Middle East studies in the News
Islamic Scholar on 'Leave of Absence' from Oxford After Rape Claim Called 'Ganging Up Against a Muslim' [on Tariq Ramadan]
by Virginia Hale
The Muslim Oxford University academic at the centre of a rape allegation scandal is taking a leave of absence from the University.
The notice of a "mutual agreement" between the University and Professor Tariq Ramadan comes just days after the director of his school stood up for his colleague, remarking the mounting accusations of rape against the Islamic Scholar looked like "Europeans" wanting to "gang up against a Muslim intellectual".
Oxford University said:
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Oxford students have reacted in anger after the director of the university's Middle East Centre said mounting accusations of rape against Islamic Scholar Tariq Ramadan looks like "Europeans" wanting to "gang up against a Muslim intellectual".
Professor Eugene Rogan made the comments at a meeting last week which was called to address concerns over the faculty's decision to allow the Islamic professor to go on both tutoring and supervising students in Oxford while he is being investigated by French police.
Ramadan, whose grandfather founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, was accused of rape last month by two women in France and is now facing new allegations from Switzerland including sexual misconduct against minors.
A controversial figure in France, where he is seen as a 'soft' Islamist, the professor strongly denies the claims, which he has described as a "campaign of lies", and said he is suing alleged victims for libel.
At the faculty meeting, Professor Rogan told students: "It's not just about sexual violence. For some students, it's just another way for Europeans to gang up against a prominent Muslim intellectual."
"We must protect Muslim students who believe and trust in him, and protect that trust," he added.
Students were also urged not to speak to the media about the situation regarding Ramadan at Oxford, where the professor has taught a seminar, and reportedly been spotted "laughing" with faculty members since the first allegation surfaced two weeks ago.
"We can't tell you what you should say," Professor Rogan said at the meeting. "But I encourage everyone to use their moral judgement about how they voice their concerns – not to victimise the women who've made the allegations or the men who've been accused of things they've not yet had the chance to defend themselves against."
Several students expressed concern over the faculty's decision to let Ramadan continue teaching, according to the Cherwell, reporting claims that immediately following the first allegation, the Islamic professor was seen "walking and laughing in the hall as if nothing had happened".
A postgraduate student, who didn't want to be named, told The Telegraph that he feels Professor Rogan's comments "encourage a culture of diminished responsibility among ethnic minority groups".
"My perspective is that there are a number of very frustrated students, because it feels like the university has placed its own interests above their welfare.
"It would be bad in most circumstances, but the fact that there's a threat to student welfare is very concerning," the student said.
Another student at the Oxford Middle East Centre added: "There should have been a more open and frank discussion with female students about how to make them feel safer. Women won't come forward here and say how they feel."
An online petition calling for Oxford University to suspend Ramadan from his teaching post has so far reached almost 1,500 signatures.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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