Prominent Swiss Muslim academic accused of rape, sexual harassment

Tariq Ramadan has been accused of several criminal counts of rape and assault by French author Henda Ayari.

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October 22, 2017 02:06
1 minute read.
Prominent academic Tariq Ramadan

Prominent academic Tariq Ramadan. (photo credit: REUTERS/STEPHANE MAHE)

 
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Prof. Tariq Ramadan, a prominent Swiss academic, has denied rape allegations made against him by French author Henda Ayari.

The incident allegedly occurred in 2012, when Ramadan was in Paris for the Union of Islamic Organizations conference. According to France 24, the complaint filed by Ayari included criminal accounts of rape, sexual assault, violence, harassment, and intimidation.

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In 2016, Ayari detailed the accounts of sexual assault in her book, ''I Chose to be Free'' although she labels the offending character as 'Zubair,' not naming Ramadan as her attacker.

Ayari has said that, after the assault, Ramadan continued to try to contact her and meet with her.

Her accusations come shortly after dozens of women went public with allegations of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment by Hollywood giant Harvey Weinstein.

A spokesman for Oxford University, where Ramadan lectures, said that the university is ''aware of these reports and [is] taking them extremely seriously,'' while declining to comment further.

Ramadan is primarily a scholar on Islam, and has held what some consider to be controversial views. Traditional Islamists scorn his encouragement of interpretation of the Quran, as opposed to its reading as literal and absolute. He has opposed bans of Islamic veils, saying that ''compelling a woman to wear a headscarf is against Islam, and compelling her to remove it is against human rights.'' Much to the chagrin of conservatives, he has said that Islam is ''a European religion'' and a ''part of society'' and has encouraged leaders not to ignite debates about the religion to the point where ''discussion is no longer possible.''

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Ramadan - whose grandfather, Hassan al-Banna ,founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 - is no stranger to run-ins with the law. I

n the 1990s, he was banned from entering France for suspected links with Algerian terrorist groups, although the ban was lifted shortly after it was placed on him.
He has also been banned from eight Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Malaysia. In 2004, his teaching visa for the United States was revoked, as the Bush administration accused him of being a fundraiser for Hamas, a US-designated terrorist organization.


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