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.