Germany’s Rüdiger explains gesture, won’t be vilified as an Islamist

Berlin, March 28, (dpa/GNA) – Germany defender Antonio Rüdiger has dismissed Islamism allegations in connection with a social media post at the start of the Muslim fasting period of Ramadan adn defended his decision to take legal action.

Rüdiger, a practising Muslim, posted a photo of himself in a white robe on a prayer mat on March 11 on Instagram, with his right index finger pointing up, and the caption “May the almighty accept our fasting and prayers.”

Julian ReichSports Rudiger Gesture
elt, the former editor in chief of the Bild daily who now works for the Nius portal, said on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday that the raised index finger was a Islamist gesture.

That prompted Rüdiger and the DFB to take legal action. Rüdiger filed a criminal complaint – relating to insult/defamation, inciting offence and incitement to hatred – to the Berlin prosecutors office and the German Football Federation DFB reported the case to Germany’s Central Unit for the Suppression of Internet Crime (ZIT).

Rüdiger did not comment during the international break where he played for the Germany in victories over France and the Netherlands, but issued a statement late Wednesday via Bild.

“In the last few days, the photo has been used by individuals to make unfounded accusations,” the Real Madrid player said.

“The gesture I have used is the so-called tauhid finger. In Islam, this is considered a symbol of the unity and uniqueness of God. The gesture is widespread among Muslims all over the world and has only recently been categorised as unproblematic by the interior ministry.

“As a devout Muslim, I practise my faith, but I firmly distance myself from any kind of extremism and accusations of Islamism. Violence and terrorism are absolutely unacceptable. I am in favour of peace and tolerance,” Rüdiger said.

Rüdiger acknowledged that he had given third parties the opportunity to deliberately misinterpret his post “in order to divide and polarise.

“However, I will not provide a platform for division and radicalisation, which is why I have decided to make a clear statement after our two successful international matches,” he said.

“At the same time, I will not allow myself to be insulted and vilified as an Islamist. That’s why I decided to press charges. This is a case of propaganda and division; I will always stand up to this.”