I am no fan of Tariq Ramadan. He represents so much of what I abhor: abusing Western freedom to perpetrate the dominance of Islamist clerics over masses of Western Muslims.
Nonetheless I am shocked by today’s bombshell revelation by French former-salafi Henda Ayari that Tariq Ramadan raped her and threatened her into silence. Ayari announced on her twitter account that she has filed a formal complaint today with the French justice system in Rouen, France, which now has to investigate it. Allegedly, the events took place at Holiday Inn hotel in 2012 during a major Islamist conference in France.
If this is true, Ramadan is our own Harvey Weinstein: A leader in his field who holds such power and public trust but uses it to satisfy his basest instincts, particularly humiliating and violating young women.
Here is a rough translation of what Ayari posted on Facebook today:
I will really need the support of my friends because revealing the name of my aggressor, who is none other than Tariq Ramadan, I know the risks I am taking I kept quiet during many years for fear of retaliation because when I threatened to complain about the rape, he did not hesitate to threaten me, telling me that my children would pay the price. I was frightened and I kept quiet all this time.
However, I spoke about it in my book in an entire chapter where I changed his name so not to be pursued for defamation. But today I can no longer keep this very heavy secret. It’s time for me to tell the truth. It’s very hard but I already feel unburdened. I felt the need to also speak for all the other victims.
I really hope that all the other victims like me will dare to speak and denounce this perverted guru who uses religion to manipulate women!
I know that he will come crashing on my with his team of lawyers and numerous supporters. That’s what I will really need help from you for because I am getting ready to go through this great tempest. But I am no longer willing to allow anyone to keep quiet and be walked over. I am doing this in the name of all women victims.
I have not read Ayari’s book (only available in French), which apparently describes the details of the rape. And the criminal complaint filed with the French authorities doesn’t appear to be online yet. So I can’t comment on the substance of her claims.
But this is sending shockwaves all over the world, especially among Western Muslims, all the more so on the heels of the Nouman Ali Khan scandal where the mega-preacher was caught macking on impressionable young women and then threatening to silence them.
Regardless of the exact truth in this apparent rape case, there is clearly a pattern emerging of Islamist men are abusing their power for financial gain, community dominance, sex – and even rape. These Islamist icons have been put on a pedestal and present themselves as men of God – when in reality they are using God to satisfy base urges.
Tariq Ramadan is one of the most sophisticated thinkers today – agree or disagree with his ideology, he is a brilliant man. Raised in Switzerland, taught in Oxford, prolific writer, equally fluent in discussing the thinkers of the enlightenment and the Ulema. What a terrible example – if this is the top intellectual “we have” and he behaves like this.
Tariq Ramadan’s main claim to fame is as the defender of Islam and Muslims in the West. Yet Muslims are not any more accepted in the West today than 20 years ago. In fact, we are perhaps even more marginalized and seen as alien. Now if our great revered defender is a rapist — along with some his buddies, – what does this say about us?
Ramadan and his buddies have crushed anyone who challenges their dominance of our community. And they have done this by exploiting ordinary Muslims who are in search of identity and meaning. Henda Ayari is just one example – a French-Tunisian young women who turns to salafism to find meaning only to find herself becoming prey. Ramadan apparently converted her misery into his pleasure.
All of these young Muslims (including some of my friends) who have looked up to Ramadan as an example now discover that he has defrauded them and dragged all of us into the mud. We all deserve better, even from an Islamist.