Islam scholar Tariq Ramadan arrested

Sunday, 4 February, 2018 - 14:24

Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan has been charged with rape, a judicial source said, following claims by two women that he assaulted them in French hotel rooms in 2009 and 2012. Ramadan, who was arrested by French police on Wednesday, was charged on Friday with connected charges of rape and rape of a vulnerable person, the source said.

The accused is a Swiss citizen whose grandfather founded Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement. After two days of questioning by investigators, the 55-year-old Oxford professor was brought before three magistrates who have been assigned to the case, suggesting that he is facing an extensive investigation, judicial sources said.

The claims against the prominent scholar, which emerged in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal in the United States, have divided many Muslims, with his legions of fans, as well as his lawyers, saying he is the victim of a smear campaign. But critics have long suggested that despite Ramadan’s moderate tone as a familiar face on television programmes, he preaches a more radical line when addressing Muslims in Arabic.

Ramadan is the most high-profile figure to be held in France over the sexual assault and harassment claims that have rippled around the world as a result of the “Me Too” campaign. The married father of four has denied the accusations from the two women.

The first was made by Ayari, a feminist activist who previously practised a conservative strain of Islam. She had described being raped in a book published in 2016, without naming her attacker. But in October, she said she had decided to name Ramadan publicly as the alleged perpetrator as a result of the “Me Too” campaign, using the French hashtag “Balance Ton Porc” (Expose your pig).