Social media exploded last week at the news of Andrew Tate’s conversion to Islam.
I guess I must at this point issue a disclaimer. I am a Muslim and a feminist. My first reaction to seeing Tate praying alongside his long-time friend Tam Khan was to write a blog post about why I was concerned about Tate’s conversion. I asked that Tate disown his widely shared views on women having to bear responsibility for being raped, how women shouldn’t drive, and on preferring to date teenagers aged 18-19 so that he can “make an imprint” on them. He has also talked about hitting, choking, destroying women’s personal possessions and generally degrading them by using language like “hoe”. And yet, all this was overlooked by his new Muslim brothers, who kept pleading for us to welcome him into our religion.
The hypocrisy of Tate’s fanboys has been has been staggering. For four days now, most of my Twitter timeline has been clogged with their comments, oscillating between calling me a “Kafir” (non-Muslim), questioning my sect (“are you Ahmaddiya?”) and just branding me “a (triggered) liberal feminist”. They’ve demanded I wear the hijab – rich given that Tate’s current profile picture shows him in a pair of skimpy shorts – and so on.
It’s hard as a Muslim woman to see someone as controversial as Tate suddenly become the darling of my Muslim brothers and sisters. Where is the accountability? The safeguarding of not only our young, impressionable boys and men but also our women? Why are these social media warriors defending someone with a history of misogyny? His conversion to Islam does not give him a clean slate.
Tate is not the cause of toxic masculinity or misogyny. Double standards for men and women have existed for centuries, well before Tate set up his webcam business in Romania or his $49-a-month Hustler’s University to give tips to young men on becoming rich. According to the Observer, these are the very followers who have been able to push Tate’s views to a greater audience on TikTok in a “blatant attempt to manipulate the algorithm” and artificially promote his content.
This idolising of someone like Tate shows how much work we need to do as an Ummah, our community of Muslims. Are we that desperate for followers that we cannot hold our brothers to account?
Tate must denounce his opinions, more for the sake of these young, impressionable boys and men than anyone else. If they believe a woman has no one to blame for being raped but herself, that her place is in the kitchen and home to serve her man then we are all doomed.
As for me, I am not at all bothered by someone calling me a Kafir. I will pray for them even more, and ask that Allah guides us all. But Tate’s views are still being used to justify, spread and reinforce toxic masculinity and misogyny. For this, as a good Muslim brother, he needs to step up and speak out.