Late last week, another claim of sexual assault by Geneva-born Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan surfaced, according to the French newspaper Le Monde. The woman, who came forward anonymously, claims she was assaulted in a hotel room in Lyon in 2009.
This accusation follows another from Henda Ayari, who named Ramadan as her aggressor in a Facebook post. In her book, entitled “I chose to be free” she describes being assaulted, but gives her alleged rapist a pseudonym.
Speaking to BFMTV, Ayari said that the assault, described by her as a serious sexual assault, a rape, took place in a hotel in 2012. In the same interview Ayari describes how Ramadan criticised her for posting photos of her unveiled face with makeup on Facebook, accusing her of arousing desire in men. Later on in the BFMTV interview she says “He literally pounced on me like a wild animal”.
Ramadan denounced the allegations as “a campaign of slander clearly orchestrated by my long-time adversaries”, according to the BBC.
A Facebook post relays a statement from his lawyers: “In recent days we have witnessed an orchestrated media campaign of interviews and accusatory articles targeting Mr. Tariq Ramadan. Media time is not that of the legal system. Under no circumstances can the former replace the latter. We have expressly requested that Mr. Ramadan refrain from making any statements.”
Ramadan is a Swiss academic, philosopher and writer. Born in Geneva to an Egyptian Muslim family, he graduated with an M.A. in French literature and a Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic studies from the University of Geneva, according to Wikipedia.
Some detect liberalising and rationalising tendencies in his work. Others, such as Caroline Fourest, a French writer, find him inconsistent. She claims that he says one thing to his Muslim followers and something else his Western audience.
Ramadan is currently a professor at Oxford University in the UK. He is also a member of the UK Foreign Office Advisory Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief. In addition, he was listed in Time magazine in 2004 as one of the 100 most influential thinkers in the world.
According to the newspaper Le Temps, media in the UK have remained relatively quiet on the accusations compared to media in France, where they have been presented as a scandal.