Tariq Ramadan, the "towering intellect" and "leading Islamic scholar," has just had another shoe drop. But before getting to the latest installment of our seriocomic tale, let's begin at the beginning.
To refresh memories, Ramadan is currently being held in a French prison, and has been there since February 2, while awaiting trial on charges of the rape of two women in France — Henda Ayari and the woman known as "Christelle.'" A third woman known as "Marie" — her real name is Mounia Borrouj — also accused Ramadan of rape. Other accusations of rape and sexual violence have also been made against him by an American woman now living in Kuwait, and by another in Belgium; the legal status of these accusations is not clear. In addition, four Swiss women have accused Ramadan of sexual assault when they were his underage pupils at a high school in Geneva.
On June 5, the French judges handling Ramadan's case dismissed the charges made by "Marie." This has led to much mafficking by Ramadan's supporters. They think their hero, unjustly persecuted by the French justice system because he is a Muslim, is at last seeing justice done, and they look forward to his being completely exonerated. Apparently these judges, described by Ramadan's loyalists for so long as "unfair" and "biased," have suddenly became "fair" and "unbiased."
What made the judges dismiss the accusations by "Marie"?
First, "Marie" was no innocent, but an ex-escort girl, that is, a call girl, who had already been involved in a famous sex scandal in France involving special "evenings" — at such sites as the Hotel Carlton in Lille (l' affaire du Carlton de Lille) — where such notables as Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former director of the IMF, enjoyed the favors of high-end prostitutes. There is no hint of any such background in the lives of any of Ramadan's other accusers.
Second, "Marie" claimed to have been raped by Ramadan in France, London, and Brussels nine times over sixteen months between 2013 and 2014. Both Henda Ayari and "Christelle" claimed to have been raped only once. The judges obviously felt that if "Marie" kept coming back to Ramadan eight times after her initial "rape," that made more plausible Ramadan's contention that their relationship was not forced by him, but mutually agreed on. He who had claimed a few months ago never to have engaged in adultery recently changed his story, and before the judges he admitted that his encounters with "Marie" were sexual, and involved mild (!) S and M. These "sexual games," as Ramadan and his lawyers called this sordidness, were — they claimed — consensual. Why would "Marie" keep agreeing to meet with Ramadan if she had been previously raped by him, against her will, again and again?
Third, Ramadan's lawyers introduced into evidence 300 videos and a thousand photos sent by "Marie," with sexual content, that support Ramadan's contention that their meetings, however violent, were consensual. On one of the videos, "Marie" can be heard pleading with Ramadan, saying "My love, I love you very much" ("Mon amour, je t'aime fort"). That message was sent by "Marie" on May 17, 2013; she claimed that she had been raped by Ramadan the night before. Isn't it possible that she had been smitten with Ramadan – flattered that this "towering intellect" took what seemed to be a real interest in her, and so she willingly submitted to his sexual violence? Isn't it plausible that once "Marie" learned of all the others Ramadan was accused of sexually violating, in France, Belgium, the U.S. and Switzerland, she became infuriated at this evidence of Ramadan's "betrayal" of her, and decided to press her own charges of rape for what may well have been "consensual" encounters?
Given her own past as a call girl, the fact that she kept coming back to Ramadan for more of those "rapes," the fact that Ramadan admitted to a long "consensual" affair with her (while continuing to deny any sexual contact with his other accusers), and given, too, the 300 videos and the thousand photographs, some with sexual content, which she continued to send Ramadan to remind him of all those times they had had together, while at the same time declaring her love — this unhinged "Fatal Attraction" behavior was what finally Ramadan found too much trouble to deal with, and thus he cut off all contact with her.
The decision of the judges not to hear "Marie's" case was the first victory for Ramadan and his lawyers. But it turned out to be premature for his loyalists to celebrate. The story of "Marie" had nothing in common with the accusations made by the eminently respectable Henda Ayari and "Christelle," who have each testified to having been raped, but only once, with extreme violence, by Ramadan. Those of his many fans (two million Facebook friends, 200,000 followers on Twitter) who exulted in Ramadan's "victory" over a former call girl's doubtful accusation of having endured "nine rapes" by the "towering intellect" over a two-year period should curb their enthusiasm. There are many cases concerning Ramadan still to come — and not just in France — and none of them involve accusations by ex-call girls, nor claims of repeated rapes. And for all of the other accusers, Ramadan continues to insist — as he did not with "Marie" — on his complete innocence.
On September 16, another shoe dropped. A Swiss woman (and a Muslim) had accused Ramadan this past April of rape and assault. After five months of investigation, a Geneva prosecutor considered the complaint to be sufficiently serious to open another, criminal, investigation against Ramadan in early September, the Tribune de Genève newspaper revealed. The Geneva Attorney General's Office has now upheld the charges of rape and sexual coercion.
This must fill Ramadan's supporters with despair. After the debacle with "Marie," who was judged to not be sufficiently credible an accuser, they were triumphantly predicting that the other charges would be exposed as part of an islamophobic frame-up, and their hero would soon be freed. But not only have the previous charges by Henda Ayari and "Christelle" in France continued to stand up against attack by Ramadan's lawyers, but now the Swiss woman's claims have also been upheld by the Attorney General of Geneva.
Everyone knows that there are still other accusers out there, including an American citizen living in Kuwait who has yet to come forward. Ramadan's French accusers, and their families, have been physically threatened, after all; not everyone is willing to risk what his many followers might do. But some may still come forward if they believe it is safe to do so.
Finally, perhaps the most damning of all the charges are the accusations by four Swiss women that when they were his underage students in high school, Ramadan was guilty of "serious sexual assault." We are still waiting for that investigation to be completed — the wheels of justice grind exceeding slow — and so, of course, is that Great Man and Towering Intellect, Tariq Ramadan. There is much more to come.