Tariq Ramadan was once hailed by many as a "towering intellect" and a "leading Islamic scholar." In 2000, TIME called Tariq Ramadan "one of the seven most important religious innovators" of the 21st century; in 2004, TIME named Ramadan as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World Today." In Internet polls, Foreign Policy magazine listed Ramadan as one of the "100 top global thinkers" in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012. All very impressive, if you are impressed by that sort of thing.
In November 2017 the kissing had to stop, however, when two French women, Henda Ayari and a disabled woman known only as "Christelle" accused Ramadan of rape "with extreme violence." Later, a third woman known as "Marie" — her real name is Mounia Borrouj — also accused Ramadan of rape. Then came a fourth accusation, by another Muslim Frenchwoman. Other accusations of rape and sexual violence have also been made against him by an American woman now living in Kuwait, and by yet another in Belgium; the legal status of these accusations at this time is not clear. And in Geneva, four women who had been his underage pupils when he taught high school came forward to describe his sexual assaults on them.
These women came forward, obviously with palpable fear, and only dared to do so years after the sexual violence and rapes, for they had been frightened by the threats Ramadan is accused of making, that "if they dared say anything" about what he had done, harm could come to them. He is alleged to have threatened to blackmail one victim with compromising photos he possessed. For another victim, Henda Ayari, he has been accused of making physical threats not just to her, but even more terrifying, threatening to harm her children. The wanton violence he has been accused of inflicting on them gave them every reason to believe that he would carry out such threats. Henda Ayari was the first to break through her own carapace of fear, and then the other women followed. Indeed, Ayari's revelation about Ramadan came in two stages. First, she described in detail Tariq Ramadan's behavior, a man whom she had so admired, once she was alone with him in his hotel room, in her book I Chose To Be Free. But in the book, she called him by the alias "Zoubeyr":
"This man, Zoubeyr, transformed before my very eyes into a vile, vulgar, aggressive being – physically and verbally," she wrote. "For modesty, I will not give the precise details here of the acts he made me submit to. But it is enough that he took great advantage of my weakness and the admiration I felt for him. "
"He allowed himself gestures, attitudes and words that I could never have imagined."
"And when I resisted," she writes, "when I cried to him to stop, he insulted and humiliated me. He slapped me and attacked me. I saw in his crazy eyes that he was no longer master of himself. I was afraid he would kill me. I was completely lost. I started crying uncontrollably. He mocked me."
These statements, and others from Henda Ayari, described his violence: "He choked me so hard that I thought I was going to die." She also described him as threatening that her children might be harmed if she were to tell anyone.
His other victims also described Ramadan as violent and threatening. And there is more:
Mr Ramadan is also accused of raping another woman in a hotel room in 2009. The unnamed 42-year-old, who is reported to have disability in her legs, said on Friday that the professor had subjected her to a terrifying and violent sexual assault.
A third complainant, identified as Yasmina, told Le Parisien in an interview on Saturday that Mr Ramadan sexually harassed her in 2014 and blackmailed her for sexual favours.
The disabled woman was later identified only as "Christelle." Her account is particularly harrowing:
The French edition of Vanity Fair magazine, whose staff met the 45-year-old woman, said her lawsuit against Ramadan described "blows to the face and body, forced sodomy, rape with an object and various humiliations, including being dragged by the hair to the bathtub and urinated on".
A previous report, now scrubbed from the Internet, had this:
There is still a fourth woman, a Belgian known as Sarah, who is apparently thinking of filing a complaint, according to the RTBF radio network. In a testimony about her relationship with Mr Ramadan, she said she was scared for her life. "He can be very, very violent, grabbing you very violently, expecting from you any sexual practice and demanding it aggressively enough, and then it comes down again, but these moments are very difficult to live."
The same extreme physical violence, including grabbing and choking, the same threats, the same aggressive and humiliating sexual demands, including rape and sodomy – his modus operandi appears to have always been the same. Tariq Ramadan is consistent in the evil of his ways.
Tariq Ramadan and his supporters would like the world to believe that he is being persecuted by French authorities for being a Muslim of note. They would like you to forget that all of his French accusers were Muslim women, not "Europeans" with a score to settle against Islam; nor did they "gang up" on Ramadan, but only with difficulty managed to summon up the courage to denounce this powerful monster, who with his connections and ability to tap the limitless wealth of his Muslim admirers to pay for the best lawyers, will certainly do all he can to blacken their names, to brazenly deny everything, and even threaten to sue for libel.
And that is exactly what he did at first: he denied having any sexual relations whatsoever with any of these women. But as the evidence mounted of his sexual encounters, he changed his story and now claimed that yes, he had indeed had sexual relations with the women who accused him, but it had always been "consensual." The details about violence and humiliation did not sound as if those relations were "consensual." But by dint of repetition, Ramadan and his noisy supporters hope to convince the world that these women who now accuse him were in truth all masochists, just asking for it, and he was prepared to accommodate them.