Muslim scholar questioned by French police over rape claims

Islam scholar Tariq Ramadan'held in France over rape accusations

He is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt, Hassan al-Banna.

He was taken into custody in Paris over claims made by two women past year.

According to his official website, Ramadan is a scholar, president of think thank European Muslim Network in Brussels and director of the Research Centre for Islamic Legislation and Ethics in Doha, Qatar.

"He choked me so hard that I thought I was going to die", she told Le Parisien newspaper.

A second unnamed woman on Friday also accused Ramadan of raping her in a hotel room in 2009.

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Mr Ramadan, 55, denies wrongdoing and is suing one of his accusers, Henda Ayari, a former radical Islamist who now heads a secular feminist group. I had a great admiration for him for years.

Ayari, who has renounced conservative Islam to become a self-described "secular Muslim", detailed her rape allegations in a book published past year, without naming Ramadan.

But in October she said she had chose to name him publicly, encouraged by the thousands of women speaking out against sexual assault and harassment under the "Me Too" online campaign and its French equivalent, "Balance Ton Porc" (Squeal on your pig).

Ayari then filed a formal complaint with police in Rouen. In November, he directed his lawyer to sue Ayari for defamation.

The allegations against Ramadan emerged in the aftermath of similar accusations made against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein, which emboldened dozens of women to come forward their own with stories of sexual harassment and assault.