News: Iranian rapper under threat of death

“I will never apologise for my art,” says Iranian rapper Shahin Najafi, who has been condemned with two fatwas (religious edicts), calling for his murder. He now has a $100000 bounty on his head for releasing a song which Iranian clerics have dubbed blasphemous.

The song, Ay Naghi!, released online on May 6th, reflects over the events of the past year with a critical eye on Iranian society, and calls on revered 9th century Shi’ite Imam Naghi to save the country from its government. A complete translation of the song can be found here.

So far the track’s beatmaker, Majid Kazemi, has escaped the threat of fatwa from cleric Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, who has previously issued rulings against women attending football matches and keeping pets.

Najafi, who has lived in Germany since he fled his native Iran in 2005, has previously been banned from performing in Iran, has participated in numerous political musical events, and was vocal during the 2009 Iranian presidential elections.¬†Currently under police protection in Germany, Najafi argues that invoking a saint’s name should be a a freedom of expression, not an insult. Quickly becoming known as ‘the Salman Rushdie of music’, he will not apologise for speaking out against Iran’s government and states, “Each person has to pay a price for what they want.”

The song can be downloaded here