Is Andrew Tate exploiting Islam for Internet popularity?
Andrew Tate, once a professional kickboxer, is now a social media influencer in the most extreme sense of the term. In mid-2022, the British-American celebrity became the most Googled man in the world. In October, he converted to Islam, sparking a frenzy online.
However, many Muslims believe that Andrew Tate had embraced a distorted version of Islam based on misperceptions of the faith, including the idea that he allows violence against women.
Serena, a 25-year-old journalist and salesperson from a Muslim family in Britain, says her two brothers, aged 21 and 23, began repeating Tate’s ‘extremely misogynistic’ views in September after seeing videos of him on Youtube.
‘This upset me and it upset me a lot because my brother is my best friend and I felt like I was losing him and didn’t recognize him anymore,’ she told CNN of her 23-year-old brother.
“He has become extremely misogynistic, telling me and my mom that our duty is to cook and if my mom doesn’t cook one day, she calls her lazy,” Serena said via online messages. ‘I was telling him that he was being manipulated and essentially set up by Andrew Tate, to which he was saying I don’t have an opinion and he should stop talking.’
A lot of it also has to do with finding out what exactly Western Muslim identity is. Tate is not the first non-Muslim white man to use his social media presence to gain credibility in the Muslim community.
Many mention Jordan Peterson, who, like Tate, racks up millions of views on his videos on Islam. But while Peterson talks about ‘family values’ in Islam and takes a more psychological or philosophical approach, Tate is a layman.
‘Normalizing’ sexual violence
Habeeb Akande, a UK-based Muslim sex educator, the unwavering defense of Tate offered by her fans is indicative of a broader social problem.
‘Several of the men who are drawn to Tate’s messages said they ignore some of what he said about sexual violence against women … they just see it as funny,’ he told CNN. ‘(They) don’t realize that he’s actually normalizing sexual violence against women.’
Tate fans can’t reconcile that “a man can be friendly and kind and good to men, but be a vile human being to women,” he said. “Many men are being miseducated about sex by pgraphy. Similarly, many of them are being miseducated about interpersonal relationships through figures like Andrew Tate.’
Far from condemning his past statements and his work in pgraphy, prior to his arrest, Tate continued to make sexual comments about women on Twitter and flaunt his wealth and prestige.
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