PARIS — In many respects, the subject of France’s biggest abuse scandal is similar to several of the men named in assault allegations on the other side of the Atlantic.
He’s a prominent figure and operates in the progressive worlds of academia and journalism. But in one significant way, the “Ramadan affair” is different.
Tariq Ramadan — accused of raping two women here — is among the most controversial Muslim personalities in a France still struggling to define the role of religion, and especially Islam, in public life. As an added twist, Ramadan’s accusers in France are also Muslims.
The case has moved beyond the claims — and is now fixated instead on Ramadan’s defenses of Islam. Some see them as important contributions to Western multiculturalism, and others dismiss them as incompatible with French ideals of secularism and assimilation.