“It’s not just about sexual violence. For some students it’s just another way for Europeans to gang up against a prominent Muslim intellectual. We must protect Muslim students who believe and trust in him, and protect that trust.”
The statement by Eugene Rogan, director of the Middle East Centre at Oxford, explaining a few weeks ago his initial decision to allow Tariq Ramadan to continue teaching at Oxford, after the first set of his female accusers came forward, charging Ramadan with extreme violence, sexual assault, and rape, was an extraordinary example of moral confusion.
To be clear about the timeline of the cascading charges made against Tariq Ramadan: when Eugene Rogan made his fatuous remarks about Ramadan in early October, he did not know that in addition to the four women in Paris who have accused Ramadan of sexual violence and rape, three of whom have gone public (the fourth is still considering it), four other women would come forward in Geneva, where Ramadan taught at a high school in the 1980s and 1990s, to accuse him of seducing them when they were his trusting pupils, aged between 14 and 18.
The French government has seemed eager to protect him, and keep such information from the public. One reason might be that Ramadan is a friend of the ruler of Qatar, who paid for his chair as the H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies and Senior Research Fellow at St Antony’s College. Qatar has invested nearly $25 billion in France, and the French government would not wish to damage its relations with Sheikh Hamad.