German police are providing protection for Iranian rap singer Shahin Najafi after his song “Naghi” drew fire from extremists in the Islamic Republic and attracted death threats.
The Rheinische Post website quoted Cologne police today saying they have investigated death threats against the 32-year-old Iranian rapper and decided to take security measures for his protection.
Najafi’s song is named for Naghi, the tenth Imam of the Shiites, and it criticizes the current social and political conditions of Iran. Prior to the song’s release, a group of Iranians began a Facebook campaign they called “a campaign in memory of Imam Naghi of the Shiites”, in which they exchanged humorous critiques of social issues.
Alerted to this campaign, a follower of Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani, a senior Shiite leader in Iran, was asked: “For some time on the internet, on websites and in blogs, a group of people, mostly anti-Revolutionaries outside the country, have been hired to simply insult (through sketches, jokes, cartoons, obscenities, lies…) the Imam of Shiites; what would be a ruling for them?”
The Shiite leader responded that if they have indeed insulted his holiness, they are “apostates.”
Najafi has reportedly cancelled his concerts and gone underground. According to his manager, he is now receiving police protection.
Najafi denies that his song insults the prophet, saying: “I am just as critical of Islam as I am of Judaism and Christianity.”
The Fars News Agency has published a report under the title “Campaign to Execute Shahin Najafi” that calls on Shiites around the world to give Najafi “what he deserves, if they in any way have access to him.”
The Asr Emrooz website has described Najafi as a “seditious” singer with a history of “using obscene and inappropriate language” and having “insulted Shiite imams and religious sanctities in his latest album.”
Shahin Najafi was an underground musician in Iran before moving to Germany in 2005.