The 31 years old Shahin Najafi, an Iranian rap musician currently living in Germany, has been sentenced to death by a religious decree of Grand Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi-Golpaygani. His is inculpated for insulting the tenth Shiite Imam Naqi. Observers evaluate this decree as lower in rank compared to the Fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 against the British author Salman Rushdie. The latter had been sentenced to death for blasphemy and accused of offending the prophet Muhammad.
The fatwa was prompted by a request for advice by a number of students and religious representatives of the Shiite communities in Tehran and in the holy Shiite City of Qom. In the official decree, Golpayegani regrets the recent “permanent actions” against the Islamic revolution carried on in the media and on the Internet. The “innocent Imam Naqi” has been insulted and offended through cartoons, jokes and mendacious stories, the document says. It is also added that the only possible punishment for such people could be the one destined to heretics.
In the meanwhile, a second Fatwa has been issued against the musician, this time by Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi. The Grand Ayatollah was asked by Iranian media representatives to provide advice on how the Shiite community should deal with this issue: the innocence of the Imam has been generally perceived as “polluted” in a pervasive figurative and textual way. Ayatollah Shirazi has condemned the act as a shameless public blasphemy against the “innocent Imam”. Such an act committed by a Muslim must be avenged as apostasy, he declared.
Najafi has requested the police’s protection, as there is the possibility that some Muslims belonging to the Shiite community decide to apply the decree. His songs, considered provocative, address in a satirical fashion corruption, violence and sexual oppression in the Islamic Republic.