Archive for the ‘Tariq Ramadan’ category

American Islamists’ Silence on Tariq Ramadan Rape Allegations Speaks Volumes

November 7, 2017

American Islamists’ Silence on Tariq Ramadan Rape Allegations Speaks Volumes, Investigative Project on Terrorism, November 7, 2017

(Please see also, Tariq Ramadan’s Fans Insist He’s Not A Rapist: It’s The Women’s Fault. And the Jews’ and Girl Forced to Walk Naked to ‘Restore Honor’ [Pakistan]

Armed men forced a girl to parade naked through her village in Pakistan to “restore the honor” of their family.

The girl was targeted after her brother had an affair with the wife of one of the men. She was taken in broad daylight by a group of men, who cut off her clothes with scissors and forced walk through the streets of in the village of Chaudhuan, according to local residents.

— DM

It’s never fun when one of your favorite celebrities gets accused of wrongdoing. The home team quarterback faces a DUI, or a politician gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar. You can choose to face reality that the hero may not warrant your devotion, or try to pretend you never saw it.

When it comes to Tariq Ramadan, heir to modern Islamist thought and one of the world’s most recognizable Muslim scholars, American Islamists seem intent on looking the other way.

At least four women have accused the Oxford University professor of sexual assault or harassment – making him one of the latest high-profile men to be accused of past misconduct after Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s fall last month. Oxford announced Tuesday that Ramadan is taking a leave of absence “by mutual agreement.”

Compared to Weinstein and others, there are few voices taking up the cause for Ramadan’s accusers. Some of it may be cultural: Ramadan often has urged Muslims to treat controversial religious issues such as stoning adulterers and female genital mutilation as an “internal discussion.” But there’s also the fact that Ramadan has been quite helpful to American Islamists over the years.

He addressed the two largest gatherings of Muslim Americans last year, speaking to conventions organized by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and a joint Muslim American Society-Islamic Circle of North America (MAS-ICNA) gathering. That September, he spoke at California’s Zaytuna College with its founder Hatem Bazian.

The subject? “Resistance: Combatting Oppression, Inspiring Action.”

Rape is a form of oppression.

Ramadan was the keynote speaker for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Chicago chapter fundraising banquet. He served the same role for CAIR National’s 2010 fundraising banquet.

Last month, he spoke at a conference organized by Georgetown University’s Saudi-endowed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.

Center Director Jonathan Brown, Georgetown’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Chair of Islamic Civilization in the School of Foreign Service, also spoke at the conference. Brown generated attention earlier this year with a lecture that argued it isn’t “morally evil to own somebody” and that sexual consent is a bit of a myth because no individual is genuinely autonomous.

In the wake of the Ramadan allegations, Brown linked without comment to a Huffington Post op-ed on his Facebook page emphasizing that a person is innocent until proven guilty.

Beyond that, leaders from Georgetown, CAIR, ISNA, ICNA or MAS have had little to say about the possibility Ramadan may be a sexual predator. Some were less reticent when it came to judging people in similar cases.

For example, Zainab Chaudry, CAIR’s Maryland outreach director, praised Netflix’s decision to end its popular series “House of Cards” after star Kevin Spacey was accused of assaulting a teenage boy 30 years ago.

“Hopefully the first step in justice for the survivor(s),” she wrote Monday. She has not expressed concern for the women who say Ramadan assaulted them.

As the Weinstein scandal unfolded, CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab took to Facebook to call out the powerful producer as “Another bloated old predator creep – to add to the list alongside Roger Ailles [sic] and Bill O’Reilly – fawned over by society and rewarded with wealth and fame, even as he luxuriated in sociopathic predatory behavior for decades with no accountability.

“Well, it is time for liberals and those on the left to quit the double standard. The same outrage rightly shown to the fallen icons of the right better be shown to this trash human.”

He urged people to “Pay close attention to what happens to Weinstein if anything, and how the mainstream media and Hollywood deal with this.”

Five days later, Rehab noted that three women accused Weinstein of rape – one accuser fewer than Tariq Ramadan has today – and blasted the “hundreds of enablers, including the biggest stars…” A news outlet called 26 actors and directors to ask about Weinstein. “None responded,” Rehab wrote.

Rehab has made no direct comment about Ramadan. On Oct. 28, however, he reposted Ramadan’s statement announcing his plans to sue one accuser for slander. In an exchange with a commenter, Rehab predicted “the truth will eventually prevail in such a way that will be indisputable.” While he generally believes a woman accuser, “the specifics of any case take precedence for me over the generally speaking.”

Weinstein threatened to sue the New York Times after it published a story detailing the number of women he paid to stay quiet about abuse allegations.

At least in the initial claim against Ramadan, those who sided with him were quick to argue that his accuser disagrees with them politically, so she must be making it up. Henda Ayari is described as a former Salafi Muslim who left the faith and became a secular activist.

Ahmed Bedier, a former CAIR chapter director who still helps the organization raise money, called Ayari a mentally ill Islamophobe and “a hero to the anti-Muslim movement and Israeli groups in Europe.”

In a New York Times profile, Ayari does acknowledge losing custody of her children for two years following a nervous breakdown. But Bedier failed to provide the context: it was brought on by the stress of fleeing from an abusive Salafi home that was described by a social services worker as a prison. She wore the jilbab and niqab – full body coverings – with the story describing her husband’s view that it was “the female garb that most pleased Allah.” She rarely was allowed out of the home.

In a related exchange that same day, Bedier said he would normally give the accuser the benefit of the doubt. But in this case, blaming her is okay because “the accuser is an anti-Muslim activist accusing the leading Muslim figure in Europe.”

He does appear to have weighed in on subsequent accusers.

As we showed Monday, Ramadan’s European fans reacted similarly, attacking the accuser and buying into conspiracy theories.

After trying to discredit the alleged victim, Ramadan may be targeting one of the messengers. His lawyers say they may sue French journalist Caroline Fourest for “witness tampering,” she wrote Friday, adding that she met alleged victims as far back as 2009.

A self-described Muslim feminist has stayed mum about the prospect a leading Muslim voice, and the grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, could be a rapist. Linda Sarsour is a leader of the Women’s March movement.

As the number of Weinstein accusers increased, the March’s Twitter feed expressed appreciation and admiration for their courage. “You are not alone,” it said.

Tuesday morning, after the New Yorker published Ronan Farrow’s follow-up detailing Weinstein’s use of private investigators, including one company comprised of ex-Israeli security officials, to try to thwart investigations into his sexual predations, Sarsour wrote that the story “literally gave me chills.”

Neither the March nor Sarsour has expressed similar solidarity with Ramadan’s accusers. He defended Sarsour in January, when she faced criticism from liberals who were uncomfortable with her leadership for the Women’s March. “There is nothing bigots fear more than strong Muslim women,” he wrote, “and that this community will not stop standing up for itself and all the marginalized in the face of hatred and bigotry.”

What about sexual assault?

Tariq Ramadan remains innocent until proven guilty. But public judgment changed dramatically with other men as more accusers emerged and a pattern of behavior became clear. A former French official has acknowledged that Ramadan long has had a reputation for womanizing, and that it sometimes included violence. At least four women say that they can attest to that.

At some point, attacking the victims or imagining it will all go away no longer works.

Tariq Ramadan’s Fans Insist He’s Not A Rapist: It’s The Women’s Fault. And the Jews’

November 6, 2017

Tariq Ramadan’s Fans Insist He’s Not A Rapist: It’s The Women’s Fault. And the Jews’, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Abigail R. Esman, November 6, 2017

Tariq Ramadan’s many fans – more than 600,000 people follow him on Twitter and he has more than 2 million Facebook followers – have had plenty to say. He is innocent, they are certain. In their comments on both social media sites, they assure him that Allah will protect him. The women are liars, or part of a conspiracy: against Muslims, against the Muslim leader himself, against Islam – all the insidious, but entirely predictable, work of the world’s Jews.

*****************************************

From the moment news broke of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual aggressions, men and women alike rushed to express their disgust and disappointment. As the number of accusers mounted, so, too, did the number of those who condemned him. From actors to producers, film festivals to the Oscars and dozens of politicians, the once-celebrated movie mogul has been disparaged and denounced.

Compare that to the response to women who accuse Islamic scholar and guru Tariq Ramadan of similar, even more violent behavior – four at last count, with more rumored to be preparing to step up. In France, where Ramadan faces charges of sexual assault; in Switzerland, his birthplace; and in England, where he lives and teaches at the University of Oxford, his fellow Muslim leaders, as well as Muslim and civil rights groups, have yet to say a word against him. Even the Ligue France des Femmes Musulman – the French League of Muslim Women – has failed to speak out, although three of Ramadan’s alleged victims, including French writer and activist Henda Ayari, are French Muslim women. (The fourth is Belgian.)

Even the French authorities, it turns out, have kept quiet. “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 never heard of rapes,” Bernard Godard, who worked in the French Ministry of the Interior from 1997 to 2014, told the French magazine L’Obs. It is hard to understand how Mr. Godard knew that girls “resisted” and that Ramadan became violent, and did not somehow understand that there might be rape involved, or that violence against young girls might be worth reporting. And so he said nothing.

New allegations continue to emerge, including from four Swiss women who say he came on to them when they were teenagers.

On the other hand, Tariq Ramadan’s many fans – more than 600,000 people follow him on Twitter and he has more than 2 million Facebook followers – have had plenty to say. He is innocent, they are certain. In their comments on both social media sites, they assure him that Allah will protect him. The women are liars, or part of a conspiracy: against Muslims, against the Muslim leader himself, against Islam – all the insidious, but entirely predictable, work of the world’s Jews.

Of course that’s somewhat to be expected. Ramadan is vehemently anti-Israel, so it comes as no surprise that his fans and followers would be, too. Besides, the charges against him describe such heinous behavior – dragging a woman by her hair through a hotel room, repeated beatings and sexual assaults, sexual abuse of a disabled woman and more – that only the Zionists, the Jews, could have come up with them.

Which is why one fan posted on Ramadan’s Facebook page (translated from Arabic) “One of the ways of the Zionists is to use women as a sexual commodity to pressure their enemies and threaten to expose them to become their servants.” Another added, “The Muslim asses are waking up and can see clearly why these accusations are launched against Muslims and especially one who is a proponent of the Palestinian cause.” And yet another wrote from Canada: “[the episode stands in the center] of the whole Emirati war on Qatar, and the war of the Zionist and secular lobby in France.”

Even after the revelations of another rape came to light, Ramadan’s minions remained unmoved. While one admitted that “I don’t believe and I won’t believe what they invent about you even if it happens in front of my eyes, I will lie and believe you,” another posted: “The Zionist lobby realized that the first complaint was not enough to smear Mr. Ramadan’s reputation and integrity, so they fomented another story with a more violent accusation in order to shock the public…. We know Mr. Ramadan and we know as well the Zionist lobby and its Zionist dogs (media and politics) who struggle since long ago to smear Tariq Ramadan’s reputation and academic work… in vain. Mr. Ramadan, we will NEVER let you down, no matter how loud the Zionist dogs’ barking is.”

Others have pointed to the “immodesty” of his accusers: what were they doing going to his hotel room? (He invited them when they requested spiritual guidance.) And why did they not wear hijabs? After all, as Ramadan has taught, women should always remain covered, as protection against the unbridled lust and weakness of men. On Twitter, one follower posted: “France is the capital of vice and prostitution where hookers are cheaper than a cup of coffee. Its [sic] probably lies to sell her book.” And in a diatribe defending Ramadan on Facebook, Mohamad H. Elmasry, an Egyptian-American activist and political analyst, criticized Ayari’s opposition to the hijab, of which she has written, “It is not for women to hide because of sexual and perverted frustration that is unable to control themselves [sic] by the beauty of a woman!”

And yet, covered women are also raped, both in the Middle East and in the West, where Shaista Gohir, the chair of a UK-based helpline for Muslim women, told the Independent, some “have been fully dressed. Some have been wearing the headscarf, [full robe], and even the face veil. The offenders have included family friends, family members, and also respected religious leaders in the community.” As Claudia Landsberger, a former colleague of the late Islam critic and filmmaker Theo van Gogh, wrote in an e-mail, such incidents demonstrate “how the whole issue of modesty, or chastity, in order not to make men go wild, does not make any difference in the heads of these men. So first they imprison these women in their hijabs, burqas, or whatever, making them even believe it is for their own benefit – and double-betray them.” Van Gogh, the producer of “Submission,” a film that criticized the treatment of women in Islam, was murdered by a Dutch Muslim extremist in 2004.

For his part, Ramadan has filed a countersuit for slander against Ayari, who claims that he attacked her in a hotel room in 2012. “He choked me so hard that I thought I was going to die,” Ayari told a French newspaper Oct. 30. Ramadan had tried to convince her to be his sex slave, she said. When she refused, he threatened to harm her children. It was this threat, she claims, that kept her from speaking out earlier. Only in the aftermath of the Weinstein scandal, as women around the world joined the social media “#MeToo” campaign, did she find the courage to come forward.

Her example, in turn, gave courage to his three other accusers. It is not clear whether Ramadan plans to sue them as well. For now, he has said on Facebook, his attorneys have advised him to keep silent on the case.

But what all this shows is that in the court of Muslim public opinion – even among so-called civil rights groups that act in the name of Islam – Tariq Ramadan is not just innocent until proven guilty. He is innocent, and the others guilty: the Jews, the Zionists, the secularists, the unveiled women.

This is not a new refrain: we’ve heard similar chorales legitimize terrorist attacks like the Charlie Hebdo shootings, or the attempted murders of others who have dared to lampoon Mohammed. They echoed, too, in the response of many Dutch Muslims to the slaughter of Theo van Gogh. Ramadan could, of course, intervene. He could say that no, this has nothing at all to do with Jews. No, rape is not the fault of women. Instead, he is silent. This, his silence, is his assault. And of this, he alone is guilty.

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands.