Rabat – Prominent Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan is facing charges and is being formally investigated since being taken into police custody by police in Paris as “part of a preliminary inquiry” into rape and assault allegations.
The 55-year-old theologian has firmly denied wrongdoing and accusations that he sexually assaulted two women in 2009 and 2012, claiming that these allegations are part of a “campaign of lies launched by [his] adversaries.”
According to The Times, the preliminary inquiry turned into an extensive investigation after one of his alleged victims, a disabled woman named Christelle, provided information about an intimate part of his anatomy. Ramadan, however, denied ever having made contact with her.
The spokesman said that the prosecutor’s office has requested that he remains under arrest because of fears that he might leave the country.
Despite the full investigation, Ramadan’s fate is still uncertain, as the French magistrates’ goal in this preliminary investigation is to decide whether the accused will face trial or not.
If charges are confirmed, the renowned scholar will likely face up to 15 years in prison on the charge of rape, and up to 20 years on the separate charge of rape of a vulnerable person.
Ramadan, who is the grandson of the Muslim Brotherhood’s founder, was accused of rape by author and former Salafi Henda Ayari, who accused him of raping her in 2012 on the sidelines of a congress of the Union of Islamic Organizations of France.
She was the first woman to attempt to bring Mr. Ramadan to justice, saying she was adamant to “carry this fight till the end, whatever the cost.” She was later joined by Christelle, who stepped forward and claimed she was also raped by the Swiss scholar in a French hotel in 2009.
According to Ayari’s lawyer, Eric Morain, many other women were considering suing Ramadan for sexual harassment or assault.
In late October, the French news daily Le Parisien reported that a third women, under the alias of Yasmina, came forward to accuse the Islamist scholar of “sexual harassment and threats.”
Soon after the rape accusations surfaced, Oxford University, where he has been teaching since 2009, issued a statement that “by mutual agreement and with immediate effect,” Ramadan would take a leave of absence from his position as Professor of Contemporary Islamic studies.
The news did not take long to stir reactions on social media.
[If Tariq Ramadan was taken into custody, referred to the Public Prosecutor’s Office for his indictment and his detention was not required, it is not because he is the target of two rape just because he is the victim of a conspiracy fomented by “li Siounistes” (Zionists)]
[Why Tariq Ramadan of Swiss nationality is not expelled with a ban on staying in France!
Why keeping the s …. at home? #policy #TariqRamadan #viol #DomesticViolence]
After the news of Ramadan’s arrest broke out, Queen Mary University in London faced an online backlash for hosting an event, scheduled for March 3, during which the muslim scholar is expected to take part in as a speaker.
“@QMUL why are you allowing Tariq Ramadan to speak at your university when there are allegations of sexual violence against him, currently going through the criminal justice system in France?” one Twitter user said.
Aliya Zaidi, a young feminist, argued that it was “only appropriate to cancel the lecture given the nature of the allegations and to keep students safe”.
“Agree with due process but at the same time it’s not appropriate to allow him to speak given that he (allegedly) uses lectures to pick up (multiple) women,” she added.
After many calls for cancellation and boycott of the event, Queen Mary quickly reacted to tweets, claiming that the event was organized by a UK-based Islamic group at the Islamic Institute for Development and Research.
“Please note that this event has not been organised by Queen Mary and is not taking place on our campus,” the university wrote on Twitter. “The event seems to be organised by @IIDR_Live.”