Oxford Islamic scholar takes leave over rape allegations

Published: November 08, 2017 11:45:53 | Updated: November 10, 2017 15:31:46

Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss citizen of Egyptian origin, is the president of the thinktank European Muslim Network in Brussels and teaches at Britain's Oxford University. (Reuters photo)

Britain’s Oxford University said one of its professors, the prominent Swiss Muslim intellectual Tariq Ramadan, had taken a leave of absence after two women filed complaints against him in France alleging rape.

“The University has consistently acknowledged the gravity of the allegations against Professor Ramadan, while emphasising the importance of fairness and the principles of justice and due process,” Oxford University said in a statement.

“An agreed leave of absence implies no presumption or acceptance of guilt and allows Professor Ramadan to address the extremely serious allegations made against him, all of which he categorically denies,” it added.

The Geneva-born academic, the grandson of Hasan al-Banna, an Islamist thinker and activist who founded the Muslim Brotherhood, has denied allegations made by the two women, including author Henda Ayari, who said he raped her at a Muslim convention in 2012, reports Reuters.

The Paris prosecutor last month opened a preliminary probe over the accusations following Ayari’s complaint. Ramadan filed a complaint for slander against her.

On Tuesday Ramadan published on his Facebook page, in French, the same statement as Oxford University, adding that he welcomed the university’s handling of the situation. 

Separately, prosecutors on Monday opened an investigation into death threats on Twitter against satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo for a front page cover it published over the rape accusations targeting Ramadan.

Twelve people were killed at the magazine’s headquarters in January 2015, the first of a wave of militant attacks that has left more than 240 dead over the past two and a half years.

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