Swiss Islamic intellectual Tariq Ramadan faced a second accusation of rape in France this week, giving rise to vitriolic attacks on his accusers on social media.
A second legal complaint for rape was filed against Ramadan, who is a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at the UK’s Oxford University, on Thursday.
The plaintiff is not speaking to the media, according to her lawyer, Eric Morain, but both Le Parisien and Le Monde newspapers say they have seen the complaint and report that she has supplied doctors’ certificates to back up her account of an assault in a hotel in a provincial French city.
On 20 October Henda Ayari, a former Salafist who has become a secular feminist, accused Ramadan of raping her as the fallout from the scandal over Hollywood film moghul Harvey Weinstein hit France.
Ramadan, who is the grandson of the founder of Egypt’s Muslim Brothers, has denied her accusations and sue for libel but had not responded to the second allegation by Sunday.
He is a controversial figure in France, enjoying some support among the country’s Muslims while his opponents suspect him of wanting to bring Islam into politics.
Some of his supporters laid into Ayari on social media this week.
Some insinuated that if the assault had taken place it was her own fault, claiming that Islam forbids a woman to be alone with a man.
Others claim that Ramadan is a victim of “international Zionism” and claim the charges have been “fabricated by Jews”.