“Geneva launches Ramadan school probe,” SwissInfo, March 21, 2018:
Canton Geneva authorities have called in two experts to conduct an external investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct alleged to have been perpetrated by Swiss academic Tariq Ramadan against pupils he taught in local schools.
The role of the canton’s education department in the affair will also be probed following allegations that some students had raised the alarm between 1984 and 2004 when the Islamic scholar taught in the area.
Ramadan is currently in prison in Paris facing three accusations of rape. In November a Swiss newspaper reported allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct by four unnamed Swiss women. He denies the allegations and is currently on leave of absence from Oxford University.
The Geneva investigation has been launched in the wake of mounting public pressure for answers. Earlier this month, a letter signed by some well-known figures in the French-speaking part of Switzerland was sent to the cantonal authorities demanding that action be taken.
The education department said it could not launch an internal inquiry as Ramadan no longer held a post in Geneva. [!] A preliminary report from the newly formed external inquiry is expected towards the end of this year.
The two investigators are being granted access to all relevant documents relating to the case, while current and former education department employees would be released from confidentiality obligations, the authorities said.
Here are a few questions for the Canton of Geneva:
1) Why did it take a public outcry by “well-known figures in the French-speaking part of Switzerland” to get the Canton of Geneva to open an investigation into Tariq Ramadan’s sexual behavior with four girls he taught in a Swiss high school?
2) If it is true that “students [high school students of Tariq Ramadan] had raised the alarm between 1984 and 2004 when the Islamic scholar taught in the area,” how could twenty years of such alarm-raising continue without any internal investigation?
3) What were these “confidentiality obligations” concerning Ramadan that education department employees in the Canton of Geneva are to be released from only now?
4) Why does the Canton of Geneva estimate it will take until the end of the year, 2018, for this external investigation to be complete — that is, not for another 9 1/2 months?
5) Is there any evidence of pressure being brought to bear to delay (so that the statute of limitations would apply), or even to prevent, an investigation into Tariq Ramadan by the Canton of Geneva? In particular, has there been any pressure from any Islamic group, especially one associated with the Gulf Arabs who now own so many high-end properties in Geneva, Montreux, Lausanne, Vevey?