Middle East

Tariq Ramadan denies rape allegations, to file counter-complaint: Report

Swiss Islamic scholar and theologian Tariq Ramadan denied allegations of rape and sexual aggression and will lodge a counter-complaint, according to a newspaper report on Saturday.

A complaint was filed on Friday in Rouen, France, by Henda Ayari, a former Salafist turned feminist activist. She lodged her complaint with the prosecution service charging “criminal acts of rape, sexual aggression, violent acts, harassment and intimidation.”

Ramadan has hired Yassine Bouzrou, a senior lawyer at the Bar in Paris, to make an official complaint of his own, Le Parisien daily newspaper reported on its website. In a statement, Bouzrou said “a complaint alleging a false allegation will be lodged with the procurator in Rouen on Monday.”

Ayari, 40, president of the nonprofit group Liberatrices, wrote on on her Facebook page on Friday of having been a “victim of something very serious some years ago”, and of not revealing the name of her aggressor because of “threats on his part”.

In her 2016 book I Chose to be Free, Ayari wrote of a man she called Zoubeyr, and described a meeting in his hotel room in Paris, where the Muslim intellectual was addressing a conference.

“Out of modesty, I will not give here the precise details of the acts that he forced me to undergo. It’s enough to know that he profited from my weakness”, Ayari wrote in her book, claiming that when she protested and cried for him to stop, he “insulted me, slapped me and hit me.”

“I confirm today the famous Zoubeyr is definitely Tariq Ramadan,” Ayari wrote on Facebook.

Ramadan has written widely on the topic of European Muslims, often encouraging Muslims in the West to take pride in their identity as being European and Muslim, and to adopt the culture of their respective countries without reservation, unless specific aspects clearly clash with the teachings of Islam.

He is the author of books including Islam and the Arab Awakening (2011) and What is a Western/Muslim Individual Today (2015).

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