No you can’t compare Andrew Tate to Maajid Nawaz

Muslim convert Jamal Muhammad says those who are negatively comparing the relatively benign treatment of Andrew Tate by Muslims to our unforgiving attitude to Maajid Nawaz are very wide of the mark.

Recently some Muslims have been rejoicing in an alleged “gotcha” moment – the supposed hypocrisy of Muslims who want to give Andrew Tate a chance to mend his ways but don’t want anything to do with Maajid Nawaz who has hinted at a return to the Islamic fold.

For those of you who don’t know, Nawaz was invited onto a podcast by a prominent Muslim YouTuber last week and expressed interest before going onto talk about his “shaykh.”

The invite was subsequently rescinded but that has not stopped speculation that Nawaz may have changed his old habits of targeting Muslims and Islam.

Nawaz’s comments also immediately led to a backlash with prominent Muslim activists saying that he should not be platformed under any circumstances given the damage he has done to the community over a long period of time.

This subsequently led to a loud minority of Muslims – who have been attacking Andrew Tate for several weeks due to the the haraam things he has said and done in the past – crying “hypocrisy” from the rooftops.

But I think the difference between the two examples is (at least at this point) that Tate has been a Muslim for only two months, while Nawaz was a born Muslim but has made a career from bashing Islam, befriending some of the most critical, anti-Muslim polemicists in the world (Sam Harris, Douglas Murray etc), and has openly professed his disbelief in foundational beliefs within the religion.

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So whereas Tate may have made serious mistakes from ignorance in the things he has said and done, and may still engage in activities that practising Muslims could never endorse (in which case he should be publicly corrected), Nawaz has outright rejected elements of the religion with the knowledge that what he is doing/ professing is considered by the mainstream to be kufr.

Let me say this clearly – by no means do I exonerate Tate for some of the things he has continued to say after his conversion, but this insistence that he come out and make public tawbah seems to be a bit much.

Personally, I am intelligent enough to separate what Tate has said that I don’t agree with from things he has said that makes sense and keep in mind that he converted two months ago, not two decades.

So the bar I have for Tate is that of a two month convert, which is pretty low. In a year, two years and beyond, the expectations will change because that is only reasonable.

The transformational power of Islam

I embraced Islam 15 years ago, alhamdulillah, and much of what Tate has professed to doing in the past (drinking, womanising etc.) I also did.

It took a couple of years for me to get myself together after embracing the religion – so I think we need to be balanced on both sides. Don’t look to Tate as a role model as he still has lots of room to improve (may Allah SWT facilitate it), but don’t be so harsh that you put demands on him that we’d never put on other public personalities that embrace the faith.

We should not expect new Muslims to be saints

Moreover, claiming what Tate has said is the cause of abuse towards women has to be substantiated with evidence. The mere assertion is not evidence.

I agree that much of what he has said is unpalatable to me as a Muslim, but just because he has said things in the past that cannot be Islamically justified (and will continue to say until he learns more about the deen), that doesn’t mean women are being abused as a direct correlation.

It would be like me saying men get taken advantage of by women and extorted monetarily because Cardi B said when she was an escort she used to rob men when they were unconscious. And because she has stated this proudly and she is influential amongst some young women in the West, she is to blame for the actions of others.

I wouldn’t do that because making that correlation is absurd. Regardless of how I feel about her or her statements, I will only judge her for what she is directly culpable of.

Unrealistic standards

A number of years ago, there was a former porn star who embraced Islam yet I don’t recall the community at that time demanding that she make public tawbah. Nor should they have because she (like Tate) converted and insha’Allah her past sins were forgiven.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) made dua to Allah that He strengthen Islam through the conversion of one of the two Umars, and Umar Ibn al Khattab (ra) subsequently accepted the religion.

By all accounts, Umar (ra) did some bad things before embracing Islam. Did the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) require Umar (ra) to make public tawbah? Did Umar (ra) convert and within two months exhaust all knowledge of Islam and never make a mistake thereafter? The answer is of course that he continued to make mistakes.

So May Allah SWT make us love one another and have husn ul dhun of people, especially new converts to the deen. Ameen.

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