French authorities are investigating Oxford professor of Islamic studies, Tariq Ramadan, over allegations from three women who accused Ramadan of sexual assault.
Henda Ayari, an unnamed woman, and a woman identified as Yasmin allege that Ramadan, a Swiss national, forced himself upon each of them in separate cases of sexual assault after they contact Ramadan for spiritual counsel, according to Haaretz.
Ramadan vehemently denied the allegations in a recent Facebook post, and claimed that he has "been the target of a campaign of slander clearly orchestrated by my longtime adversaries." Ramadan's supporters backed his denial, saying that the allegations are part of an "international Zionist plot" to discredit Ramadan.
Ramadan is the grandson of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna.
"He literally pounced on me like a wild animal," Ayari said, according to BBC. "He kissed me really hard... then for a few seconds he choked me, I really thought I was going to die," Ayari added, describing the incident.
Ayari, who has converted from Islam to secular feminism, claimed that Ramadan raped her in a Paris hotel in 2012, according to BBC. The unnamed woman, who converted to Islam prior to meeting with Ramadan and has a physical disability in her legs, claimed that Ramadan subjected her to "sexual violence of great brutality" in 2009 in a hotel in Lyons. Yasmina, the latest of the women to bring forth an accusation, alleged that Ramadan blackmailed her with compromising photos and forced her to perform sexual favors for him.
An attorney representing Ramadan told Haaretz he is preparing to file defamation suits against each of the three complainants. Ayari said she expected as much and counted on having to endure a long drawn out legal battle, according to First Post. The exposure of the Harvey Weinstein scandal emboldened Ayari to speak out against Ramadan, as she kept silent for years for fear of retribution.
"Many people are angry because I denounced someone whom people respect a lot," Ayari told the New York Times. "I, for example, never would have thought he would do that to me, never, never. I had a great admiration for him for years. For me, he was something like a saint."