Why are so many British Muslims getting seduced by Andrew Tate?

Tate has become a cult-like figure to young men and boys, especially with his horrific views on women and feminism

Rabbil Sikdar
Tuesday 16 August 2022 11:56 BST

Related: Andrew Tate says you’re not a millionaire if you cook

Online notoriety is easy to attain these days. One moment someone exists in obscurity, and in the next, they’re all over Instagram, Tiktok or YouTube.

One of the latest fixations is a man called Andrew Tate. Almost overnight, Tate has become a cult-like figure to young men and boys across many English-speaking countries. A former kickboxer, now an online personality, his appeal to disillusioned men is unsurprising: he spends a lot of his time discussing how men can improve themselves. But just as often, content for men quickly becomes entangled with views on women, relationships, and feminism. And for many young men who find the dating world to be a story of rejections, Tate’s criticisms of women sound valid.

Tate’s views on feminism have been spreading like wildfire, equally enraging and engaging people by the millions. One of his most popular views: women, as he puts it, should “shut the f**k up, have kids, sit at home, be quiet and make coffee.”

Tate ascribes to an autonomous lifestyle but does not apply this to women. What he objects to, are women having choices given to them by liberalism because, “women are actually happy serving men, they’re far happier with that than working some career,” he says.

Tate says on another podcast: “if I have a degree of responsibility over her, then I must have a degree of authority.” As he explains later, “you can’t be responsible for a dog if it doesn’t obey you.”

Worryingly, Tate appears to be the latest avatar of the internet pipeline that takes young directionless men from videos on life and male development to arriving at the conclusion that feminism is to blame for a lot in life. And increasingly, I fear young Muslim men are falling prey to this.

If anyone has ever accidentally trawled through the online spaces of British Muslim Twitter, they will have found hundreds of viewpoints similar to that of Tate. There are plenty of Muslim men who believe feminism has decayed personal ethics. Whether it’s women getting divorced or showing hair, they have blamed feminism for it. In Tate, they have found a famous voice who reaffirms all their viewpoints. Suddenly there were videos on Tiktok of Muslim men expressing their support in him. One young Muslim man even admitted that Tate was his second role model after the Prophet Muhammad.

Tate even speaks of his respect for Islam because he thinks Muslim men share his belief in the male domination of women. Unsurprisingly, his praise of Islam has endeared him to more Muslims.

This overlap is alarming, but not surprising. There are plenty of YouTube videos of Muslim scholars and influencers talking about how a woman’s priority after marriage is her family or how they don’t wear the hijab properly. There are many who share Tate’s view that if a man must provide for a woman, he has some control over her. Tate might be moulded by a secular contempt towards feminism, but his opinions coexist seamlessly with those of many young Muslim men.

The mutual respect is a marriage of misogyny.

It seems strange that some Muslim men are not affronted by drawing inspiration from someone so detached from Islamic teachings on spirituality and materialism. This is not a philosopher wondering about his place in the cosmos. The metaphysics of life do not interest him, and he is a creature of simple interests.

But it underscores how, for many, interpretations of faith are too concerned with whether a woman has dishonoured herself or by how much hair she has shown. Islam discusses man as a shepherd of the green world, but you rarely hear Muslim YouTube preachers discussing climate change as a sign of the impending Day of Judgement. No, the sign of a doomed world happens to be an autonomous woman.

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Unsurprisingly, these views have met plenty of resistance from Muslims across online platforms. Many have recognised how the potential validation of Tate can quickly become a gateway to normalising abuse. Those agreeing with Tate have tended to lack knowledge on theology and history. The Muslims battling against these views, significantly women, have highlighted how Tate’s lifestyle and worldview contradicts Islam. They’ve pointed out the hypocrisy in a man who indulges in the sort of vices that Islam warns against – excess money, sex outside of marriage, infidelity, alcohol.

But counteracting this isn’t straightforward. There is a deep well of misogynistic beliefs that have blurred culture and religion for a long time. A lot of these men are disillusioned by their status in society, raised to be breadwinners but unable to always be it. They end up blaming women, believing there is no empathy for the challenges men face. It’s tempting to dismiss all of this but that yields nothing and perpetuates the cycle of young Muslim men who turn their households into prisons.

In time, I hope British Muslims will pass down a different set of views, ones that speak of a rejection of everything someone like Tate and his cohort of young followers believe in.

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