Prominent Islamic scholar and Former Oxford Professor Tariq Ramadan faces a new rape allegation following two previous reports from 2017.
The 2017 allegations came from two separate women describing alleged rapes in 2009 and 2012, prompting Ramadan to take a leave of absence from Oxford University which has been in effect since November 2017.
The most recent accusation comes from a French woman who alleges Ramadan and his male assistant repeatedly raped her in his hotel room at the Sofitel hotel in Lyon, France in 2014.
The woman, who remains anonymous, is a journalist who says she ended up in Ramadan’s hotel room after being tempted by an offer for an exclusive interview.
She told a court: “It went very quickly, it was of an incredible violence”.
When she threatened to report the incident to police, Ramadan allegedly replied: “You don’t know how powerful I am.”
On Twitter, Ramadan responded to the allegations:
I am, of course, aware of the investigation’s new elements and the new complaint, which the media spoke of abundantly on Sunday, August 25th. Nothing surprising. I will speak in the coming days to present the facts with determination, clarity and serenity. In sha Allah
— Tariq Ramadan (@TariqRamadan) August 25, 2019
I know, dear, how delighted you are. I am a noted intellectual resistant to oppression everywhere… even in Palestine facing the Israeli silent colonisation and state terror. As for the accusations, be patient, please, and wait. Ask your friends to do the same. Call it wisdom. https://t.co/eVvpUlEYfX
— Tariq Ramadan (@TariqRamadan) August 27, 2019
Ramadan, grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan Al-Banna, has not been immune to controversy during his career.
The first woman to allege a sexual assault was feminist and secular activist Henda Ayari, claiming that Ramadan raped her in a Paris hotel room in 2012. She was thought to be motivated to speak out by the French equivalent of the #MeToo movement, #BalanceTonPorc or “out your pig”. Ayari’s decision to publicize her account compelled other women with similar experiences to come forward.
Following this, a second woman, a disabled French Islamic convert, accused Ramadan of luring her to his hotel room and raping her at a 2009 conference. A third woman said she received pornographic messages from Ramadan who later attempted to “blackmail” her.
Four Swiss women also made allegations that Ramadan molested them when they were minors. The alleged victims were as young as 14 and 15.
Prior to the latest accusation, the most recent incident involved a Swiss women accusing Ramadan of raping her in a Geneva hotel room.
Ramadan was recently released from a French prison on bail, but it’s not just sexual assault allegations that have plagued his career.
In February 2004, he accepted a tenured professorship at the University of Notre Dame in St. Joseph County, Indiana. Ramadan, a Swedish national, had his H1-B visa revoked by the State Department under the accusation he was “providing material support to a terrorist organization” by donating to Hamas-linked organizations, subsequently forcing him to resign from the university as he was unable to attain his visa.
At Erasmus University Rotterdam, he was a visiting professor on “Identity and Citizenship” in 2009 until he was dismissed from his position due to his “irreconcilable” involvement with Iranian-sanctioned Television show, Islam & Life.
In 2014 Ramadan claimed the attack by Islamist Mehdi Nemmouche against four visitors at the Jewish Museum of Belgium was a “deliberate” attack against Israeli secret agents.
Time magazine declared him “one of the seven religious innovators of the 21st century” and later as one of the 100 most influential people in the world (2004).
Neither his academic colleagues nor fellow Islamic leaders or organizations have spoken out against any of these allegations.
Natalie Winters is a freelance reporter