French-bashing is one of the few pleasures still allowed in Europe nowadays, and it seems a bit unkind to deprive you of it. Sadly, a recent piece, by Peter Oborne, accuses the entire French justice system of treating Tariq Ramadan, the sometime academic, stealth Islamist, serial liar and alleged rapist, like a latter-day hero from Les Misérables, supposedly “rotting” in a French jail as a victim of the complete “abandonment of due process”. Not quite.
Ramadan, the grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan Al-Banna, pretends to be “moderate”. Yet he has recently argued that FGM, for instance, is a cultural tradition of Muslims, or that corporal punishments including stoning of adulterous women in Islam ought to be the object of a “moratorium” to examine their implications (rather than banned). British Prime Minister Tony Blair apparently bought into the fiction that here was the kind of westernised Muslim he needed on an advisory board to his government; and Ramadan got a Qatar-financed chair of sorts at Oxford.
Early in 2018, Ramadan got caught in a #MeToo tsunami, with woman after woman coming forward to explain in strikingly similar terms how he used them for rough sex and threatened them afterwards should they dare to talk about it. (He denies the rough part; he has admitted to having sex with at least five of these women; and he has also admitted in judicial hearings that he has forked out €27,000 in hush money to his Belgian accuser.)