Oxford University has said the prominent Muslim academic, Professor Tariq Ramadan, has taken a leave of absence after two women filed complaints against him in France alleging rape.
The university said in a statement: “By mutual agreement, and with immediate effect, Tariq Ramadan, Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies, has taken a leave of absence from the University of Oxford.”
Professor Ramadan’s teaching, supervising and examining duties will also be reassigned, and he will not be present at the University or College.
The statement added: “The University has consistently acknowledged the gravity of the allegations against Professor Ramadan, while emphasising the importance of fairness and the principles of justice and due process.
“An agreed leave of absence implies no presumption or acceptance of guilt and allows Professor Ramadan to address the extremely serious allegations made against him, all of which he categorically denies, while meeting our principal concern – addressing heightened and understandable distress, and putting first the wellbeing of our students and staff.”
The Geneva-born academic, the grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna, has denied allegations made by the two women, including author Henda Ayari, who said he raped her at a Muslim convention in 2012.
The Paris prosecutor last month opened a preliminary probe over the accusations following Ayari’s complaint. Ramadan filed a counter complaint for slander against her.
On Tuesday, Ramadan published on his Facebook page the same statement as Oxford University, adding that he welcomed the university’s handling of the situation.
He said: “I salute the position taken by Oxford University since this matter first arose. The University has defended the principle of presumption of innocence without minimising the gravity of the allegations against me.
“The University has always considered it imperative to respond to students’ questions and to ensure their security.
“Contrary to reports in the French-language press, I have taken leave of absence upon mutual agreement with Oxford University, which will permit me to devote my energies to my defence while respecting students’ need for a calm academic environment.”