Don detained on rape charges

Tariq Ramadan has been taken into custody in France

Amended photography from Romina Santarelli / Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación.

CW: This article contains accounts of sexual violence, assault, and rape.

Oxford University professor Tariq Ramadan has been taken into custody by French police, following multiple accusations of rape.

Ramadan was detained on Wednesday “as part of a preliminary inquiry in Paris into rape and assault allegations”, a legal source told AFP.

Ramadan, a professor of Islamic Studies, took a leave of absence from Oxford in early November after two women made accusations of rape against him.

The Director of Graduate Studies at the Oriental Institute, Alison Salvesen, sent an email on Wednesday to all postgraduate students at the faculty.

She said: “The University is keeping the situation under review and I will keep you updated as and when more information becomes available.”

A postgraduate student told Cherwell: “At last, it seems that the French authorities are taking these allegations seriously.

“I sincerely hope that this goes to court, and justice is served to all those concerned.”
Ramadan has denied the claims and filed a complaint for slander against French author Henda Ayari, one of his accusers.

Ayari claimed Ramadan assaulted and raped her in a Paris hotel room in 2012.

She described the alleged assault in her 2016 book I Chose to be Free. In the book she describes being raped by a prominent intellectual in a hotel room after a conference.

She wrote that she was treated violently, slapped, and insulted.

Ayari said she did not name Ramadan as the attacker in her book, after receiving “threats”.

A second woman then reported Ramadan to the police, alleging that he raped her in a Lyon hotel in 2009.

She claimed he kicked away the crutches she had been using for her injured leg and violently assaulted her.

The unnamed woman alleges that she went straight to a doctor after claims to have medical evidence of the assault.

She told Le Monde that Ramadan sent her a text message after asking to see her again “as if we had spent a wonderfully romantic and tender evening together”.

When she refused she alleged she was subjected to “months of harassment and threats from men who followed me in the street; one threatened to kill me”.

Last term, following student backlash at the University’s slow response to the allegations, the University released a statement that Ramadan would take a leave of absence “by mutual agreement, and with immediate effect”.

They said: “The University has consistently acknowledged the gravity of the allegations against professor Ramadan, while emphasisng the importance of fairness and the principles of justice and due process.

“An agreed leave of absence implies no presumption or acceptance of guilt.”

The university have reiterated their statement in light recent developments.


  1. To the editors,

    I would like to express the strongest disagreement with your coverage of the recent accusations and allegations concerning Mr. Tariq Ramadan, and particularly with regard to his recent detention by French judicial authorities.

    Your first responsibility is to provide accurate information and analysis, based on identifiable and credible sources.

    This you have failed to do. In fact, you have relayed “information” revealed by an anonymous source “close to the investigation” to create the impression that Mr. Ramadan has not only been officially accused of a crime—which he has not—but that he is guilty.

    May I remind you that leveling of charges, trial and a verdict of guilt are prerogatives of the judicial system?

    They are certainly not yours: you are neither prosecutor, judge nor jury.

    Yet you have behaved, in a manner that dishonors your profession, as though you have usurped those functions.

    In fact, the unprofessional nature of your coverage, including the distortion of key facts in the case, suggests that your real objective is not to inform, but to misinform, the public.

    This will certainly further contribute to the discredit with which the media is viewed.

    Please note as well that Mr. Ramadan has not been placed in pre-trial detention.

    Mr. Ramadan’s legal team has argued it will need time to respond to the allegations of an anonymous plaintiff.

    These allegations, revealed to the public by the same anonymous “source,” were made public only two days ago. His legal team intends to seek his rapid release.

    Mr. Ramadan’s lawyers are waiting for you to re-establish the facts quickly.

    I insist, in the name of elementary justice, that you take immediate steps to correct the prejudicial image of Mr. Ramadan that you have created.


  2. Dear Shelina Merani,

    I do not understand your criticism of the author of this article.
    The key information in it is that Prof Ramadan “has been taken into custody by French police, following multiple accusations of rape”.
    Do you dispute the veracity of this statement?
    In addition, Prof Ramadan has been charged with rape in two cases on Friday 2 February. An allegation which he denies.
    You are of course right that being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted of it. But nowhere in the article is it stated or even implied that Prof Ramadan is guilty. Indeed, the last information the reader receives is that “an agreed leave of absence implies no presumption or acceptance of guilt”.

    What information precisely do you object to as wrong, prejudicial, or willfully misleading?



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here