Interior Ministry troops in Azerbaijan are continuing to maintain tight control over all traffic entering and leaving the restive town of Nardaran, the scene of a deadly clash in late November. Officials, along with state-controlled media, are portraying the incident as an act of Islamic-inspired terror. Those with a more sympathetic view of the protesters place some of the blame on authorities for not redressing religious grievances, including a desire for the lifting of a ban on girls wearing hijab in schools.
Both explanations miss the point. Islam is only part of the calculus that drove recent events in Nardaran. The protests were not so much about Islam, as they were about dignity and justice.
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Eldar Mamedov is a political adviser to the Socialists & Democrats Group in the European Parliament. He writes in his personal capacity.