Real Madrid defender, ANTONIO RUDIGER, hits back at former BILD editor who linked him with terrorists

Thursday, March 28, 2024
 – Antonio Rudiger has broken his silence after he was accused of supporting terrorism.

Earlier this month, Rudiger, a devout Muslim, posted a photo on Instagram of himself in a white robe on a prayer mat pointing the index finger of his right hand toward the sky.

The Real Madrid defender accompanied the post with the caption: 'Ramadan Mubarak to all Muslims around the world. May the almighty accept our fasting and prayers #AlwaysBelieve.'

However, on Sunday, former BILD editor Julian Reichelt hit out at Rudiger and accused him of links to terrorism.

He posted on X: 'For everyone who doesn't want to recognise Antonio Rudiger's Islamist greeting as an Islamist greeting: the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution calls this gesture the 'IS finger' and sees the index finger as a clear sign of Islamism.'

Rudiger and the German Football Association (DFB) have since announced they are taking legal action against Reichelt following his shocking claims.

On Wednesday evening, Rudiger spoke for the first time on the saga, hitting back at the 'unfounded accusations'

'To mark the beginning of Lent, I published a post on Instagram,' he told BILD. 'This has already been publicly viewable for 13 days (since March 11) and has reached several million followers without any criticism from anyone.

'But in recent days the photo has been used by individuals to make unfounded accusations.

'The gesture I used is called the tawheed 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 been classified as unproblematic by the Federal Ministry of the Interior in the last few days.

'As a devout Muslim, I practice my faith, but I firmly distance myself from any kind of extremism and accusations of Islamism. Violence and terrorism are absolutely unacceptable. I stand for peace and tolerance.

'Many of my family members belong to different religions. Nevertheless, we respect each other and celebrate religious festivals together. Respect and tolerance are fundamental principles that we all represent in our family.'

Rudiger continued to hit back at Reichelt and his supporters, while calling for an end to division in society.

He added: 'However, I also recognise that due to insufficient attention, I have given third parties the opportunity to deliberately misinterpret my posting in order to divide and polarize.

'But I will not offer a platform for division and radicalization, which is why I have decided to make a clear statement after our two successful international matches.

'At the same time, I will not allow myself to be insulted and denigrated as an Islamist. That's why I decided to file a report. This is about propaganda and division; I will always resolutely defend myself against this.

'I hope this clarification helps clear up misunderstandings and bring the truth to light. I would also like to thank the DFB, who supported me at all times in this matter.'

Rudiger's criminal complaint against Reichelt to the Berlin public prosecutor's office came 'because of insult or slander, inflammatory insult and sedition,' the complaint states.

The DFB also filed a complaint and reported the Reichelt tweet to the public prosecutor's office as 'hate speech'. BILD also received mail from Rudiger's lawyers.

In a letter to BILD editor-in-chief Marion Horn, they 'warn' against 'inflammatory statements to the detriment of our client'.

However, Reichelt issued a response on X on Monday night where he doubled down on his remarks on Rudiger.

He wrote: 'This gesture has been completely co-opted by terrorists over the last two decades. It has undisputedly become the greeting of ISIS and Islamist murderers all over the world, of people who also murdered in Berlin and bring disaster and immeasurable suffering to the world.

'Anyone who poses like this in public is consciously showing the greeting of fanatics and not an innocent, spiritual gesture. It is a normalization of a terrible ideology that has already taken over far too much space in this country.

'Also and especially because it's about a popular national player, you shouldn't allow yourself to be intimidated. It is important to point out that this political ideology goes against everything that our values ​​are.

'The raised index finger of Islamism, with which terrorists around the world celebrate their murders, does not belong to Germany. I will never let anyone stop me from saying that.'

When questioned on the meaning of the symbol, Germany's Federal Ministry of the Interior told BILD: 'From the perspective of the BMI, the so-called 'tauhid' finger is to be understood as a confession of faith and is therefore classified as unproblematic with regard to public safety.

'This applies regardless of the fact that Islamist groups appropriate this symbol and misuse it for their own purposes.'

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