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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Andrew Tate, a toxic British-American Islamist influencer

Anglo-American influencer, kickboxer and online sex business owner Andrew Tate who was arrested in December 2022 on suspicion of human trafficking, rape and forming an organized crime group only acted to further his notoriety has been released from custody into house arrest in Romania.

Last year, Andrew Tate sparked severe controversy through a TikTok video that promoted male dominance, female submission and wealth. It garnered up to 11.6 billion views. Infamous to be the most googled man in 2022 Tate’s first communications show a rhetorical shift as he now signals to two distinct pools of fans.

In an October 24, 2022, post on his Gettr account, Tate announced that he converted to Islam, writing: “This is why I’m Muslim. Any Christian who believes in good and understands the true battle against evil must convert. ‘So be patient, Indeed the promise of Allah is TRUTH’. Quran 30:60”. The post included a video purportedly showing a transgender Methodist minister preaching at a church service.

Holding on to his red pill, blue p*ill incels (involuntary celibates), Tate tells them they are not free and “living in the matrix”. But he also signals to another fan base with the proclamation: “We must defeat Shaytan” [the Islamic version of Satan].

In October 2022, in a TikTok video Andrew Tate said in a now-deleted viral TikTok video that “ISIS are the real Muslims because ISIS do exactly what the book says. Kill everyone who’s not a Muslim and chop people’s heads off and set them on fire and be fucking raging lunatics. But all the other Muslims go: ‘they’re not real Muslims because I read the book and ignore those parts.’ Well then, you’re not fucking Muslim, because you’re ignoring the fucking book”.

This TikTok video was shared on October 25, 2022 by a pro-ISIS media outlet, Bariqah News Agency on Telegram, which praised Andrew Tate for his statements. Later, on October 29, Tate discussed his conversion and beliefs in an October 29 podcast with British Muslim podcaster Mohammad Hijab, saying that elites in Western cultures promote feminism so that women are forced to work outside the home while their children are indoctrinated through schools, the internet, and “the matrix”.

While sharing Andrew Tate’s video, Bariqah News Agency said:

“Andrew Tate – 99.99% of the world’s women hate him because he is against feminists and says that a woman’s place is in the home, and that she should obey the man. [Then] Andrew Tate announces his conversion to Islam [and] there was a massive influx of tweets by women affiliated with Islam who cursed him, including some who announced they would leave Islam because Tate joined… Good, let them be replaced… No, we have in the video clip above Andrew Tate before his conversion to Islam acknowledging that the men of the Islamic State are the real Muslims and no one besides them, because they adhere to the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunna literally, while those who read the Qur’an and disregard its teachings are not really Muslims”.

Andrew Tate discussed his conversion, views, and beliefs in an October 29, 2022 podcast with British Muslim podcaster Mohammad Hijab. Tate said that Islam reflects his beliefs about personal standards and self-reliance, and explained how Islamic theology is consistent with his belief in a strong and fear-inspiring God. Tate said that feminism has been used to sneak “insanity” into people’s minds and to convince women to avoid having kids and to not respect their husbands.

Mohammad Hijab interjected that feminism is dangerous and serves the economic interests of elites in the West, and Tate agreed, adding that the elites are scared of him because he can make them lose money and interfere with their influence. He elaborated that in modern society, currencies are inflated and both parents are forced to work in order to prevent women from sharing their husbands’ worldviews and in order to enable schools, the internet, and “the matrix” shape the future by controlling youth.

It may be mentioned here that Mohammed Hijab is known for his controversial remarks, including declaring “We love death” at a pro-Palestine rally and making threats against Hindus in Leicester.

As researchers turned to the challenge of incel and its potential for violence, Andrew Tate moved into a new scene – the toxic masculine Islamist scene, creating the potential for an incel-Islamist radical cross over, opposition to which becomes even more challenging and complex.

Following his conversion to Islam has been peppered with a toxic masculine Islamism, characterized by an obsession with the male physique, a desire to rule over women and undermine values of tolerance and equality. His choice of Islamic mentors highlights the extreme path he is on. He can be seen learning from none other than Mohammed Hijab, known for his controversial remarks, including declaring “We love death” at a pro-Palestine rally and making threats against Hindus in Leicester.

The online Islamist right is united by a shared conviction that a natural order of society, one in which authority is derived from patriarchal force, has been disrupted and replaced in the west by the political and economic autonomy of women, feminism, and the LGBT movement. Maria Akbar writes for the controversial news platform 5 Pillars on how Andrew Tate’s views chime with her take on Islam. She feels that “there has been an emasculation of men with the advent of feminism…I view a feminist as a woman who is bold and angry, demanding her rights be given to her. Almost like a baby whose toys have been thrown out of its pram. But far less cute”.

Andrew Tate had been enthusiastically received by like-minded misogynists, such as Dilly Hussain, co-founder of 5 Pillars, due to their shared anti-Western stance, approach to women and disdain for LGBT rights. 

Dilly Hussain regularly praises Tate’s work and recently lamented that he could not host him on his podcast, due to Tate’s detention. The opinions around his arrest seemingly center around forgiveness, some even denial.

Of considerable concern is the way in which Andrew Tate can be used by Islamists to increase their reach. During a podcast appearance with Mohammed Hijab, Tate made several worrying statements regarding the role of women in society, including suggesting that a husband is responsible for protecting and providing for his wife during marriage, and that a woman should bear “personal responsibility” in cases of sexual assault. The episode has gained 2.3 million views since it was uploaded to Hijab’s YouTube channel in October 2022. The greater access this gives Islamists to young men, who are seeking Andrew Tate because they are aggrieved and searching for meaning and value, provides new challenges to counter-extremism practitioners tasked with tackling avenues of radicalization.

A variety of reasons have been posited for Tate’s decision to identify as Muslim: extending his fan base, a genuine search for God, or yet another anti-establishment publicity stunt. Whatever the purpose, his adherence to the ideology of figures like Mohammed Hijab and Dilly Hussain paints a negative image of Islam. It has the potential to fuel anti-Muslim sentiment among those who oppose Andrew Tate, whilst also the potential to draw Tate’s followers from the extreme incel ideology to an Islamist and jihadist ideology that extends hate beyond women and LGBTQ+ and aims to impose that thinking on others.

But most importantly, in addition to preaching radical Islam, individuals like Andrew Tate are using their massive followers on social media in spreading a dangerous rhetoric telling British youth that men are owed a certain type of life that Western liberal society bars them from. And it tells these young men that they should embrace aggressive masculinity and if they do so, they deserve an obedient wife. In other words, individuals like Tate are directly challenging rights of women in the West.

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Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, writer, research-scholar, counterterrorism specialist and editor of Weekly Blitz. Follow him on Twitter @Salah_Shoaib

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