National player Antonio Rüdiger, 31, and the German Football Association (DFB) are taking legal action against journalist Julian Reichelt. Rüdiger feels vilified and slandered by Reichelt’s criticism of a photo he published on Instagram at the beginning of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. The Real Madrid football professional has therefore filed a criminal complaint with the Berlin public prosecutor’s office, and the association has reported the matter to the Central Office for Combating Internet Crime (ZIT) of the Frankfurt/Main Public Prosecutor’s Office.

In his post on March 11, the practicing Muslim Rüdiger posted a photo of himself in a white robe on a prayer mat. The index finger of his right hand points to the sky. “May the Almighty accept our fasting and our prayers,” wrote Rüdiger as a greeting to Ramadan. In Reichelt’s opinion, Rüdiger made an Islamist gesture by raising his index finger.

The Rüdiger management and the DFB confirmed the advertisements from the German Press Agency. “Bild” first reported. The German Press Agency has received the criminal complaint against Reichelt. The complaint is about insult or slander, inflammatory insult and sedition. Rüdiger himself did not want to comment on the matter.

Reichelt stuck to his assessment of Rüdiger’s gesture on Monday evening and also explained on used here are intimidation methods.”

The sign is a typical gesture among Muslims and part of every prayer. The extended index finger symbolizes belief in the one and unique God (“Tauhid”). The sign is the visible expression of the Islamic creed, which attests that there are no other gods besides the one God (“Allah”) (monotheism).

The so-called Tauhid finger is “per se not an extremist sign,” as the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Lower Saxony classified in an explanatory video on X, formerly Twitter, in 2022. However, there are Islamist groups, such as the so-called Islamic State, who use this symbol “to distinguish themselves as particularly devout Muslims and to underpin their religious claim to rule.”

According to “Bild”, the Federal Ministry of the Interior explained that, from its point of view, the raised finger “should be understood as a confession of faith and should therefore be 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 “. In certain contexts, pointing the finger could be seen as a sign of Salafist or Islamist radicalization if actors consciously use this ambiguity. “This depends on the individual case consideration,” the ministry continued.

Note: This article has been updated with additional information