Call off the dogs

So has the time now come to call off the dogs? After a year denying any kind of relationship with the two plaintiffs — and mobilising 200,000 supporters to attack the women as liars — the accused now admits sexual relationships, apparently violent in nature, with both of them. Yes, this is his new defence: he had these relationships, but they were consensual and desired by both sides. Yes, despite calling the second plaintiff a mythomaniac just two weeks ago and denying that he was the author of text messages in which he apologised for his violence.

The defence strategy takes a new tack today: to give up denying any kind of relationship and focus on proving that the relationships were consensual instead. Good for him. Activists who present themselves as ardent defenders of God’s law have already decided that this strategy is a good one: they will continue to cover for him, come what may. He is charged with rape under French law, and that is all that matters. A year of lies upon lies, in which the plaintiffs have been slandered in every possible way by his supporters, are of no concern to our activists. Nor his multiple affairs, his virtual games of seduction, his predilection for sadist encounters: still they defend their man, continuing to publish articles which paint the plaintiffs as clear liars and the accused as an innocent victim.

The question of consent, as I have always said, will be difficult to prove one way or the other. It may well be that the acts which the plaintiffs describe were consensual — at least at the start — and the court may well find in the accused’s favour. As I say, good for him. Let the court case run its course.

My concern is the behaviour of our partisan activists in this sordid affair. For a year, they have been covering for him, consistently presenting one side of the story, repeating unfounded lies ad nauseam. Soon they will begin work on rehabilitating his reputation, to enable him to talk about the power of Islam to reform souls again before vast audiences all around the world. His hundreds of thousands of supporters will once again be mobilised to go on defending him, and to continue the attacks on the plaintiffs and those that support them.

How odd, for a people who claim to defend good and prohibit evil, who present themselves as activists in the way of God. They have proved themselves to be no such thing. Rather, they have shown themselves to be people who cover the truth. I would say to them, “Call off the dogs!” But I know that this plea is futile. We have already revealed the kind of people we are.

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