Rape-accused Tariq Ramadan has been in custody in France since February 2. REUTERS
Rape-accused Tariq Ramadan has been in custody in France since February 2. REUTERS

New sexual assault complaint against Tariq Ramadan in the US



Tariq Ramadan has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman in Washington, USA, in the latest in a string of damning allegations against the prominent Islamic scholar.

According to French newspaper Libération, the complaint, which refers to an alleged incident dating back to 2013, was filed last month with Washington police. The complainant, a 30-year-old Muslim American, now lives in Kuwait and has requested to remain anonymous.

Mr Ramadan, an Oxford University professor whose grandfather founded Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood movement, was detained on February 2 over charges he raped two women in France, which he denies.

Last week, a third woman, who wants to remain anonymous and uses the pseudonym "Marie", claimed to have suffered multiple rapes in France, Brussels and London between 2013 and 2014.

The latest complaint, concerning the alleged incident in Washington, is the first to emerge outside of Europe. There is not yet a prosecution, and an investigation is ongoing.

The complaint does not mention Mr Ramadan's identity, but a police source contacted by Libération confirmed that it is aimed at the 55-year-old Swiss theologian.

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According to Libération, the woman, who worked for the US Department of Defence, first started corresponding with Mr Ramadan via Facebook in March 2012.

They met at a conference in Washington in August 2013, where the woman suggested going for lunch. However, she eventually agreed to meet him in a hotel room at around 2 a.m. on 31 August 2013.

It was at this point that she claims Mr Ramadan sexually assaulted her. She accuses him of placing his genitals against her chest, and insists it was against her will.

Mr Ramadan's lawyer Jonas Haddad confirmed to Libération that he has been in touch with the complainant from the US. "I was in touch with her about two months ago through American sources," he said. The discussions, he added, centred around the possible procedure to be initiated in the US.

A police source in the US capital told Libération that the investigation is ongoing. If there is sufficient evidence to recommend an indictment, then it will be up to the federal prosecutor to decide whether to launch a lawsuit against Mr Ramadan on behalf of the District of Columbia.

Mr Ramadan remains in custody in Fleury-Mérogis prison, Essonne, as French authorities judge him a flight risk.

His two initial accusers went to police in late October, both alleging that he had raped them in French hotel rooms.

Henda Ayari, 41, said she decided to accuse him publicly after the "Me Too" campaign against sexual abuse and harassment encouraged her to speak out.

Ms Ayari, a feminist activist who previously practised a conservative strain of Islam, says Mr Ramadan raped her in a Paris hotel room in 2012.

The second accuser, a disabled woman, alleges that Mr Ramadan raped her and beat her in a hotel in the southeastern city of Lyon in 2009.

A court dismissed a bid by Mr Ramadan last month to be released on health grounds, after his lawyers argued his multiple sclerosis and nerve damage could not be adequately treated behind bars.

A professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford, Mr Ramadan has been on leave since November after the allegations emerged.

One of European Islam's best-known figures, he has dismissed the accusations against him as a smear campaign by his enemies and his lawyers argue there are inconsistencies in the women's accounts.

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

How to play the stock market recovery in 2021?

If you are looking to build your long-term wealth in 2021 and beyond, the stock market is still the best place to do it as equities powered on despite the pandemic.

Investing in individual stocks is not for everyone and most private investors should stick to mutual funds and ETFs, but there are some thrilling opportunities for those who understand the risks.

Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank, says the 20 best-performing US and European stocks have delivered an average return year-to-date of 148 per cent, measured in local currency terms.

Online marketplace Etsy was the best performer with a return of 330.6 per cent, followed by communications software company Sinch (315.4 per cent), online supermarket HelloFresh (232.8 per cent) and fuel cells specialist NEL (191.7 per cent).

Mr Garnry says digital companies benefited from the lockdown, while green energy firms flew as efforts to combat climate change were ramped up, helped in part by the European Union’s green deal. 

Electric car company Tesla would be on the list if it had been part of the S&P 500 Index, but it only joined on December 21. “Tesla has become one of the most valuable companies in the world this year as demand for electric vehicles has grown dramatically,” Mr Garnry says.

By contrast, the 20 worst-performing European stocks fell 54 per cent on average, with European banks hit by the economic fallout from the pandemic, while cruise liners and airline stocks suffered due to travel restrictions.

As demand for energy fell, the oil and gas industry had a tough year, too.

Mr Garnry says the biggest story this year was the “absolute crunch” in so-called value stocks, companies that trade at low valuations compared to their earnings and growth potential.

He says they are “heavily tilted towards financials, miners, energy, utilities and industrials, which have all been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic”. “The last year saw these cheap stocks become cheaper and expensive stocks have become more expensive.” 

This has triggered excited talk about the “great value rotation” but Mr Garnry remains sceptical. “We need to see a breakout of interest rates combined with higher inflation before we join the crowd.”

Always remember that past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Last year’s winners often turn out to be this year’s losers, and vice-versa.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Kinetic 7
Started: 2018
Founder: Rick Parish
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Industry: Clean cooking
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Self-funded

THE SPECS

Engine: 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 hybrid
Power: 653hp at 5,400rpm
Torque: 800Nm at 1,600-5,000rpm
Transmission: 8-speed auto
0-100kph in 4.3sec
Top speed 250kph
Fuel consumption: NA
On sale: Q2 2023
Price: From Dh750,000

CHINESE GRAND PRIX STARTING GRID

1st row
Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

2nd row
Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes-GP)
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

3rd row
Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing)
Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull Racing)

4th row
Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)
Sergio Perez (Force India)

5th row
Carlos Sainz Jr (Renault)
Romain Grosjean (Haas)

6th row
Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
Esteban Ocon (Force India)

7th row
Fernando Alonso (McLaren)
Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren)

8th row
Brendon Hartley (Toro Rosso)
Sergey Sirotkin (Williams)

9th row
Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso)
Lance Stroll (Williams)

10th row
Charles Leclerc (Sauber)
arcus Ericsson (Sauber)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: ASI (formerly DigestAI)

Started: 2017

Founders: Quddus Pativada

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Artificial intelligence, education technology

Funding: $3 million-plus

Investors: GSV Ventures, Character, Mark Cuban