Now that Tariq Ramadan is in police custody over alleged multiple, strikingly violent, rapes, let’s cut right to the chase, and recall Mona Eltahawy’s brilliant Foreign Policy essay on the widespread hatred of women by men in the Middle East.

Name me an Arab country, and I’ll recite a litany of abuses fueled by a toxic mix of culture and religion that few seem willing or able to disentangle lest they blaspheme or offend. When more than 90 percent of ever-married women in Egypt — including my mother and all but one of her six sisters — have had their genitals cut in the name of modesty, then surely we must all blaspheme. When Egyptian women are subjected to humiliating “virginity tests” merely for speaking out, it’s no time for silence. When an article in the Egyptian criminal code says that if a woman has been beaten by her husband “with good intentions” no punitive damages can be obtained, then to hell with political correctness. And what, pray tell, are “good intentions”? They are legally deemed to include any beating that is “not severe” or “directed at the face.” What all this means is that when it comes to the status of women in the Middle East, it’s not better than you think. It’s much, much worse. Even after these “revolutions,” all is more or less considered well with the world as long as women are covered up, anchored to the home, denied the simple mobility of getting into their own cars, forced to get permission from men to travel, and unable to marry without a male guardian’s blessing — or divorce either.

How can anyone be surprised that, according to several women who have now spoken out, a man who refuses to condemn stoning female adulterers, a man who wrote the preface to “a book that cites the Qur’anic passage enjoining husbands to beat their wives under certain circumstances,” allegedly carried out particularly thorough and vicious assaults against women? And these were women who approached him to tell him how much his work meant to them.

French journalist Caroline Fourest (catch her film, Red Snake, about women soldiers fighting ISIS, when it comes out) began hearing from victims years and years ago (she wrote a high-profile book attacking Ramadan for other reasons). Rumors have abounded for years and years. And yet this country tried in 2004 to recruit him to a professorship at – of all places – the University of Notre Dame, and only evil Homeland Security’s refusal to let him come here kept Notre Dame from offering the same hearty defenses of him that Oxford University ultimately offered.

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