By Carter Maness
Shahin Najafi, an Iranian-born rapper that currently resides in Germany, is no stranger to controversy, but a recent track entitled "Naghi" has taken it to a new level. The song, which mocks the 10th Shiite imam, Ali al-Hadi al-Naqi, has resulted in a $100,000 bounty on his life from an Islamist website.
Using rough language, Najafi asks for the imam to return instead of the Shiite messiah so that he can solve problems like "shallow slogans" and "Chinese-made prayer rugs." According to the New York Times (via TheBoomBox), the bounty is the result of a fatwa (ruling) issued by Iranian Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi-Golpayegani labeling people who insult the 10th Shiite imam as apostates – an opinion theoretically punishable by death in Iran.
The song has its supporters, too. Both sides have been arguing for days on social networking sites like Facebook.
"I thought there would be some ramification," Najafi told Deutsche Welle, a German broadcaster, according to Reuters. "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 bounty was offered by an anonymous person from an Arab state on the Persian Gulf. "We do not want to reveal his identity, in order to protect him," said Fouad Ebadi, the webmaster of Shia-Online.ir, which published the offer.