Azerbaijani writers and civil society activists are expressing concern about what they describe as dwindling space for public discourse on the role of Islam in Azerbaijan.
The catalyst for concern was the late November murder of Rafig Tagi, an essayist outspokenly critical of Islam and Iran. Tagi, a 61-year-old writer who had earlier served prison time for an article lambasting the Prophet Muhammad, died on November 23 from multiple knife wounds delivered by an unknown assailant in downtown Baku. In an interview with RFE/RL, given shortly before he died,Tagi blamed the attack on Iranian agents or Muslim fundamentalists outraged by two of his recent pieces.
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Khadija Ismayilova is a freelance reporter in Baku and hosts a daily program on current affairs broadcast by the Azeri Service of RFE/RL.