Thursday, November 02, 2017

Tariq Ramadan's violent attacks upon women

What is the relationship between open disrespect of women and rape? Let's examine the case of Tariq Ramadan.

In 2009, the American Academy of Religion invited Tariq Ramadan, a professor at Oxford, and the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, to give a plenary address at the Annual Meeting. He spoke at the meeting in November, which was held in Montreal (and Canada permitted him to enter). The AAR fought to bring Ramadan to the US, against the opposition of the US government. They sued, along with the ACLU and another organization. In 2010, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "issued orders that appear to end the exclusion from the United States."

A couple of years later (April 12, 2011), the Egyptian feminist Mona Eltahawy engaged in a debate on BBC Newsnight on the question of whether the burqa should be banned. Ramadan continually talked over Eltahawy to try to prevent her from speaking.


Ramadan: And we are alway trying to come with new rules and reducing the freedom of expressions of Muslims against the minarets, against the hijab, against the burka. We don't - what does it mean? Does it mean that the only right way of being a Muslim in Europe today, a good European Muslim is an invisible Muslim, who don't want to see them, don't want to see them in the street, don't.... 
Moderator, asking Eltahawy: Why are you shaking your head? 
Eltahawy: I'm shaking my head because I disagree with just about everything that Tariq just said. It's interesting that he used the word invisible, because that's what the niqab does. 
Ramadan, interrupting: That's because you are working with the neocons in the States. 
Eltahawy: I'm working with the who?! Can you prove that? This is libelous what you are saying. I am not working with the neocons! 
Ramadan, interrupting: We know who you are working with! 
Eltahawy: Did you hear what he just said? This exactly the problem that a Muslim and a feminist actually faces. 
Ramadan, interrupting: You are, you are! Of course, you are working in exactly the same direction. 
Eltahawy: You have to stop talking now, because it's my turn. (Ramadan, interrupting: Yes, a feminist). This is exactly what happens when a Muslim and a feminist speaks out - she is silenced. They are trying to silence me by saying that I'm a neocon. That is absolute nonsense! 
Ramadan, interrupting: I'm not trying to silence you. Don't play the victim, don't play the victim! 
Eltahway: This is what you're supporting. I'm not a victim, I'm no one's victim! You are supporting the very thing you claim to be attacking. You support the invisibility of women. The niqab renders women invisible. And let's be real here. Feminist organizations on the ground will tell you that women have no say in this. 
Ramadan, interrupting: I'm all for freedom. I'm supporting women wearing whatever they want. 
Eltahawy: Stop talking! I'm talking! (Ramadan guffaws). Women on the ground have no say in this, because when they start to talk, you silence them. People like you silence them. The Muslim right wing has been encroaching on women's rights gradually, and no one has said anything! 
Ramadan, interrupting: No, no, you don't want to hear them, you don't want to hear the women. 
Eltahawy: Other groups have said nothing. The left wing has been silenced while Muslim women have been disappeared, all for the sake of fighting Islamophobia. I fight Islamophobia. I was standing outside of that mosque in New York. I wrote opinion pieces against the minaret ban. 
Ramadan: Stop talking about yourself.... 
Eltahawy: You cannot sit there and try to libel me.
In the last few days a series of extremely nasty stories about Ramadan's sexual abuse of women has come out. A report in the New York Times states that a French activist and author, Henda Ayari, filed a police complaint accusing him of sexually assaulting her in 2012. A second woman (unnamed) has accused him of rape and assault in 2009. (The same year that he was honored by the AAR). The assault accusations have been highlighted by Mona Eltahawy on Twitter.
The second woman, whose name has not been published by the news media, gave an account of an extremely violent assault to two French newspapers, Le Monde and Le Parisien. 
A 45-year-old Muslim convert, she said she had also corresponded with Mr. Ramadan on Facebook and met him in his hotel on the sidelines of a conference to discuss religion. When she went to his room, she said, she was raped and beaten. 
She said she suffered months of threats afterward to keep her silent.
Another article, in the National (published in the United Arab Emirates), shows that French officials knew about Ramadan's violent attacks upon women, and did nothing.
A French official has admitted knowing Oxford professor Tariq Ramadan was “violent and aggressive” sexually, but denied hearing anything about rape. 
Bernard Godard, who was considered the “Monsieur Islam” of the French Ministry of the Interior between 1997 and 2014, was well acquainted with Mr Ramadan, a prominent Islamic scholar and grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. 
When asked whether he had any knowledge of the rape and sexual assault that Mr Ramadan is now being accused of, Mr Godard insisted he had “never heard of rapes” and that he was “stunned.”
"That he had many mistresses, that he consulted sites, that girls were brought to the hotel at the end of his lectures, that he invited them to undress, that some resisted and that he could become violent and aggressive, yes, but I have never heard of rapes, I am stunned," he told French magazine L’Obs.
In Tweets today, Eltahawy wrote:
"I have twice argued w/Tariq Ramadan on BBC TV.This is 1 of the times. Many of us have long known him 2b a misogynist." 
Leta Hong Fincher wrote in reply: "Jesus, Mona, I would have just been struck dumb in that situation. So chilling given what we now know about him. Bravo!" 
Eltahawy replied: "Thank you @LetaHong - it was astounding then in 2011 when it happened & astounding now. He is a misogynist shit."
So why hasn't Oxford already suspended Ramadan? Three professors at Dartmouth (in psychology and brain sciences) have been put on paid leave while there is a criminal investigation into allegations of "sexual misconduct." In Ramadan's case, criminal complaints of rape have been filed against him. Shouldn't he also be suspended while the accusations are investigated by the French legal system?

3 comments:

  1. Good piece Rebecca: Andrew Coates has also been covering this story over at Tendance Coatesy. I would like to re-blog your post at Shiraz Socialist (with a link, etc): will that be OK?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, that would be great, Jim.

    ReplyDelete