Last week, a video surfaced online that depicted polarizing Internet personality Andrew Tate performing a Muslim prayer in a UAE mosque. The clip was shared by Tam Khan, a former MMA fighter, gym owner, and close friend of the controversial British influencer, who appeared to confirm that Tate had taken the shahada, which is the oath required to accept Islam.
“Regarding his shahada we agreed it shouldn’t be shown on a podcast or anything because people will claim it’s for clout or fake following. Nobody is perfect, but Alhamdhulillah the guy has a good heart and pure intentions,” wrote Khan.
Andrew tate banned from all social media platforms, is being taught on how to pray salah from his close Arab friend in Dubai. Interesting pic.twitter.com/0LZ5LoME5b
— Jōb, عَبْد العَزيز (@GodListensToDua) October 22, 2022
On Sunday, Tate seemingly confirmed the news. Considering that the de-platformed former kickboxer was banned from Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, and Instagram, Tate took to Gettr, a social media platform founded in 2021 by Jason Miller, a former Donald Trump aide for American conservatives, to reveal why he decided to take the shahada.
“This is why I’m Muslim,” he wrote on his alleged verified account. “Any Christian who believes in good and understands the true battle against evil must convert.”
However, several users are claiming that his conversion to Islam is simply a publicity stunt and accused Tate, who is widely called a misogynist for his comments about women which has seen him banned from most major social media platforms, of “Muslim-baiting,” which is to use Islamic rhetoric as a strategy to gain acceptance from and appeal to the Muslim community.
“I don’t feel comfortable questioning someone’s deen or w/e but TELL ME this isn’t sus. Guy has been baiting to uneducated Muslim men for ages and now the woman abuser has moved to a safe haven for women-abusing where he can continue to misinform our brothers and harm our sisters,” wrote one user on Twitter.
Another said: “The fact he is making a whole PR campaign out of it says it all. If it was a personal spiritual quest, he wouldn’t have filmed it and deployed a huge network to share it online. His intentions are clearly utilitarian. He is using the Muslim community for his own political revenge.”
Meanwhile, other social media users are suggesting Tate is using Islam as a cover for his alleged human trafficking crimes after his Romanian residence was raided by law enforcement earlier this year.
While we don’t know Tate’s true intentions, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time that someone uses the Qu’ran as a shield and hides behind the pretense of being a devout Muslim to appeal to a certain demographic and push their ideologies and agendas. In fact, there is a long history of European dictators and military leaders baiting Muslim communities for their own personal gain.
Napoleon Bonaparte, isolated from France by the British blockade, vigorously appeased conservative Muslim clerics in Egypt in the hopes that they would safeguard the pro-French forces in the country. He even wore Egyptian robes on the Prophet’s birthday, and earned the nickname Ali Bonaparte in his attempt to win over the Muslim populace.
And, does the name Thomas Edward Lawrence ring a bell? The British officer known for his Arab style of dress and living with local Muslim tribes was responsible for raising the Arabs to fight against the Ottoman Empire during World War I — a feat depicted in the epic film Lawrence of Arabia — for the British by definite promises of self-government afterwards.
Meanwhile, in 1937, fascist Spanish dictator Francisco Franco earned the nickname El-Hajj Franco after he sponsored a pilgrimage to Mecca for Spanish Moroccan Muslims as part of a vast propaganda effort to cast Franco’s Spain as a friend of Islam and a protector of the cultural heritage of Al-Andalus.
Unlike Lawrence or Franco, Tate isn’t assembling an army of his own for war anytime soon, though it’s true that he is fighting his own personal battles against social media and the negative public perceptions towards him. Getting into the good graces of the Muslim community is a step to ensuring he has some kind of platform and acceptance on a wide scale.
As many Muslim users on social media question the former kickboxer’s motives, others have already began to embrace him with open arms.
Though it’s the first time he is openly claiming to be Muslim, Tate has previously shared his favorable views of Islam in the past. The “King of Toxic Masculinity” previously stated in an appearance on the Full Send Podcast that he believes Islam to be the last true religion.
“I think it’s the last religion… It’s the last one, because no other religion has boundaries which they enforce. If you will tolerate everything, then you stand for nothing…99% of Christians are ignoring every single rule in the Bible, every single day. They’ll try and say they interpret it differently… Only Muslims follow their book, so they’re the last religion,” he opined.
In any case, Tate’s conversion to Islam is one we should have seen coming.