We recently discussed the arrest of a Northwestern professor and Oxford official in a murder in Chicago. Now a prominent Oxford professor of contemporary Islamic studies has been arrested in France after two women accused him of brutal sexual assaults. Tariq Ramadan, 55, is a Swiss academic who is also the grandson of Hassan al-Banna (founder of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement). He denies the charges stemming from alleged rapes in two separate hotel rooms. One of the rapes is charged as a sexual assault on a vulnerable person because the woman was disabled. Both rapes allegedly occurred during academic conferences.
Ramadan is a regular commentator and guest on French television and used his high-profile image to allegedly lure the disabled woman to his room, saying that too many people had recognized him and were staring at a Hilton bar in Lyon in 2009. The woman was a 45-year-old convert to Islam and said that he suggested that they go to his room instead. She alleges that he immediately attacked and raped her. She said that he took the stairs to the room while she took the elevator due to her crutches. The French edition of Vanity Fair magazine, reported that the women described “blows to the face and body, forced sodomy, rape with an object and various humiliations, including being dragged by the hair to the bathtub and urinated on”. Notably, she gave police a description of small scar on his groin.
The second woman is Henda Ayari, 41, who leads an Islamic feminist group called Les Libératrices. She said that Ramadan raped her in a hotel room in Paris in 2012 — an attack that she described in her 2016 book, I Chose to be Free. However, she hid the name of the alleged attacker and only came forward in the wake of the Weinstein story and the start of the “me too” movement.
The Guardian reports that Ramadan is married with four children and refused to sign an official summary of the accounts. He is on leave as a senior research fellow of St Antony’s College but continues to head the Islamic Institute for Ethical Training in France.