Iran: Exiled Iranian musician responds upright to death threats


NEWS

24 October 2012



Iran:



Exiled Iranian musician responds upright to death threats


This interview with Shahin Najafi and Günter Wallraff took place five months after a fatwa – a death sentence – was issued against the singer and rapper Shahin Najafi. It proclaimed him an apostate for recording the rap-song ‘Ay Naghi’ and sentenced him to death under Islamic law. The assault ensured that the name ‘Shahin Najafi’ is now better known around the world than that of many other Iranian musician in exile. But this wasn’t of any great help to his artistic career.

BY ELKE SAFAEI-RAD

Shahin Najafi lives in hiding, primarily in Germany. For the interview he appeared out of nowhere. With a three-day-old beard, dressed in jeans, jacket and a stylish hat. He actually looked like Marlon Brando as ‘the young Don Corleone’ in The Godfather.

Najafi was accompanied by his mentor Günter Wallraff with whom he played a game of chess before settling down for the interview. Najafi was easy-going and candid, by no means a hunted victim. Considering what he has been through, this seems amazing.

What’s more, Najafi appears not to have lost his energy when talking about his past, his music and his political conviction. In conversation, he enjoys getting lost in philosophical and political eras, before returning to the original question.

He is ready to conquer new frontiers. He set off for a tour, his first concerts after the fatwa had been declared, which is taking him around the US.

Koran singer
Shahin Najafi was born in Bandar-e Anzali, a harbour town at Iran’s Caspian Sea in 1980, on the eve of the birth of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was the youngest of eight brothers and sisters. His father died when Najafi was still a young boy.

Najafi spent his childhood and school days in Bandar-e Anzali where he finished secondary school. He then went to Teheran where he studied social science. Najafi recalls as a child been very fond of the call to prayer of the muezzin. By the age of 12, he was trained to be a Koran singer. Through out his teen years, he improved his skills and talent.

It was only during his military service that Najafi became more radical as he tried to deal with the political system of Iran. Since then he is in conflict with Iran’s regime which Najafi considers inhuman and bigoted.

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