The latest installment in the long-running saga of Tariq Ramadan, the “towering intellect” and “leading Islamic scholar” took place on June 5, and represented a victory — the only one so far — for his lawyers. His supporters are ecstatic.
To refresh memories, Ramadan is currently being held in a French prison while awaiting trial on charges of rape of two women in France — Henda Ayari and the woman known as “Christelle.’” A third woman known as “Marie” — her real name is Mounia Borrouj — also accused Ramadan of rape. Other accusations of rape and sexual violence have also been made against him by a woman in the United States, and another in Belgium; the legal status of these accusations is not clear. In addition, four Swiss women have accused Ramadan of seducing them (in one case the attempt was unsuccessful) when they were his underage pupils at a high school in Geneva.
On June 5, the French judges handling Ramadan’s case dismissed the charges made by “Marie.” This has led to much mafficking by Ramadan’s supporters. They think their hero, unjustly persecuted by the French justice system because he is a Muslim, is at last seeing justice done, and they look forward to his being completely exonerated. Apparently these judges, described by Ramadan’s loyalists for so long as “unfair” and “biased,” have suddenly became “fair” and “unbiased.”
What made the judges dismiss the accusations by “Marie”?
First, “Marie” was no innocent, but an ex-escort girl, that is, a call girl, who had already been involved in a famous sex scandal in France involving special “evenings” — at such sites as the Hotel Carlton in Lille (l’ affaire du Carlton de Lille) — where such notables as Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former director of the IMF, enjoyed the favors of high-end prostitutes. There is no hint of any such background in the lives of any of Ramadan’s other accusers.
Second, “Marie” — her real name is Mounia Barrouj — claimed to have been raped by Ramadan in France, London, and Brussels nine times, over sixteen months between 2013 and 2014. Both Henda Ayari and “Christelle” claimed to have been raped only once. The judges obviously felt that if “Marie” kept coming back to Ramadan eight times after her initial “rape,” that made more plausible Ramadan’s contention that their relationship was not forced by him, but mutually agreed on. He who had claimed a few months ago never to have engaged in adultery recently changed his story, and before the judges he admitted that his encounters with “Marie” were sexual, and involved mild (!) S and M. These “sexual games,” as Ramadan and his lawyers called this sordidness, were — they claimed — consensual. Why would “Marie” keep agreeing to meet with Ramadan if she had been previously raped by him, against her will, again and again?
Third, Ramadan’s lawyers introduced into evidence 300 videos and a thousand photos sent by “Marie” (Mounia Rabbouj), with sexual content, that support Ramadan’s contention that their meetings, however violent, were consensual. On one of the videos, “Marie” can be heard pleading with Ramadan, saying “My love, I love you very much” (“Mon amour, je t’aime fort”). That message was sent by “Marie’’ on May 17, 2013; she claimed that she had been raped by Ramadan the night before. Isn’t it possible that she had been smitten with Ramadan–flattered that that “towering intellect’’ took what seemed to be a real interest in her, and so she willingly submitted to his sexual violence. Isn’t it plausible that once “Marie” learned of all the others Ramadan was accused of sexually violating, in France, Belgium, the U.S. and Switzerland, she became infuriated at this evidence of Ramadan’s “betrayal” of her, and decided to press her own charges of rape for what may well have been “consensual” encounters?
Given her own past as a call girl, the fact that she kept coming back to Ramadan for more of those “rapes” (nine in all, in three different countries, over a two-year period), the fact that Ramadan admitted to a long “consensual” affair with her (while continuing to deny any sexual contact with his other accusers), given, too, the 300 hundred videos and the thousand photographs, some with sexual content, which she continued to send Ramadan, to remind him of all those times they had had together, while at the same time declaring her love — unhinged “Fatal Attraction” behavior that finally Ramadan found too much trouble to deal with, and thus he cut off all contact with her.
The decision of the judges not to hear “Marie’s” case is the first victory for Ramadan and his lawyers. But it’s premature for his loyalists to celebrate. The story of “Marie,” the ex-call girl who kept coming back to Ramadan for more of those “sexual games,” has nothing in common with the accusations made by the eminently respectable Henda Ayari and “Christelle,” who have each testified to having been raped by Ramadan, with extreme violence, once.
Those of his many fans (2 million Facebook friends, 200,000 followers on Twitter) now exulting in Ramadan’s “victory” over a former call girl’s doubtful accusation of having endured “nine rapes” by the “towering intellect” over a two-year period should curb their enthusiasm. There are many cases concerning Ramadan still to come — and not just in France — and none of them involve accusations by ex-call girls, nor claims of so many repeated rapes, and for all of the other accusers, Ramadan continues to insist — as he did not with “Marie” — on his complete innocence. Soon we shall see just how good Ramadan’s lawyers turn out to be. Let’s hope that justice prevails.