Tariq ramadan (2009). Image: courtesy of joshua sherurcij
Prominent islamic scholar accused of rape by two women. For muslim feminists, this could be the prelude to a broader confrontation
Two women filed charges against tariq ramadan with prosecutors in rouen and paris last week. The women accuse him of rape.
The accusations are given a lot of space in the french media, first of all in le monde and le parisien, both publications published several articles, statements, interviews and commentaries on this ie. Tariq ramadan is a well-known public figure. A swiss of egyptian origin, he is the grandson of hassan al-banna, co-founder of the egyptian muslim brotherhood, professor of islamic studies at oxford university and the initiator of many debates on the role of islam.
His position, his public activities, political networks, and the points of contention that triggered his interventions were described in detail by bernard schmid, based on the controversy surrounding ramadan’s statements on french jewish intellectuals and their attitude toward israel. The article appeared in 2003. Even then, in connection with criticism of ramadan, there were accusations of a "smear campaign" speech against the islamic preacher.
In the current charges, which ramadan denies, he claims a smear and defamation campaign against him as the true background of the charges. His lawyer has now filed charges against the first of the two women for denunciation. Fans and supporters take this view and attack both women in their comments.
This shows that the affair touches a lot of sensitive points: in the criticism or. Ramadan is not only criticized as a person, but also the way in which a representative of the islamic community is treated – ramadan is a sought-after speaker who is often invited to appear by muslim organizations – as well as the way in which these organizations deal with the accusations against a figure of light "figure of light" and in view of the public role ramadan plays, also the image of women of a renowned representative of the religion.
The statements of the two women have it in themselves. Starting with henda ayari, a former salafist turned secular feminist activist, according to le monde, accuses ramadan of "rape, sexual aggression, willful use of force, harassment and incarceration, the indictment" according to the indictment, from which the newspaper quoted. The incidents allegedly took place in 2012.
A few days later, a second woman, whose real name is not mentioned, filed a complaint against ramadan. The underlying incident, which took place in october 2009, is described by the woman as brutal sexual violence with demeaning practices, which le monde and especially le parisien report in detail, raising questions about how this can be reconciled with the principle of presumption of innocence.
Lastly, le parisien reported on a third woman who is considering filing a complaint against tariq ramadan as well "for sexual harassment and threats". The allegations date from a period between 2013 and 2015.
In an interview with le parisien, henda ayari, who died on 13. November, because of the attacks in paris, threw away her veil, turned her back on salafism and later founded the feminist association liberatrices for the liberation of arab women, that the french twitter call #balancetonporc in the wake of the weinstein affair gave her the courage to make the name of her rapist public.
She had previously described the acts of violence in a novel in 2016, but without revealing the prominent name. She charges against ramadan that he is using islam to "subjugate women". If a woman does not wear a veil and she was raped, he believes it is her fault, says henda ayari, who was threatened by ramadan after being raped.
The old organizations are silent, the young ones are on the move
She affirms that she is in favor of a moderate islam that respects the equality of women and men and, in an interview with le monde, calls for women to break the silence against their fears and to make known those who oppose their "spiritual, moral and religious authority in order to" authority to use extraordinary violence against women.
Other feminist muslim groups, such as lallab, are on the verge of bringing the ie of sexual violence against women back into the debate, according to le monde.
Meanwhile, muslim organizations are struggling to deal publicly with the accusations against tariq ramadan. Only the publication oumma addresses the ie and the discussions.