“If you thought it was challenging for women to come forward and accuse Harvey Weinstein of rape, consider accusing the Islamic theologian Tariq Ramadan”, wrote Sylvie Kauffman, the former editor of Le Monde.
Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Bana, is a Swiss lecturer on Islam with millions of followers and one of Time Magazine’s “men of the year”. Accused of rape by three women, however, Ramadan is now in custody of the French police. In denying the allegations of sexual violence, his #MeToo case has turned into a political and religious affair.
The Algerian writer Kamel Daoud summarized the response of the Arab-Islamic world to the Ramadan affair: “Silence, discomfort, embarrassment and theories of mass conspiracy”.
The Muslim communities likely know what is at stake in the case of Ramadan, which the Muslim sociologist Omero Marongiu-Perria has called a “crumbling myth”. But if the Muslims’ silence and defense of Tariq Ramadan is something regrettable, Western silence is worse.