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Call for inquiry into Tariq Ramadan’s actions at Swiss school

A picture of Tariq Ramadan taken during a TV debate
Ramadan is accused of having had inappropriate relations with several of his pupils, specifically with minors. Keystone

A letter sent to the local educational authorities on Sunday has called for an administrative inquiry into Tariq Ramadan’s behaviour during his time as a teacher at a Geneva school. 

The letter was addressed to canton Geneva’s head of public education and to the president of the cantonal parliament. It referred to Ramadan’s time as a teacher at the Collège de SaussureExternal link, a secondary school in Geneva, in the 1990s.

Institutional failures

Ramadan is accused of having had inappropriate relations with several students whilst teaching there, specifically with minors, as Swiss Public Radio RTS reported on Sunday.  The authorities, including the school’s head at the time, had allegedly been alerted to the misconduct by several students, but did not take any action against Ramadan, according to RTS. The school’s head teacher at the time is now the secretary general of the department of education.

“Institutional silence can no longer be tolerated”, the letter stated.  It was signed by some well-known figures in French-speaking Switzerland, including the writer-reporter Laurence Deonna, feminist scholar Rina Nissim and politician François Lefort.

+ Read more about the accusations against Tariq Ramadan

The signatories demanded that an administrative inquiry be opened immediately to analyse “the institutional dysfunctions and the system’s failure to protect Tariq Ramadan’s students.”

Legal limitations

Despite hearing several students’ testimonies against Ramadan, the relevant authorities had so far failed to respond, “hiding behind the statute of limitations on criminal proceedings” and “thus exploiting the victim’s fear and relying on the silence of Ramadan’s entourage”.

The public education department’s spokesperson, Pierre-Antoine Preti, said on Sunday that an administrative inquiry could only be opened by the cantonal government and only against employees who are currently in office.


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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR