Influential Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan acquitted of charges of rape

May 25, 2023
1 min read

Tariq Ramadan, an illustrious Swiss academic and expert on Islam, has been exonerated of charges of rape and sexual coercion after a court in Geneva found no evidence to support the accusations against the former Oxford University professor

The 60-year-old academic – who is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, was also awarded around 151,000 Swiss francs in compensation from the Swiss canton of Geneva over the case.

The plaintiff, a 57-year-old Swiss woman, accused Ramadan of rape in a Geneva hotel in October 2008. She accused the academic of subjecting her to brutal sexual acts, beatings, and insults. The woman, a convert to Islam, was in her forties at the time of the alleged assault. She filed a complaint 10 years later, telling the court she felt emboldened to come forward following similar complaints filed in France.

Prosecutors had last week called for a three-year sentence against Ramadan. The court, however, said it found no evidence against Ramadan. The plaintiff left the courtroom before the judgment was read, with her attorneys immediately announcing that they would appeal the decision.

Ramadan had denied the charges, insisting that he was the victim of a “trap”.

The Swiss trial revealed two starkly opposite accounts of what occurred in a hotel room in Geneva.

In 2004, Ramadan was voted one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. Ramadan earned a PhD from the University of Geneva with a thesis on his grandfather, who established Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood organization. In 2007 he became a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford until November 2017 and held visiting roles at universities in Qatar and Morocco.

Ramadan’s spectacular ascent came to a halt in 2017 after he was accused of rape by a French woman. When that case became public, more women came forward. By 2020 he was facing five charges of rape – four in France, and one in Switzerland – and had spent nine months in detention in France before being released on probation. He has consistently denied all the charges against him.

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