Germany-based Iranian rapper Shahin Najafi, now sometimes referred to as "the Salman Rushdie of music," (recall The Satanic Verses?) has a bounty on his head for "Naghi," his recent "blasphemous" song that Iranian clerics felt insults the Islamic religion. Though 31-year old Najafi is thousands of miles away, fatwas have been issued identifying him as an apostate--a label punishable by death under the nation's sharia law.
The founder of Shia-Online.ir, an Iranian religion website, is offering a $100,000 (£62,000) reward for whoever kills Najafi. Seriously.
The song chronicles the tumultuous events in Iran the past year. Najafi states to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle:
I thought there would be some ramifications. But I didn't think I would upset the regime that much. Now they are taking advantage of the situation and making it look like I was trying to criticise religion and put down believers. For me it is more of an excuse to talk about completely different things. I also criticise Iranian society in the song. It seems as though people are just concentrating on the word 'imam'.
Residing in Germany, Najafi almost certainly will have a less ultra-traditional stance on his lyrics. But the usage of "imam" ("Islamic spiritual leader") in the song insults these clerics just as easily as women who attend sports games or own pets. Not too many people or circumstances can satisfy the mindsets of these ultra-extremist types, especially in our time of rapid content-sharing and freedom of expression.