Middle East studies in the News
Tariq Ramadan, Islamic Studies Professor at Oxford University, Accused of Rape
by Anthony Pearce
An Oxford University professor has threatened to sue a feminist campaigner for defamation after she accused him of rape, as two more women came forward.
Tariq Ramadan, who teaches contemporary Islamic studies, denies that he raped Henda Ayari, 40, who heads the women's organisation Les Libératrices in France.
Last week, Ayari filed a complaint with prosecutors in Rouen alleging rape, sexual violence, harassment and intimidation by Ramadan.
On Thursday, a second woman filed a complaint in Paris against the professor, accusing him of rape and assault in a hotel room in Lyon in 2009.
A third woman, named by Le Parisien as Yasmina, accused of Ramadan of "sexual harassment and threats".
Ayari previously described the rape in a chapter of her book, I Chose to be Free, which was published last year in France.
In it, she describes a sex attack by an academic, who she gives a fake name, in a Paris hotel room in 2012. She said she was "insulted" and "slapped" in a violent attack.
On Facebook on Friday, she named Ramadan as her attacker, noting that she had "been silent for several years because of fear".
Jonas Haddad, her lawyer, said she had not previously reported the alleged attack in 2012 out of fear.
"After revelations over the past few days of rape and sexual assault claims in the media, Henda has decided to say what happened to her and take legal action," Haddad told Agence France-Presse.
Ramadan's lawyer, Yassine Bouzrou, told Le Parisien he denied the allegations and would file a complaint of defamation with Rouen prosecutors.
Bouzrou told Le Parisien: "The complainant says she did not name my client in her book in order not to be sued for defamation. When you're telling the truth, it's surprising to fear being accused of defamation."
Professor Ramadan continues to be employed by the University of Oxford.
A spokesperson said: "We are aware of these reports and are taking them extremely seriously. We are not in a position to comment further at this time."Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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