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The AT Problem
An internet history and discussion on the latest online Muslim controversy
“Where men are forbidden to honor a king they honor millionaires, athletes, or film stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.”
― C.S. Lewis, Present Concerns
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I briefly wrote about the phenomena I plan on expanding on here in a previous post when the mainstream outlets and accounts of what has been referred to for years as “Muslim Twitter” discovered the existence of a man named Andrew Tate. If you know even a menial amount of information about this man, chances are it's the worst stuff, and for good reason. Both this man and a far more well-known intellectual figure, Jordan Peterson, were under the spotlight of our community this summer for their repeated entryist behavior in the online Muslim sphere. As of writing this post however, Tate is trending on Twitter for his public conversion to Islam after a summer where he used Tiktok and Instagram to make himself the most famous man on the planet, quite literally at one point being searched up on Google more than Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump.
It might seem strange to compare these two men knowing their vastly different characters, professions, and styles; JP is a former psychology professor known for his melancholic mood as he makes yet another video for the Daily Wire as to why the Austrian painter was actually worse than Satan, Darth Vader, and Moloch combined; while Tate is known for his explosive charisma that shines best as he urges you to stop drinking water because hydration is for pussies. However, they share one thing in common that’s been the reason for their content enrapturing millions of Muslims online: they dared address the Woman Question, at length, and as a subject of interest to young men for many years.
Andrew Tate is an American-British kickboxing champion and former webcam studio owner (where he boasted many times to have had over 70+ girls working for him at once, which is how he made his first million dollars). Andrew and his brother Tristan were always relatively unknown figures outside of hardcore professional kickboxing in Europe, even despite starring in multiple reality TV shows quite popular in the UK, such as Big Brother. His prestige though was just enough that it earned him the verified star on Twitter, at a time when moderation of the app was nowhere near as strict as it is now.
The very first time Andrew had real internet attention on him, despite years of tweeting as violently as he speaks, was due to two controversies he started on the app in 2017. The first was this thread, where he made a brazen, violent, albeit hilarious satire of the transgender movement:
The second, a controversy that unlike the above has haunted him in nearly every interview he does, to this day, was one where he sternly claimed that depression wasn’t real (with the hidden implication that he meant it in a mindset/hustler fashion, not a medical one):
Both of these controversies put Tate in the same sphere as what during the early Trump years was called “The Redpill Community/Manosphere” side of Twitter. At the time, this network was the infantile beginning of a community of men who were moving from the decades-old forums on male self-improvement (centered on helping clueless men seduce women) to Twitter, thanks mostly to Donald Trump, but also secondarily to guys like Roissy, one of the most prominent pseudonymous writers online who wrote on the now defunct blog Chateau Heartiste, a men’s forum focused a bit more on relationships and love rather than just bedding women aimlessly, and in its final years on politics, where he (and most manosphere figures) expressed great support for Trump and the movement behind him in 2016.
In the period between 2018-2020, Tate still had what could be considered an underground following that slowly grew, yet was hampered repeatedly by Twitter banning him several times, as was happening to plenty of other major figures on the right like Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos. He had a Youtube channel and an Instagram as well, the former was where most of today’s clips of him circling the web originate from, where he first started to give extended video talks on random life topics in an extremely hilarious, absurd, but direct fashion. Twitter though was mainly where he expressed most of his opinions and values, and cultivated a following centered on worshipping his successes with gaining both money and women, and him claiming to teach men through the online courses on his website how he was able to do both. The culture of Redpill pickup guys, masculinity gurus, and finance dorks selling online courses on Twitter is due mostly to Tate and his friend once known as Christian McQueen, a manlet pick-up guru exposed some time ago as a plagiarist and fraud, popularized the business practice in this growing space of what many today call “grifters.”
That’s the main origin story for those of us who are terminally online and witnessed it firsthand, even as casual observers who weren’t necessarily fans of the guy. The main attraction Tate had for the young men who followed him was that he had succeeded in a hyper-materialistic fashion in gaining money, big houses, supercars, and model-tier women in his circle despite the financial and political systems of the Western world that discouraged such behavior in men, and that he would “TEACH YOU” how he did it if you buy his online courses and join his private club called The War Room. His motivation, you might ask? Other than the obvious (making more money), there’s a clip I haven’t managed to find where he claims its because…I sh*t you not, something along the lines of “if more men end up successful like me, that’s more connections I can benefit from, and my life becomes EASIER.”
Then, summer of 2022, something strange happened. His presence on the usual social media platforms ramped up exponentially, and all of a sudden clips of both old and new videos featuring him and his brother Tristan were shared everywhere. The meme-worthy clips were fan favorites (“only pussies don’t like sparkling water/if you have a heart attack just breathe”), while the rest talking about women, relationships, and politics took the attention of young men and boys spreading like wildfire. It got to the point where middle/high school teachers in late August were complaining on Reddit that they were catching their young male students playing clips of him aloud in class.
My main concern, however, was the attention he garnered in the Muslim community. Over the years, before Tate was known to most in the Western world, he had tweaked and tuned his message from merely boasting about his riches and women in a brazen, secular fashion to commentating more about the state of affairs between men and women in a more political fashion. He began speaking on topics that were common discussion among circles on the conservative right-wing for years, centered around the historical and political claim that young men are under attack, the world is a prison meant to suffocate them, and most romance between men and women in the modern world was dead and that feminism had killed it. None of this was news for those who were seasoned readers of Heartiste, Rational Male, Roosh, etc., but Tate had begun doing something with this information that his predecessors hadn’t, which was to bring it in video performance format. Most “manosphere” writers were, and still are, anonymous figures online who built a brand around that anonymity, as they had families, real jobs, and social reputations that needed protecting, so all their content was in literary format. Tate however didn’t need anonymity.
Andrew Tate already had all the money, women, and reputation he wanted, so he risked nothing speaking about this stuff in such a charismatic and comedic fashion on camera. And by now, this was just who he was. He was the BASED and REDPILLED rich dude who had SOMETHING to offer you, the young male viewer. When you’re a young, male, Muslim viewer, however, the perspective is similar but differs in a major way.
Most Muslims who were born and grew up in Western nations come from patriarchal cultures that have always been averse to anything resembling female control of the major institutions of everyday life. These young men in the millennial/Generation Z category among Arabs, South Asians, and Africans grew up seeing the father as the essential leader, with all other traditional roles distributed across the family unit from that position. It was one reinforced by centuries of cultural and religious teaching, the latter due to the obvious fact that Islam, though a religion that emphasizes the equality of the souls of men and women under God, does not deny the biological hierarchy that allows civilization to flourish when properly applied in the mortal world. All Islamic gender roles are centered around the acute awareness that both men and women are complementary beings, each with rights and needs of their own. Feminism, a secular, Marxist ideology centered around female narcissism and entitlement can not be compatible with such a paradigm.
So already, the fans of Tate and your average Muslim male are in agreement with this fundamental point about the Western world: we live in a decrepit, matriarchal, sissified modern era where a cartel of older, bitter women restrict the potential of young men (and young women, albeit in different ways) out of fear, resentment, and entitlement. Muslim men grow up in the English-speaking world believing it’s the opposite, usually until an inciting incident in their personal lives “redpills” them into realizing the horrors they’ve been growing up around. The attempt on their part to correct this worldview, fueled by resentment and anger towards the institutions (which Tate calls The Matrix, for good reason), is what leads many youngsters to brash and half-baked ideas about how to “fix” things.
Islam, though lies in agreement with opposing modern secular movements such as feminism and communism, does not condone much of how Andrew conducted his life before his conversion to Islam. Most accounts of him “sex-trafficking” or “abusing” women are unfounded, but he has admitted and bragged repeatedly about taking advantage of the men who are consumers in the webcam industry, and more recently men who gamble (as he owns multiple casinos, Allah knows how he’ll deal with that as a Muslim). His business model all his life relied on cleaning out and crushing mentally, emotionally, and spiritually weak men. It’s natural as a fighter to believe in Might Makes Right morality, but that isn’t how the ideal Muslim conducts himself in his business. What I described above are, without a doubt, haram sources of income that rely on exploitation and social vice. Just because we agree with Tate politically and on many social matters doesn’t make this excusable, as it’s rooted in a philosophy of life that the Prophet (PBUH) never exemplified. Our Prophet was once a businessman too, but his dealings displayed the opposite of the nihilistic conduct that many who follow Tate are trying so hard to emulate. Their intentions are solid — they want a way to make a living and succeed with life and women to get back at the shadowy cabals that formed this iron prison we’re in — but this isn’t how you do it.
Men in such a condition are vulnerable, both emotionally and spiritually. The natural instinct of males when faced with such woes is more often than not to look up to a male figure who appears to have surpassed the problems they currently suffer from. Before the age of the internet, often this was the role of a mentor at work, a boxing coach, a high school teacher, or the very cool muscular dude at the gym would play for a young and sensitive man finding his way in the world. Notice how “father” isn’t on that list. A strong father, usually, is the ounce of prevention that makes it so this struggle isn’t suffered from as intensely. However, we live in an age where most fathers, especially among natives of the Western world, if not entirely dead or missing from their children's lives are too delusional and weak to be that male figure. Often, they’re men who faced the same problems of this changing world in their youth yet were buck-broken by it entirely, hence the modern-day trope of the “silly, stupid father” on television who must constantly be directed by his “smarter, more mature” wife.
This problem isn’t as common in Muslim cultures, but can still play a role as most immigrant fathers have an extremely difficult time raising their sons in a world they too recognize as too homosexual and stupid to properly raise strong men in.
Now, bring in 2020 and the age of Tiktok. Who becomes the living role model to all these millions of clueless young men? Who's going to teach them what it means to succeed and be strong, masculine, and financially successful?
There’s also the racial component - the Hollywood trope installed in the firmware of most people who lean liberal and consume mainstream media is that any right-winger online who engages with forums like 4chan, or is interested in forums online about seducing women are all “fat, white, basement incels” who are one hair away from committing a terror attack; as was the case multiple times in recent years with some mentally ill criminals who acted in the vein of guys like Elliot Rodgers. The truth is that upon the most basic of investigation, a real journalist or critic would come to realize that vast numbers of these online circles are populated with South/East Asians, Latinos, and plenty of Middle Easterners who are born in either North America or Europe; confused to a great degree about the fact that their traditional upbringings have done nothing to make them more eligible bachelors to the women they like in their personal lives.
This is why lots of Muslim women were shocked to find out that their brothers, sons, and nephews were fans of Tate. They were under the false impression that it was only “white incels” who were confused about women and relationships, taking such topics as a matter of conscious discussion, when the reality is that it’s a concern of millions of estranged young men regardless of race or religion. They despise the effeminate world they’re in and welcome it any time a figure, no matter how perverse and strange they are, stands up and commits Lèse-majesté against its false idols. Much of my sympathy for Tate comes from this, as I too have noticed that most of my own readership have followed me for similar sentiments.
And now we get to the root of the issue, at a time when it seems that Tate’s attraction to Islam has led to him actually accepting the faith due to his alleged strong agreements, on a spiritual level, about the decay of secular civilization and the enduring need to return to traditional values and a widespread belief in God. He plays this role masterfully, despite his public overindulgence in riches, women, and material hobbies. I’m not one to judge the ingenuity of his conversion, that’s something between him and Allah. Every man or woman that converts has their own adjustment period littered with various trials and tribulations for those who sincerely try and fix their lives.
However, Tate isn’t just anybody. I don’t mean that he’s in any way more important or dignified than other converts, but rather he holds a degree of social status and likability to young men that is almost unprecedented in recent years. The only other male figure that has been able to pull off what Tate has when it comes to garnering both the admiration and hatred of so many at once was Donald Trump. Whatever mistakes he makes, whether he commits to Islam fully or not, will be on display for the world to see. The important thing is for Muslims watching not to project his actions upon their own religious behavior with a new degree of comfort just because he converted.
The “reason why he converted” also does not matter. When the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions were riding to intercept the caravan at Badr, he was approached by a Bedouin warrior of brash character who wanted to join their attack and wanted some spoils in return. The Prophet (PBUH) asked him, “Then do you testify that there is no God but Allah and that I am his Messenger?” The man was stunned and refused to accept. He was there for the riches, not their religion. So the Prophet (PBUH) sent him away. Two more times the guy asked to join until eventually he relented and accepted Islam, now allowed to join their forces.
When we read this story, as Westerners who grew up with capitalist mindsets, the first thought triggered is something along the lines of “Oh, but he was coerced into accepting Islam for the money!”
But that’s not how the Prophet (PBUH) thought about it. As Muslims, we are confident enough in our faith that regardless of how someone is accepted into the fold of Tawheed, eventually Islam will enter their heart; if it doesn’t then they were never meant for Islam. Extreme anxiety about “how” a convert accepts Islam almost always is a reflection of insecurity on the part of the one questioning them.
Also another point I’d like to close out with — the main criticism being brought up that Muslim men are somehow “hypocritical” for accepting Andrew Tate and giving him the benefit of the doubt while they shun and attack Muslim women who make mistakes on their own platforms — isn’t something any of us buy. The paradigm we live in today is a gynocratic one, where female promiscuity, sexual openness, and immodesty are status symbols. Tate is hated by every mainstream institution, journalist, and politician who has cared enough to mention him, while the feminist and liberal figures who Muslim men tear into online are lauded by these same MSM outlets. This is the primary difference.
At the end of the day, much of Muslim’s ambivalence when it comes to events such as these is due to their lack of political savviness and ability to see beyond their emotions. It’s a Prophetic habit to give dawah and go after major figures because when a big leader converts, so do his people. If you’re worried about the effect Tate’s “cult” will have on Islam, you have it all backward. The real wonder is how Islam will affect him and his cult, and whether it changes many of the mainstream stances his young audience is taking on for the better.
I wish brother Andrew the best. And so should you.
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