Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan in custody in France amid rape claims

In this May 8, 2007, file photo, Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan speaks during a debate at the Swiss Television in Geneva. (AP Photo/Keystone, Salvatore Di Nolfi, File; caption amended by RNS)

PARIS (AP) — A French judicial official says a prominent Swiss Islamic scholar is in police custody over allegations of rape and sexual assault.

The Paris prosecutor’s office is investigating the case against Tariq Ramadan, who has denied any wrongdoing.

Le Monde and Le Parisien newspapers reported last year that two women recently filed complaints in France against Ramadan for an alleged rape in 2009 and an assault in 2012. The judicial official confirmed that two lawsuits have been filed against Ramadan.

In the wake of the investigation, Ramadan took a leave of absence from Oxford University, where his website says he is professor of contemporary Islamic studies.

A leading authority on Islam, Ramadan has written numerous books on the faith and the integration of Muslims in Europe.

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The Associated Press