Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Iranian Clerics Issue Fatwa Justifying Killing of Anti-Government Rapper

The Wall Street Journal reports today that two influential clerics in Iranian have issued  fatwas that in effect declare that rapper Shahin Najafi has committed blasphemy against Ali an-Naqi., the 10th saint of Shiite Islam. This means that killing Najafi is justified. The fatwas came because of Najafi's rap song, Naqi, released online on May 7 which calls on the saint to save Iran from its current rulers. According to the Journal report:
After Mr. Najafi released his song ... Iranian media and conservative bloggers said it was in violation of an earlier fatwa calling for the execution of anyone who blasphemes the 10th saint of Shiite Islam.... A subsequent fatwa by another grand ayatollah declared that a singer who had been insulting the saint was guilty of blasphemy—giving the green light for his followers to kill Mr. Najafi, though the fatwa didn't mention the rapper by name. Both rulings have been repeated in Iranian media.
An Iranian website, Shia-Online, has offered $100,000 for Najafi's killing and others have pledged further rewards. Fatwas are issued independently of the government, but those who carry them out are not punished under Iranian law.