The Tariq Ramadan Affair (Part 2) – Henda and Christelle

 

The best of you are those who are best to women – Muhammad

In part one of this series, I delved into the case of Henda Ayari, and why I believe she is truthful in her allegations.

  • She made the claims of rape consistently over 2016 and into 2017 when she named her attacker as Tariq Ramadan.  In 2012, she told Salim Laibi and Alain Soral about Ramadan’s attack. To suggest her statements are fabricated is to suggest she’s been planning a multi-year conspiracy to attack Ramadan.
  • Some have claimed she made up the allegations in light of the #MeToo movement knowing people would believe her claims as other allegations by women turned out to be true and to attack Ramadan. Her autobiography describing her rape is documented and predates the #MeToo movement by a year, and she contacted Salim Laibi and Alain Soral in 2012, so this is no opportunistic claim.
  • Her account of her attack closely matches the criminal pattern in accounts of his other accusers
  • If she lied, then her career and activism would be destroyed when exposed
  • Some have said she’s lying as she’s an “ex-Muslim”, but she identifies herself as a “proud Muslim woman” who is a feminist activist for Muslim women, and Ramadan’s website promotes women’s rights within Islam as well.[1] If they are both French activists for Muslim women’s rights (and Ramadan is honest in his public persona not like what Christelle, Caroline Fourest, and others claim), then it would be strange for Henda to make a false rape accusation to defame Ramadan for only some disagreements in the particulars of belief when they’re working towards the same goal – improve the status of French Muslim women.
  • By stating publicly Ramadan raped her she’s put herself in physical danger. Ayari entered into police protection in November of 2017 after receiving death threats. [2]
  • She described conversations on Facebook, Skype, and possibly by text and phone. French authorities interviewed people close to Ayari and reviewed the messages exchanged between her and Ramadan. [2A]
  • Henda would know the reaction to her accusing Ramadan would be disbelief, slander, and threats.

This is why I think Henda is truthful.

Let’s examine the case of the second woman he’s charged with raping who is being called “Christelle”.

Christelle

Christelle is the pseudonym for the second woman he is being held for allegedly raping.  She is reported as having a disability in her legs.  She gave a candid interview to the French version of the Magazine Vanity Fair detailing her rape and the circumstances thereof.

Christelle first began contact with Ramadan on New Year’s Eve of 2008 after he responded to a New Year’s greeting she sent to her Facebook contacts. She had converted to Islam that same year.  The two began an intimate relationship talking over Skype and telephone.  By September of 2009, their relationship escalated and Ramadan initiated a “temporary marriage” over Skype.

On October 9th, she planned to meet him at a hotel for an Islamic conference in the city of Lyon. She met with Ramadan for coffee and he became nervous of people noticing the two and suggested they go upstairs to his room to chat.  In the room, she reports Ramadan began to beat her, sodomized her, raped her with an object, and pulled her by her hair and urinated on her. [3] Ramadan then allegedly put her clothes at a height she could not reach so she would not be able to escape.  [4]

Christelle accused Ramadan of rape in October of 2017 shortly after Henda Ayari made similar accusations.  In February of 2018, Ramadan was questioned by the French authorities for the assaults of Henda Ayari and Christelle, and then he was ultimately arrested, charged and imprisoned.[2B]  Ramadan was denied bail as a flight risk and is awaiting trial.[5]

Many have alleged the charges against Ramadan are baseless and he is wrongfully imprisoned simply as a result of racism and Islamaphobia.  The proceedings of the court are quite discreet, however, it does seem there is sufficient evidence to charge Ramadan for the rapes and an extensive investigation was launched by the French government.

Christelle underwent three hours of testimony in front of a judge in Ramadan’s presence in February.  A considerable amount of evidence appears to exist against Ramadan in the rape case of Christelle.

  • She noted in her testimony Ramadan has a scar on his genitals which she could not have known unless they were in intimate contact with each other[2C]
  • She told Vanity Fair she was seen drinking coffee with Ramadan by onlookers which made Ramadan nervous. This means there are potential witnesses who could place Ramadan at the hotel with Christelle around the time she says she was assaulted and one man has already come forward. [3A]
  • Christelle also says in the Vanity Fair piece Ramadan was receiving phone calls from journalists asking for his opinion on Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. It seems improbable she would know this detail unless she was with Ramadan that day as she says. [3B]
  • Vanity Fair states Christelle showed the reporter pictures of her swollen and deformed face after the attack. [3C]
  • There are the records of phone, Skype and Facebook conversations between Christelle and Ramadan. [3D]  According to Qantara, “During three months of investigations since the allegations emerged, police have interviewed dozens of people close to both Ramadan and the two women and examined email and social media exchanges between them.” [2D]
  • Christelle states Ramadan messaged her the day after the attack [3E]
  • Christelle also attempted to file a police report regarding the attack in November of 2009 [3F]
  • Christelle sought medical treatment after her attack [3G]
  • Reported in Al-Arabiya, ““Christelle” said that she had narrated her experience to her friends and presented messages establishing the fact. Her friends in turn had expressed their shock during their replies.” [6]
  • Ramadan and his legal team alleged he was not in Lyon at the time of the attack and he did not arrive until later that night, but a statement from a witness has contradicted this claim. “Last week, a witness said that he and a colleague had gone to Lyon’s Saint-Exupéry airport to collect him and had met him at around 11:35 – 11:40 a.m. inside the airport, according to one of the investigators. The witness said that they then dropped Ramadan at around 12:15 p.m. at the Hilton hotel where the accuser claims she was assaulted.” [7] [8]
  • An email from Ramadan’s team in 2009 supported that he took an earlier flight to Lyon, and his itinerary has surfaced showing he was on the Madrid to Lyon flight which arrived at 11:15 am.[9]

Henda and Christelle Named Ramadan as their Attacker Prior to 2017

Henda and Christelle made statements about their rape by Ramadan before their accusations were made public in 2017. After her attack in 2009, Christelle contacted Alain Soral, a French anti-Zionist activist whose writings and website were introduced to her by Ramadan, and told him how Ramadan had assaulted her.  Vanity Fair reports:

Christelle lui envoie un message sur sa page Facebook avec son numéro de téléphone. Il la rappelle. «  J’ai déjà été contacté par deux autres femmes, je te crois  »

This translates too, “Christelle sent him a message on his Facebook page with her telephone number. He calls her back, “I have previously been contacted by two other women. I believe you.”  Christelle’s claim

Christelle also contacted Salim Laibi according to Vanity Fair. [3H]

Christelle also contacted Caroline Fourest after her alleged rape.  Christelle states she was raped on October 9th, 2009.  A Skype conversation occurred between Christelle and a friend three weeks later on October 24th, 2009.  In this conversation, the friend suggests Christelle should contact Caroline Fourest about the rape by Ramadan and she agrees.  The other woman notes Fourest is debating him a few weeks later in November of 2009.  Two days later on October 26th, 2009, Christelle messaged her friend to confirm Fourest has replied to her message. A news article states Christelle said she first met Fourest on November 15th, 2009, one day before the debate. †

Fourest states on her personal blog she was aware of the allegations of sexual misconduct by Ramadan since 2009 [10], the same year Christelle states she was raped.  Fourest and Ramadan’s public debate was set to occur on November 16th, 2009.  [11]  Fourest’s blog says a woman contacted her accusing Ramadan of rape on an unspecified date before her November 16th debate with Ramadan. Fourest initially refused to believe the woman thinking it might be a ploy to undermine her in her debate against Ramadan.  The woman’s messages became more detailed, and Fourest met her in person to clarify the issue on November 15th, the day before her debate with Ramadan.  The woman introduced Fourest to three other women who claimed abuse by Ramadan. Fourest states, “She [Christelle] showed me text messages and pictures that confirmed her allegations against Ramadan.”[10A]  The German-Muslim newspaper Qantara confirms French authorities in the rape investigation against Ramadan “examined email and social media exchanges between them [Ayari and Christelle to Ramadan].” [2E]  Christelle spoke to her friends after the rape and showed them messages confirming the incident with Ramadan. [6A]  So after her rape by Ramadan, Christelle and one of the friends planned to out Ramadan for the rape by contacting Fourest, who wrote the 2007 book, Frère Tariq, where she accused Ramadan of dishonesty in his writings, apparently hoping Fourest would bring up his sexual misconduct in the debate to attack Ramadan.  Fourest declined to mention this in the debate or write about this, saying, “I had enough evidence to demonstrate the duplicity of Tariq Ramadan without entering such a sordid area.”[10B]

On Fourest’s French-language blog, she confirms she had previously been in contact with Christelle and began contact again after Henda and Christelle’s accusations surfaced publicly.[12]

Ayari had of course written about her attack in her 2016 autobiography, but likewise had contacted Soral and Laibi after her attack in 2012. [3I]

The accusations of rape are clearly not recently fabricated or spontaneous claims by Henda or Christelle, and they show remarkable similarities to each other.  Ramadan started the relationships by reaching out to the victims on Facebook.  Then, he started chatting with them on Skype. Finally, he lured them into the privacy of different hotel rooms and violently physically and sexually assaulted both women.

Why is He Being Held? – The Others

I believe the French government has more reasons they are holding Ramadan than simply fear of him skipping town.

They know Henda and Cristelle are not Ramadan’s only two victims in France or in the world. 

Henda Ayari’s lawyer, Jonas Haddad, has implied the existence of more victims, “If there are other victims in France or elsewhere, they now know that the justice system will respond to what has happened to them.”

The Qantara article continues, “Women who have testified anonymously during three months of preliminary investigations might now also file rape complaints”, one of the sources said.” There is an unknown number of additional women who were assaulted by Ramadan and testified against him. [2F]

Alain Soral said in reply to Christelle contacting him about her rape he had previously been contacted by two different women saying Ramadan assaulted them. Ayari’s rape occurred in 2012 while Christelle was raped in 2009 so Ayari cannot be one of these two anonymous women. These are two anonymous women who say they were attacked by Ramadan.  [3J]  No women that I know of have publicly accused Ramadan of sexual abuse in France around 2009 besides Christelle.

According to Fourest, Christelle put her in contact in 2009 with three other women who said Ramadan engaged in sexual misconduct with them.  [10C]

I do not know the particulars of how Christelle came into contact with these women. I believe it’s possible Alain Soral gave Christelle the information of the two other women who approached him, but I cannot know what overlap there is, if any, between the two women who complained to Soral and the three others to Fourest.  Here are the potentials:

  • The two anonymous women who spoke to Soral also spoke to Fourest. Plus Christelle, this is only three women. That means there’s one additional victim in France who made known accusations around 2009. Three anonymous victims from 2009 (not including Christelle).
  • One woman spoke only to Soral and not Fourest. The other woman who spoke to Soral also spoke with Fourest.  Christelle is known as having spoken with Fourest, meaning two unaccounted for victims.  Four anonymous victims (not including Christelle).
  • The two women who spoke to Soral are separate individuals than the ones who spoke to Fourest. Five anonymous victims in France around 2009 (not including Christelle).

Fourest states on her blog Ramadan initiated casual, religious relationships with the women which turned into relationships of violent and humiliating sexual obligation. He allegedly threatened the women into compliance.   Fourest felt one woman had been subjected to such violence by Ramadan that charges should be brought against him. She brought the woman to a judge, but the girl was too frightened to proceed. [10D]

In November of 2017, it was reported Bernard Godard, a French government official who was acquainted with Ramadan, knew of Ramadan’s misconduct with women, but not of any rapes.  The National reports, “”That he had many mistresses, that he consulted sites, that girls were brought to the hotel at the end of his lectures, that he invited them to undress, that some resisted and that he could become violent and aggressive, yes, but I have never heard of rapes, I am stunned,” he told French magazine L’Obs.”  [13]

Many supporters of Ramadan have claimed he is a victim of an over-zealous, racist, Islamaphobic government, but it appears members of the French government may have known of Ramadan’s sexual misconduct with women but did not act until recently.  Bernard Godard said he knew Ramadan would bring girls to his room and when the girls resisted he’d become violent and angry. It’s hard for me to believe Godard’s claim he’s “stunned” about the rapes when he knew Ramadan was sleeping with numerous women and seducing women, enticing them into a private space, and then would display anger and violence if they resisted his sexual advances.  To quote the National, “The claim puts the French authorities in a tricky position as it suggests they were aware of Mr Ramadan’s abusive behavior towards women but failed to act.” [13A] Christelle states she attempted to report Ramadan to the police in November of 2009. [3K] Caroline Fourest states she brought a woman before a judge to seek prosecution against Ramadan, but the woman was too frightened. [10E]  Ramadan’s aggressive behavior towards women wasn’t unknown to government officials, but they only acted definitively after Henda Ayari’s accusation.

Aisha Ali-Khan, a British women’s rights activist, was aware of Ramadan’s sexual misconduct with women going back to 2008. In 2011, she spoke to a British police officer about a potential case against Ramadan that was dropped. [14]

The statements made by Alain Soral, Caroline Fourest, Bernard Godard, and Aisha Ali-Khan all corroborate there are more victims then have come out publicly.  The French government also took the testimonies on Ramadan from an unspecified number of anonymous women. [6B]

In addition to the risk of him fleeing, I feel there is sufficient evidence to say the French government is holding him as they know he raped more than only two women, to show his still closeted victims they take this matter seriously, to build a stronger case against him, and most of all, embolden and encourage more women to step forward by jailing him until trial.

And it appears to be working.

On March 7th, a third French woman came forward alleging Ramadan repeatedly violently raped and humiliated her and she attempted to escape the relationship but was threatened by him.  [16]  Again, this claim correlates to numerous other accusations against Ramadan like his rape and strangling of Ayari, his threats against her, and his attempts to use Ayari for a continued sexual relationship.  It matches the story of Christelle who says she was raped, sodomized, beaten, and urinated on by Ramadan. It correlates to the accounts of the three additional anonymous women who spoke to Fourest and said Ramadan subjected them to violent and humiliating sexual acts and threatened them.

Around the same time, the American-Muslim attorney Rabia Chaudry said an American Muslim woman approached her with a complaint about Ramadan, and Chaudry referred the woman to an American federal prosecutor.[15] It was reported in The National that the woman accused Ramadan of pressing his genitals against her chest against her will. [16]

On April 13th, a woman from Switzerland accused Ramadan of raping her in a hotel room in Geneva.  Similar to other cases, the woman says Ramadan held her hostage in a hotel room and raped her. [17]

His continued imprisonment has led to several more women only in the past few weeks coming forward with alleged incidents of rape or sexual misconduct.

I believe one of the motivations of the French government in holding him in prison is the risk he presents to women.  Four women have publically accused him of rape in different cities and nations. One woman accused him of unwanted genital contact. Statements by various individuals indicate Ramadan was involved in other inappropriate sexual relationships with female followers.  There appears to be a number of anonymous women who have not publically accused him. Other accusations about his inappropriate sexual behavior exist as well (and I’ll address these later).  Releasing him puts women’s well-being in danger.  He is highly intelligent, charismatic, and manipulative and apparently engaged in violent and humiliating sexual behavior towards his female followers for years in various countries while evading prosecution.  This is not a man who should be released because of the risk he poses to women.

Revision April 15th, 2018: In the first posting of this article I stated the claims against Ramadan by the American woman were unknown. Today I found a newspaper specifying the accusations against him.  I also spoke of the four women who contacted Fourest, but have become aware through research the first woman to seek contact with her was Christelle.  I’ve edited the post to reflect these new discoveries.

Revision on July 27, 2018: I previously included a paragraph stating the Muslim organization related to the 2009 rape case voluntarily disclosed information outing Tariq Ramadan as lying about his alibi, but more research has indicated to me this information came about from interrogation by the French police, so I have removed that paragraph.

† I have opted not to link to this article because of its harmful contents.

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