Just a brief note: on March 1 it was reported that a video had just surfaced, showing Tariq Ramadan at a lecture he gave at the “Youth Festival” (a broad translation of “Agora Juvenil”) held in Jerez de la Frontera, in Spain, on October 8, 2009. His lawyers have always claimed that he could not have raped, sodomized, tortured, and urinated on, his accuser “Christelle,” because on October 9 he was, they claim, on a plane from London that landed in Lyon at 6:35 p.m., and he could not have arrived at the Hilton Hotel in that city earlier than 7:30 p.m. And since, his lawyers insist, he was due to speak at 8:30, he could not possibly have raped, sodomized, tortured, threatened, and urinated on, Christelle in less than an hour.
But if he was in Spain on October 8, he could not have been on a London-Lyon flight on October 9. How do we know the the video that has just surfaced is from October 8, 2009? We know because it was clearly filmed in the local museum, the Museo de la Atalaya. The festival itself lasted from October 7 to October 12. On two of those days — October 8 and October 9 — “conferencias” (lectures) were given in the Museo de la Altalaya. Furthermore, Ramadan’s “conference” was listed in the Festival’s published line-up as scheduled for “Jueves 8 17:00 horas” — that is, on Thursday, October 8, at 5 p.m.
Tariq Ramadan was filmed in the museum at Jerez de la Frontera on October 8, with a lecture that was scheduled to last an hour, from 5 to 6 p.m. (though most of his talks on YouTube go on for longer than their scheduled hour), with a lengthy discussion to follow. Ramadan always enjoyed playing the “world’s most prominent Islamic scholar” during the post-lecture discussion, and while pontificating at these events, he is also sizing up his adorers, among whom he might choose to invite one or two to appear at his hotel room, so that they might continue an even more profound discussion. There was little likelihood he could have left Jerez de la Frontera for Madrid late on the evening of October 8. But had he done so, that would only have meant he could have landed in Lyon that much earlier on October 9 — which is exactly what his lawyers want to avoid suggesting. In any case, we know, thanks to his Lyon hosts, exactly what flights they had booked him for, just as his office requested, and he left Jerez de la Frontera for Madrid on October 9 at 7:05 a.m. On October 9, Ramadan was nowhere near London, as we now know from both the written (those flight itineraries) and the visual evidence (that video of Ramadan speaking in Spain).
We know that Ramadan’s office had first been contacted by the Union des Jeunes Musulmans on September 15, 2009, when he was invited to speak at their Lyon gathering. His office initially requested from his hosts a London-Lyon ticket for October 9, which would have had him arrive at 6:35 p.m. in Lyon. But that office subsequently requested a change in the itinerary, one which would allow Ramadan to fly from London to Madrid to Jerez de la Frontera on October 8, where he would deliver his lecture to the “Youth Festival” of Andalusia, and the next day he would fly to Madrid from Jerez de la Frontera, and then from Madrid to Lyon, arriving at 11:15 a.m. And that’s exactly what was arranged.
Much has been made by his lawyers of his original itinerary, and they keep insisting — and ignoring all the evidence of his revised itinerary that has him in Lyon by mid-day on October 9 — that Ramadan was 30,000 feet in the air when “Christelle” claims he assaulted her. What those lawyers keep overlooking is the testimony, from the Union des Jeunes Musulmans itself, that Ramadan’s office had requested that change in his itinerary.
He was then booked for, and did in fact take, the following fights:
1) On October 8, a flight leaving London at 7:25 a.m., arriving in Madrid at 10:45 a.m.
Then, another flight leaving Madrid at 10:55 a.m., arriving in Jerez de la Frontera at 1 p.m.
2) On October 9, a flight from Jerez de la Frontera at 7:05 a.m. arriving in Madrid at 8:05 a.m.
Then, another flight leaving Madrid at 9:35, arriving at Lyon at 11:15 a.m.
All of these flights — Ramadan’s complete flight itinerary as arranged by the Union des Jeunes Musulmans — can be seen here.
The video that has just surfaced — it was online on February 28 — is merely one more confirmation of just where Ramadan was on October 8, 2009. He was not in London, but had left London early that morning for Madrid, and from there to Jerez de la Frontera, in southernmost Spain, where he was scheduled to address, and did address, an early-evening crowd from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Museo de la Altalaya. The video is not needed to prove that Ramadan and his lawyers have been lying about this non-existent London-Lyon trip on October 9, but does offer the satisfying, and undeniable ocular proof, that Ramadan was in Jerez de la Frontera on October 8, just as his revised itinerary says. The video thus lends further support, if such were necessary, to Christelle’s version of events, and punches another hole in Ramadan’s defense.
Despite all the evidence, there are still those Muslims who remain unswerving supporters of Ramadan. Even after Ramadan’s itinerary, furnished by the Union des Jeunes Musulmans, was published, and the day after the video of Ramadan in Spain surfaced, an article appeared in the online, English-language version of the Kuwaiti newspaper the Daily Sabah. It was written by Jamal Elshayyal, a senior correspondent for Al-Jazeera English, who insists that Ramadan is being cruelly persecuted by the French because of his prominence as a Muslim intellectual.
But Jamal Elshayyal ignores all this, and keeps insisting on what he calls the “unequivocal” alibi of that supposed London-Lyon flight on October 9:
“The other of Ramadan’s accusers is “Christelle.” She alleges that he raped her in a hotel room in Lyon on the afternoon of Oct. 9, 2009. Ramadan’s lawyers have already presented evidence that suggests he was in fact, on a plane some 30,000 feet above the ground at the time. His plane landed in Lyon at 6:35 p.m. that day, and by 8:30 p.m. he was addressing a crowd of hundreds of French men and women who had gathered to hear him talk about coexistence, integration and the civic duties of young Muslims.You would think that a potentially unequivocal alibi would be enough to dismiss the allegation.”
The evidence his lawyers presented for Ramadan’s supposed London-Lyon flight consisted of only one thing: that initially he had been booked on such a flight. They continue to ignore, and Ramadan’s supporters like Elshayyal ignore, what the Union des Jeunes Musulmanes has stated, and what copies of Ramadan’s flight itinerary make clear. It cannot be repeated too often: on the instructions of Ramadan’s office, his itinerary was changed so as to allow him to speak at an event in Spain the day before he was to speak in Lyon. The video of Ramadan in Spain — as Othello said about a very different sexual dalliance, “give me the ocular proof” — is further evidence, or as Elshayyal likes to say, “unequivocal evidence,” that he was not on the London-Lyon flight the next day.
Only one question remains: after his Spanish lecture, did the ithyphallic Tariq Ramadan make time to schedule a meeting with a female admirer who had just heard this “towering intellect” speak, been entranced with his performance and, flattered that he had invited her to continue the discussion in his room at the Hotel Los Janados, showed up, only to get far more than she could possibly have bargained for?
Postscript: It would be unfair to Jerez de la Frontera to leave it linked in the reader’s mind to someone as crude, cruel, and monstrous as Tariq Ramadan. So here is a scrap of verse that I learned long ago in Madrid, the first stanza of a very beautiful and celebrated poem by El Marqués de Santillana, by name Iñigo López de Mendoza (1398-1458). He was a gifted poet, the first composer of sonnets in Spanish, and — which I was glad to learn — also fought in the Reconquista.
For the Hispanic delegation: “Es especialmente recordado por sus serranillas, poemitas de arte menor que tratan del encuentro entre un caballero y una campesina, a imitación de las pastorelas francesas, pero inspiradas en una tradición popular autóctona propia. Fue el primer autor que escribió sonetos en castellano.”
The speaker says that he never saw a girl (moza) anywhere in “La Frontera” (as in: Jerez de la Frontera) as pretty as a cowgirl (“una vaquera”) from “la Finojosa” (a toponym). Put it all together and here’s the first stanza of “Una vaquera de la Finojosa.”
Moza tan fermosa
non vi en la frontera,
como una vaquera
de la Finojosa.
And here’s the whole lovely poem.
What does something like this have to do with someone like Tariq Ramadan?
Nothing. And that’s the point.