For many years, the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Tariq Ramadan, has been one of my closest enemies. In Switzerland and France this Islamist dauphin had a slightly hard time establishing his reputation. This was not just due to his poor scholarship (the basis of which lay in a fawning book about his grandad) but also to his double-speak in public debate and (at best) borderline Islamist views. In France these views were most famously exposed in a television debate with Nicolas Sarkozy in which Ramadan infamously could not bring himself to condemn the stoning of adulterers outright, merely calling for a ‘moratorium’ on the punishment.
In Britain, Ramadan had an easier ride – one greased for him by St Anthony’s College Oxford, various departments of government and a range of people in prominent positions who decided that Ramadan was just the sort of Muslim leader Britain needed. Needless to say, I diverged from this view and for years (most recently in Cambridge earlier this year) found myself opposing Ramadan in studios and debating forums.
Now the news emerges from France that the Muslim Salafist turned secularist, Henda Ayari, has reported Tariq Ramadan to the French authorities. The charge against Ramadan – filed at the Rouen prosecutor’s office – accuses him of rape and sexual assault. Ramadan strongly denies the allegations and has vowed to file a counter-complaint.
I make no judgement. The law will need to take its course. In the meantime I wonder whether or not Ramadan should be grateful that he will be judged according to the rules of French justice. If he were judged according to the Sharia then his accuser’s word would be worth half that of his own and he could get away from it scot-free even if he is guilty. On the other hand, if he is guilty then French justice could save him from being stoned to death.