Supporters of Swiss Islamist call sexual harassment claims a ‘Zionist plot’
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Supporters of Swiss Islamist call sexual harassment claims a ‘Zionist plot’

3 women accuse Oxford University professor Tariq Ramadan of rape, blackmail, and 'sexual violence with great brutality'

This photo taken on March 26, 2016, shows Swiss Islamologist Tariq Ramadan posing during a conference on the theme "Live together," in Bordeaux, southwestern France. (AFP PHOTO / MEHDI FEDOUACH)
This photo taken on March 26, 2016, shows Swiss Islamologist Tariq Ramadan posing during a conference on the theme "Live together," in Bordeaux, southwestern France. (AFP PHOTO / MEHDI FEDOUACH)

Three women said this month they were sexually assaulted by Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss Islamist with ties to terror organizations and who is accused of justifying Palestinian terrorism and promoting conspiracy theories about Jews.

His supporters were calling the accusations the result of a “international Zionist plot” to blacken his name.

The third and newest complainant, a woman identified only as Yasmina in the French media, told Le Parisien that Ramadan, a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford’s St. Anthony’s College, sexually harassed her in 2014 and blackmailed her for sexual favors, the weekly reported Saturday. She said Ramadan threatened to distribute “compromising pictures” of her.

Ramadan has denied any wrongdoing.

The accusations by Yasmina, who said she was filing criminal charges against Ramadan, closely followed the filing of criminal charges against him on October 20 for alleged rape by Henda Ayari, a former Islamist turned secular feminist. The alleged crimes took place in 2012 in France, added Ayari, who also said that Ramadan threatened her and that she was afraid to denounce him “for fear of reprisals.”

On Thursday, another complainant against Ramadan stepped forward. A convert to Islam who is suffering from a disability in her legs, she said she suffered “sexual violence of great brutality” by Ramadan in 2009. She also filed a formal complaint against Ramadan.

All the complainants said they had been in contact with Ramadan for spiritual guidance. A lawyer representing Ramadan said he was working on libel suits against the complainants, whose accounts the lawyer said were mendacious.

Following Ayari’s decision to step forward, journalist Caroline Fourest, who has reported extensively about Ramadan’s controversial career, on Friday wrote in the Marianne weekly that supporters of Ramadan are calling the accusations the result of a “international Zionist plot” to tarnish his reputation.

Ramadan, who in 2009 was fired from Rotterdam’s Erasmus University for taking money from the Iranian regime and who has been refused entry to France and the United States over his ties to Hamas and other terrorist groups, has often aired conspiracy theories about Israel and Jews.

In a column titled “The Double Life of Tariq Ramadan,” Fourest wrote that she first heard in 2009 of sex crimes by Ramadan, whom many critics have accused of encouraging violence and alleged misogyny when speaking to Muslims, and then denouncing it when speaking to non-Muslims. She could not publish the accounts because none of the victims would step forward, she wrote.

“Ramadan seems to be a counterpart of Harvey Weinstein, perhaps a more violent one,” wrote Fourest, referring to the Jewish-American director accused by more than 50 women of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

In 2014 he said that the slaying of four people at the Jewish Museum of Belgium, which authorities say was perpetrated by the Islamist Mehdi Nemmouche, was in fact a deliberate attack on Israeli secret agents.

And in a 2004 interview, Ramadan said that violence for the Palestinians is “a legitimate resistance,” and “the only way for them to be heard at the international level.” In the same interview, he also said he does not justify the use of violence against Israelis.

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