.

  • Little known fact about Islam and fatwas, if you do not think the fatwa that was issued is correct, you have the right to find a mullah who will issue a fatwa in line with what you want the fatwa to say. It might cost you some coin, but that is the way to get out of being a target of fatwas.

  • jufulu

    The comparison of fatwas, predator drones, the US and Iran is completely off the mark. A more suitable comparison would be having Bill Donohue being able to say that PZ’s nailing of the wafer was blasphemy, that PZ should be killed, and then have the government sanction the killing. You could also point out, somewhat accurately, that George Tiller was killed because of an American based fatwa.

  • What jufulu said at 15. The other comparisons are the sort that make some critics of the United States sound like fucking morons. One can be brutally and publicly critical of the US government without fearing that the government would support your murder. The kind of harsh, disputatious discourse that is utterly routine in American political life will land you in prison or dead in Iran. Notice, there are no American government supported fatwas on Ed Brayton for publicly skewering Christianity every day. Just a lot of whining about it.

  • stuartvo

    True, there is no direct comparison between the attitudes of the US and Iran. But which one kills more people every year?