Worldwide women are finally rising up against sexual abuse by men who have power – however great or small that power is. A recent addition to the long list is religious scholar and media showman, Tariq Ramadan.
Complicit Silence in Mauritius?
This case, though over two weeks old now, has not been mentioned yet, to our knowledge, by any journalist or editorialist of the Press or other mainstream media outlets.
Employed at St Anthony’s College in Oxford, Mr. Ramadan is the “chouchou” of the French media, a kind of television star preaching a form of Islam that some of the French elite want to hear. He has also been the “chouchou” of the Mauritian Francophile media. But, he is meanwhile known for saying outright rubbish like, “I’m in favour of struggling for a secular state in countries where Muslims are in a minority” (sic) and is notorious for his refusal to condemn the sentencing to death of women by stoning, calling only for a moratorium. These give the lie to his “progressive stance”, as do many other of his public pronouncements. Since 20 October, four women – three in France and one in Belgium – have begun to denounce Tariq Ramadan for serious sexual aggression. Others accuse him of leading a whole “double-life”.
All media cover the case, not Mauritian media
Accusations against him for sexual assault have been reported in all the French and British media outlets, including the BBC, RF1, France 24, and all the rest of the world media, including Arabic sites, Al-Jazeera in English, and in the USA’s New York Times and Washington Post – to name just a few. So, women are warned in all these countries that there are allegations of severe sexual violence against this religious man, who has privileged access to vulnerable women. But women are not warned in Mauritius. Even though the scholar often visits Mauritius – at one time, he came every year – and he holds conferences, which are the place, it seems, where he recruits victims.
He says the allegations are all lies.
French State knew about Tariq Ramadan’s sexual violence and aggression
“Visé par deux plaintes pour viols: qui est vraiment Tariq Ramadan?” the Nouvelle Observateur has a title ten days after the first charges i.e. on 30 October, 2017. The article continues about what the former chief of secret services for Islamic affairs at the Ministry of the Interior knew: “Bernard Godard, expert de l’Islam en France, était lui aussi au courant de faits relevant du harcèlement sexuel. ‘Qu’il avait beaucoup de maîtresses, qu’il consultait des sites, que des filles étaient amenées à l’hôtel à la fin de ses conférences, qu’il en invitait à se déshabiller, que certaines résistaient et qu’il pouvait devenir violent et agressif, ça oui. Mais je n’ai jamais entendu parler de viols. J’en suis abasourdi’, confie-t-il à l’Obs.”
In France, it seems, the definition of “rape” remains Medieval – at least for this chief of Renseignements Généreaux for Islamic affairs from 1997-2014. Clearly, he is attempting to cover up for the French State knowing about Tariq Ramadan’s serial sexual assaults, and choosing to remain silent.
World-wide Twitter Campaign
The charges against Tariq Ramadan come in the midst of a rebellion by women, called the #MeToo campaign in the US, or the #BalanceTonPorc campaign in France, referring to male chauvinist predators.
In Mauritius, denunciation of some males for violence, but not all males
In Mauritius, people still glorify sexually violent males, even today.
They may finally, and when politically expedient, denounce Ravi Rutnah for calling a woman journalist a “female dog” or Kalyan Tarolah for sending and receiving sextos from a young woman seeking work. But, they seem not to have a general principle of denouncing this type of language and behaviour. And some perpetrators are given “press pardons”. Tariq Ramadan seems to be one such. There is rarely investigative journalism in Mauritius on males in power about their predatory behaviour.
Violence of trade unionist
Editorialists, who we in LALIT know are informed about extreme verbal violence of a trade unionist, for example, continue not just to cover up for him, but to promote the man. We know they know because we shared out the senior journalists amongst leading members of LALIT, and each went to visit them individually (and did the same for unionists), armed with written proof of a three-stage verbal assault on women by this trade unionist, Jack Bizlall.
Stage One was at a public meeting, where his violent language was something never heard before or since at a public meeting. When LALIT criticized this violence against women, and did so in measured tones, what was his reaction?
A second dose of even worse anti-woman violence. He wrote the most deviously aggressive, intentionally sadistic A2-sized tract against two women members of LALIT, the most violent misogynist diatribe anyone had ever read before.
Then, when LALIT’s women’s commission replied, again in measured tones, what was his reaction?
The third hurling of abuse.
He faxed a hideously violent letter from a travel agent’s office in Rodrigues to the LALIT women’s Commission members. Details of all three outbursts are in the public domain for all journalists and trade unionist to consult, on LALIT’s website.
Yet recently, L’Express (27 August) publishes Bizlall saying he was supposedly “agressé” by Lindsey Collen! Journalists, in their favour, were quick to spot that Rutnah had not been insulted first by a woman journalist saying he “aboyer”, as he claimed in his feeble defence. But, it is shocking that this kind of lie by Bizlall should be published when the whole history of Bizlall’s aggression is public on the internet. This lie is gaily published alongside some other basically misogynist garbage by L’Express. Talk about journalism that is complicit with the perpetrator of anti-woman violence!
Jack Bizlall’s fellow trade unionists are much more informed than we are about the man.
When we went to see them, one by one, concerned about the violent verbal abuse of the A2 tract, all we met with from trade unionists was, “Sa, pa naryin sa!” What other women have suffered is hundred times worse, they say. And then they would inform us of behaviour we had no idea existed. Indeed a hundred times worse.
And yet they promote him. Just as journalists do. One calls the predator his “guru”; others use him as ally, or even as negotiator of final resort. And while they may tell us they ban him from their own homes because they have a young daughter, they do not offer the same level of protection to young women in their unions and federations who might go to see him when they are vulnerable due to work problems.
Recently on our site, we once again (in a news article of 21 September, 2017) drew attention to the original violent attacks by Jack Bizlall – against women in general at the public meeting, and then against LALIT women members in two attacks.
Here is a place to start your research, if you would like to be informed:
Then use the search engine on the site for the women’s commission letter.
Background of Harvey Weinstein exposure
To return to Tariq Ramadan: The testimony against Tariq Ramadan was inspired by the recent exposure by Hollywood stars of the predatory behaviour of the now disgraced high-flyer producer, Harvey Weinstein. He, too everyone knew about, but covered up. He has skipped the country, and, to his credit, announced he is seeking psychiatric help.
Before this, there was the serial denunciation of totally disgraced ex-IMF Boss and Ex-Future-French President of the Republic Dominique Strauss-Kahn. He was so long at his abuse of women that he was finally exposed for having abused a colleague Socialist woman MP and then a generation later, her own daughter! He has remained largely unrepentant, France being very reactionary socially, in its continued Feudal confusion between, inter alia, “private life” and “sexual assault”.
There is also anger amongst women all over the world about Donald Trump’s apparent “impunity” for his generalized misogyny, and then even after being caught on tape making much of his own sexual aggression on women.
There was also the recent disgrace of BBC’s superstar Jimmy Savile – coming years after his death.
Fox News Bosses and House of Cards star
More recently there has been the sacking of Fox News bosses, Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes. House of Cards production has now stopped temporarily altogether after Kevin Spacey has been accused of sexual abuse on young men, and has taken leave for treatment.
UK Defence Minister
Saturday last there was the resignation of Theresa May’s Defence Minister Michael Fallon in the UK. The only public denunciation is that he put his hand on a woman journalist’s knee. As many as 40 Conservative MPs are under scrutiny for sexual harassment. There are also Labour and other MPs on the list.
Tariq Ramadan denounced?
Many of the above cases have been denounced in the Mauritian press, in the international pages, but not yet the allegations against Tariq Ramadan, even though there are already formal criminal charges being prepared against him now. There is also a long-term background of suspicion of his “double vie”.
First formal complaint
Henda Ayari, the first victim to come forward, recounts her experience in 2 or 3 minutes on video, at http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x66vbci
She has also quite rightly called for St Anthony’s College, Oxford University, to suspend Tariq Ramadan from his job there during any case and then, if he is found guilty, to fire him.
Second formal complaint
A second woman came forward with formal charges. She is someone who uses crutches. She relates an aggression not too different in style – in a hotel, his blaming her for the violence, making her stay the night – and then she gives an account of even more violence, beatings and sexual assault of extreme violence and humiliation. She has medical reports of her assault. “La plaignante raconte encore avoir été contrainte à pratiquer une fellation et avoir été forcée à un acte sexuel douloureux. ‘J’ai hurlé de douleur en criant stop’, a-t-elle dit dans sa plainte. Elle aurait également été trainée par les cheveux par le théologien jusqu'à la salle de bain où elle aurait subi d’autres humiliations.” (Paris Match, 27 October.)
Since then, there have been two other women who have spoken out publicly.
Background of “double vie” and journalists being informed
Meanwhile, the editorialist at the publication, Marianne, who has followed Tariq Ramadan for many years, Christine Fourier, says in an article on 27 October, 2017 entitled, “Le Double Vie de Tariq Ramadan” that, “Il m'a fallu des années pour démontrer le double discours de Tariq Ramadan. Depuis 2009, je savais qu'il menait aussi une double vie, à l'opposé de ses nombreux sermons sur la “conception islamique de la sexualité”. Pourtant, je n'ai pas pu l'écrire. Les faits les plus graves ne pouvaient être révélés sans preuves solides, sans qu'une victime porte plainte. ... Mais j'ai alerté des confrères et même des lieutenants de Ramadan. Rien ne se passait.” Ms Fourier has heard details from four women victims. There are two other journalists who have heard victims tell of the assault they suffered. The photographer Jean-Claude Elfassi has heard of about ten victims – all showing the same pattern of extreme brutality in their accounts. Since 2012, “I have read five or six accounts of violent assault on women”, Ian Hamel, journalist and writer of a book on Tariq Ramadan says.
3 November, 2017.