Date :Sunday, November 18th, 2018 | Time : 23:05 |ID: 78347 | Print

Islamic scholar wins bail in France rape case

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SHAFAQNA- Tariq Ramadan, a leading Islamic scholar held in France since February on charges he raped two women, on Thursday (Nov 15) won conditional release after testifying in an appeals court. A Paris appeals court grants prominent Islamic scholar conditional release after 10 months in detention.

A Paris Court of Appeal granted the 56-year-old Swiss academic bail on Thursday even as the investigation into the case continues.

His bail was set at 300,000 euros ($340,000) and it requires him to hand over his passport and report to police once a week.

“Where would I flee to,” he asked during his hearing, his first public appearance since the arrest in February.

Ramadan, who is accused of rape on two separate counts, has long denied having sexual relations with the plaintiffs. Ramadan also faces criminal complaints of rape by women in the United States and Switzerland.

One accuser is a disabled woman identified in media reports as Christelle, and the other is a feminist activist, Henda Ayari.

I have never raped

In the court, Ramadan said he did not intend to become a fugitive from the law, adding his multiple sclerosis meant he couldn’t walk properly. “I will remain in France and defend my honour and my innocence,” he told the judges in what was his fourth bid to secure freedom. “I would like you to make your decision from your conscience, not because my name is Tariq Ramadan and I’m demonised in this country.”

His lawyer Emmanuel Marsigny told Reuters news agency, “Ramadan’s release… demonstrated that the rape accusations against him were lies.”

“I have never raped, I am not a rapist. It’s true that I made a mistake,” he said straitstimes mentioned.

Who is Tariq Ramadan?

Ramadan, 55, took a leave of absence from Oxford last November after two women filed complaints in France alleging rape, in 2009 and 2012 respectively. He has denied the allegations and filed a complaint for slander against one of his accusers. Born in Geneva in 1962 and the younger brother of controversial imam Hani Ramadan, Tariq Ramadan studied Islamic Studies and French literature at the University of Geneva. He acquired Swiss citizenship at age 22.

He became the voice of the “European Muslim”, the title of one of his many books, which calls on other Muslims to shake off the mentality of minorities and victims and to stake their claim as full citizens who are faithful to the principles of Islam. His audience ranges from second-generation immigrants in the suburbs to intellectuals, especially on the left and among those opposed to globalization. Ramadan’s fortunes changed in 2003 when he wrote a column online which two major newspapers refused to run. The column listed a series of Jewish intellectuals who, according to Ramadan, were too complacent about Israel. The following year, the United States denied him entry, although he had been offered a position as a professor at a Catholic university.

In addition to his expertise in Islamic studies, Ramadan is known for being the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt. He is married and has four children womenintheworld reported.

Ramadan’s US visa was revoked in 2004 — and restored in 2010 — preventing him at the time from taking a teaching job at the University of Notre Dame. Authorities had said he donated $1,336 to a charity that gave money to a Palestinian militant group.

Tariq Ramadan mentioned  his feel about the decision by the US to lift his visa ban that “I am very happy. I knew from the very beginning that the reason for it – anything that had to do firstly with the [US] Patriot Act and then with the money – was not the central issue. This was mainly about my stance on the Iraqi war and some of the American policies. I said that from the very beginning”, he said, swissinfo reported.

His fans believe he is the victim of a campaign

Ramadan is the most high-profile figure to be held in France over the sexual assault and harassment claims that have rippled around the world as a result of the “Me Too” campaign.

The claims against the prominent scholar, which emerged in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal in the United States, have divided many Muslims, with his legions of fans, as well as his lawyers, saying he is the victim of a smear campaign, arabnews told. But critics have long suggested that despite Ramadan’s moderate tone as a familiar face on television programs, he preaches a more radical line when addressing Muslims in Arabic.

His supporters have strenuously rejected the allegations, characterising them as part of a concerted effort to defame the academic.

Women’s voices are dismissed, except when the perpetrator is black, Arab, Muslim

Some Analysts believe  that the French justice system is one that tends to patriarchy, and, yes, it tends to be complaisant towards sex crimes, especially when committed by influential men. Women’s voices are constantly demeaned and dismissed, except when the perpetrator is said to be black, Arab, Muslim or from the suburbs, islamicity reported.

 

Read more from Shafaqna:

Swiss open criminal case against Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan

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