Middle East studies in the News
Tariq Ramadan Accused of Sexual Assault
by Jacques Lefebvre
A Muslim feminist activist has formally accused Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan of sexual assault.
He "choked me so hard that I thought I was going to die," said Henda Ayari during an interview with Le Parisien.
Ramadan is one of the leading Islamic scholars at St. Antony's College, part of Oxford University in the United Kingdom. He is also the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization mainly active in Egypt.
Ayari originally made her complaint on October 20, about an incident that allegedly took place in Paris during 2014. She had previously described this in her book I Chose to be Free, published in 2016, but used a pseudonym, "Zoubeyr," for her attacker.
She is not the only woman to accuse Ramadan of sexual misconduct, either. France is investigating claims against him by two other women whose names have not been made public. One says that he raped her in 2009 in a hotel, while another says that he stalked and blackmailed her in 2014.
Ramadan has denied all these accusations on his Facebook page, calling them part of a "campaign of slander clearly orchestrated by my longtime adversaries." He also says that he plans to sue for slander in the coming days.
In Ayari's account, he attacked her while both were in Paris for a congress of the Union of Islamic Organisations of France (UOIF), and then continued to try and contact her afterwards. Among her accusations are that he "manipulated" her in some way, then kissed her and "literally jumped" on top of her.
She says that he made various statements such as that she needed to learn how to take care of a man and that he intended to teach her. He also allegedly threatened her children.
Calls for Ramadan's firing have been coming out across social media. Among his critics are French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who says that he has long "denounced the duplicity of Tariq Ramadan... today the truth is clear thanks to courageous women." Another, Islamic expert Imam Tawhidi, called on Oxford "to suspend Tariq Ramadan from teaching immediately, and to fire him once proven guilty of raping @Henda_Ayari."
Oxford says that they are taking the accusations against their employee seriously but do not have further comment at this time.
Ayari cited the popular #MeToo and #BalanceTonPorc campaigns for making her speak out.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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