A Swiss woman accuses one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief ideologues, Tariq Ramadan, of having sexually abused her. The incident is more than ten years ago and the complaint was made five years ago. The trial of the former superstar of political Islamism in Europe began last week. The trial in Geneva is the fifth in which Ramadan has to answer for rape. There are already four cases against him in France.
Four women in France and a 57-year-old woman in Switzerland who converted to Islam when she was young have accused the 61-year-old of repeatedly abusing, beating and raping them. At the beginning of the investigation, his fans campaigned for him and threatened the alleged victims. One of those affected says: “He destroyed our lives.”
The case in Switzerland is of particular importance, as it is suspected that there are other victims in addition to the plaintiff who remain silent for fear of reprisals from Ramadan’s supporters. The allegations go back to the time when he held a teaching position in Switzerland. According to the “Tribune de Genève”, Ramadan tried unsuccessfully to seduce one of his 14-year-old students, but was successful with three other students (15 and 18 years old).
The Geneva government had launched investigations into Ramadan’s misconduct and published a damning report. Ramadan had long denied the allegations and spoke of a racist and “Islamophobic” conspiracy. But on July 12, 2022, the Paris public prosecutor decided that there was sufficient evidence to initiate proceedings.
In their closing arguments, the Geneva public prosecutor’s office called for Tariq Ramadan to be sentenced to three years in prison, 18 months of which is unconditional. He himself pleads for acquittal. According to the indictment, Tariq Ramadan’s guilt weighs heavily. He used his aura to abuse his victim and treated the plaintiff like an object, the prosecutor’s representative said.
In the indictment, prosecutors stressed that the testimony of the plaintiff, a 57-year-old woman who converted to Islam, was consistent throughout the trial. The public prosecutor underlined the credibility of the woman’s statements.
In 2017, Ramadan was at the peak of his career when the Emirate of Qatar installed him as Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University in the UK. Politicians like Tony Blair and David Cameron hired him to fight Islamist extremism, which is somewhat paradoxical given the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideological background.
Around 100 years ago, the Egyptian teacher Hassan al-Banna, Tariq Ramadan’s grandfather, founded the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood with the aim of establishing a theocracy. Terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Boko Haram, Hamas and many others use the organization’s ideology as a template. Al-Banna was executed in Egypt, his secretary and son-in-law Saïd Ramadan, Tariq’s father, settled in Geneva in 1958. Royally paid for by Saudi Arabia, he was commissioned to implement political Islam in Europe and America. In 1961, with Saudi money, he founded the Geneva Islam Center, which is now run by Tariq’s son, Hani Ramadan.
This laid the seeds for many of today’s problems with political Islam in Europe. For years, Qatar has supported Tariq Ramadan with 35,000 euros per month. Politicians in Europe are still hesitant when it comes to the Muslim Brotherhood and its representatives. Your financiers appear as investors with whom you don’t want to mess things around. Whatever the verdict on May 24 in Geneva, it will hopefully spark a debate about what role political Islam should play in a democratic society.
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