Moderate Islam is an Insult to Islam : The Cultural Muslim

· Islam

Introduction (4970 Wds)

Again and again people who are ignorant of Islam confuse Islamic terms and diction that are vague or incorrect and this could lead to misunderstanding and the spreading of wrong information. It certainly stirs up flushes of adrenalin and passions of homicidal hatreds, amongst theists and atheists. The most common misunderstood term today is, “a moderate Muslim.” For example: tony d(an anonymous pseudonym) said, “There are hundreds of millions of people who believe themselves to be Muslims who are moderate. Until such point as they believe your definition to be the one they should adhere to it will remain that way.” This is because tony d has visited Indonesia and found the Indonesians extremely friendly and hospitable, and so he believes that millions of Muslims are moderate. But tony d is so uninformed about Islam that he does not realise that there is only ONE ISLAM that is based on one edition of the Quran that is accepted by Muslims the world over as the unimpeachable literal word of Allah. As Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan said : “There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it”

In fact, there is only One Prophet Muhammad, and there is only One Allah, and there is only One Quran, and there is amongst Muslims only One Islam, hence there can be Only One Muslim. A Moderate Muslim is an oxymoron because there is no such thing as a “Moderate Islam.”

A Cultural Muslim

The only possible way to accommodate tony d’s perception of these so called moderate Muslims are that he has met a lot of “Cultural Muslims.” So how do we define a “cultural Muslim?”

Cultural Muslims are religiously unobservant, secular or irreligious individuals who still identify with the Muslim culture due to family background, personal experiences, or the social and cultural environment in which they grew up. The term is a political neologism paralleling the term “cultural Christian”. Malise Ruthven (2000) discussed the terms “cultural Muslim” and “nominal Muslim” as follows:[1]

There is, however, a secondary meaning to Muslim which may shade into the first. A Muslim is one born to a Muslim father who takes on his or her parents’ confessional identity without necessarily subscribing to the beliefs and practices associated with the faith, just as a Jew may describe him- or herself as Jewish without observing the Halacha. In non-Muslim societies, such Muslims may subscribe to, and be vested with, secular identities. The Muslims of Bosnia, descendants of Slavs who converted to Islam under Ottoman rule, are not always noted for attendance at prayer, abstention from alcohol, seclusion of women and other social practices associated with believing Muslims in other parts of the world. They were officially designated as Muslims by nationality to distinguish them from Orthodox Serbs and Catholic Croats under the former Yugoslav communist regime. The label Muslim indicates their ethnicity and group allegiance, but not necessarily their religious beliefs. In this limited context (which may apply to other Muslim minorities in Europe and Asia), there may be no contradiction between being Muslim and being atheist or agnostic, just as there are Jewish atheists and Jewish agnostics… It should be noted, however, that this secular definition of Muslim (sometimes the terms cultural Muslim or nominal Muslim are used) is very far from being uncontested. [1]

Muslim culture as opposed to religion

Religious Muslims believe and practice Islam to varying degrees. Cultural Muslims are likely to believe in Islam, but retain some practices for social and cultural rather than religious reasons. Some aspects of retained Muslim culture are described below. [edit]Names The most basic example of this is a person’s name. Many Arabic names are now commonly regarded as being “Muslim”. Many Arabs carry these names by virtue of descent, regardless of their personal beliefs. [edit]Public ceremonies Often out of family pressures, cultural Muslims often adhere to traditionally Muslim forms of marriage and funerals. For religious Muslims, the form of these is dictated by religious traditions which have to be strictly adhered to. For cultural Muslims, these formalities no longer have religious significance but may be retained out of deference to custom. BerberElla: No.  🙂 I find it a bit of a cop out when people say they are, by calling themselves a cultural muslim, they are still counted as muslims in the stats, even though by labelling themselves as such, they clearly don’t believe. Omaar Khayaam: Although I’m British, I culturally and ethnically identify myself with the culture that I come from and share with my family, which is the Indian/Pakistani culture. Some harmless things from Islam have creeped in and have become part and parcel of that culture. Homer: I’m against cultural (insert religion here), because it propagates tribalism based on irrational beliefs while giving legitimacy to those beliefs and passing them on, while permanently linking a persons ‘ethnicity’ with a religious belief system…therefor stifling the culture from which they came. I understand it, however, I personally am against it. One reason being that I want to see humanity make a real break from the barbaric religions of old (regardless of how unrealistic some may say that is) In many ways I also see the cultural (insert religion here) as an incubator, if you will, for these religions, which prevents their timely demise.[1.1]

Let me quote extracts from Saif Rahman’s post written as recently as 3rd May 2013, on his concept of a “Cultural Muslim” and an “ex-Muslim” to illustrate the agony of finding the correct diction:

For years I’ve been an ex-Muslim activist. My transition from being a Muslim to ex-Muslim was sudden. After spending years frustratedly attempting to reconcile my personal and religious beliefs, I realised I was being intellectually dishonest and often bending Islam to fit with my personal ideals. My religious cousin from Pakistan crystallized this perfectly when he came to stay with us. We would often get into long debates about Islam, lasting long into the night. They would often end on a heated note, where he would say something like “You are either Muslim or you are not” or “Either accept everything in Islam is right because it’s been produced by an infallible God, or don’t call yourself a Muslim.” I can’t recall which contentious issue broke the camel’s back, but on one occasion I was not willing to compromise and called his bluff. I conceded that he was right, and that I was no longer a Muslim. His face registered his shock. In an effort to reverse the damage he asked me to write all my arguments down so he could take them to a learned scholar of Islam. I did so in an eleven-page letter. I eagerly anticipated his response and even copied in each of my siblings. After three months my brother received a phone call from the cousin saying that he hadn’t forgotten and was still working on the reply. It’s been eight years, and I still haven’t heard back. I turned the letter into a blog post which has since been viewed 50,000 times. That post morphed into my book The Islamist Delusion. Lately I’ve become more comfortable with another term, one which is equally unpopular on both sides of the debate: “cultural Muslim”. Muslims don’t like the term for obvious reason: asking why “Muslim” should need a qualifier or questioning the right of an atheist to use the word “Muslim” at all. For ex-Muslims it can sound too accommodating, like a prevarication about belief when a clear rejection is what is required. Certainly it’s not perfect. I would much prefer the description “secular agnostic utilitarian rationalist reductionist humanist with cultural Muslim influences”, but that won’t fit on my business card. The point I am trying to make is that merely describing yourself by your lack of belief in a particular religion does not do justice to the tapestry of different influences and experiences that go to make up a person. Nor to the fact that we are located in particular socio-cultural context. I was raised in the UK and went to a Protestant primary school in Manchester where every morning during assembly I clasped my hands to the Lord’s Prayer. It always seemed alien to me. Yet, had the prayer been in Arabic, it would have felt perfectly natural. My early cultural life, like that of most people born of Muslim parentage, was saturated with Islam and Islamic idioms. Even now I still visit my family on religious festivals, greet elders in Arabic and still murmur “Alhamdolillah” subconsciously when I sneeze. My father recently passed away, and I went to his Janazah (Muslim funeral). I entered the mosque for the first time in years, and made my prayers in the usual way. What other way is there? Much of this will be familiar to British humanists who at weddings, Easter and funerals revert to a default mode and become cultural Christians. Even Richard Dawkins proudly asserts that he is a cultural Christian and enjoys singing Carols along with everybody else. These patterns are comforting, familiar and a way to stay connected to your community. They are not so easily sloughed off when you renounce your belief in god. Nor should they be. Of course I did not invent the concept of the Cultural Muslim, but I do maintain author rights to its Wikipedia entry. Here’s how I describe it there: “Cultural Muslims are secular, religiously unobservant or irreligious individuals who still identify with Muslim culture due to family background, personal experiences or the social and cultural environment in which they grew up.” The writer and Islam expert Malise Ruthven has compared this kind of cultural Muslim to a secular Jew, someone who “takes on his or her parents’ confessional identity without necessarily subscribing to the beliefs and practices associated with the faith.” In my view most Muslims are against extremism and deep-down have much more in common with humanists, although they are practising a form of Pascal’s Wager, than they have with Islamists. Subconsciously, many question the traditional interpretations of the Islamic faith, yet remain proud of their religion’s architectural, literary and poetic heritage. They embrace the positive aspects of its culture – its camaraderie, charitability, hospitality and respect for elders – and still enjoy its cuisine, clothing and music. As one ex-Muslim joked to his wife, “I can give up God. I can give up Religion. But I can’t give up Sufi music.” This raises the million dollar question: can you be a cultural Muslim and a Muslim at the same time? Traditionalist Salafists would scoff at the idea and boot you out of the mosque quicker than you could say “Allah hu Akbar”. Modernists entertain the idea, if only behind clenched teeth, because it still holds you within the throes of Islam. For me the issue is about engagement. I believe we have an opportunity to explore, reflect and engage with our common heritage in a positive fashion, rather than focusing on the dissociative stigma of the ex-Muslim tag for which I am, rather unfortunately, well known. I find believers are more amenable that way, and more importantly, it yields results. For the first time this debate can bring two important and largely ignored groups together; the self-segregated irreligious and the forsaken Muslims liberals. Together they hold the key to lasting bottom-up reform within the Ummah, just as the same groups did with the Church’s Reformation. We can each support and promote our common cause against Islamic extremism. If anything can bridge the existing impasse, negativity and inertia within the today’s Islamic World, I’m all for it. [2]

Afghan Cultural Influences

Let us examine the culture of an Afghan Islamic culture to see how this affects the culture of an Islamic tribe. “The Afghans are such impressive, devout, generous, and energetic people. They have an acute sense of humor in the face of relentless misery and adversity. They are superb, courageous soldiers and energetic, creative businessmen. They have deep respect for learning and teachers-and a thirst and gratitude for education and knowledge even at the most elemental level. They are intensely focused as students at any age and quick to learn and adapt.” -General Barry R. McCaffrey, U.S. Army (Retired) After Action Report, Visit to Kuwait and Afghanistan, 10-18 November 2009 Tribes/Clans Afghanistan, as a multi-tribal society, consists of sub-tribes, clans, and sects that represent specific communities or villages. While tribes are important, communities and villages reflect the dynamics of the Afghan culture. They are self-contained, most often due to geography, which has enabled them, over the centuries, to maintain their own culture with minimal outside influence. While clans and sub-tribes, and alliances of clans and sub-tribes, have fought each other for centuries, these same clans and sub-tribes have banded together to successfully resist and/or oust foreign intervention, even that of Afghan central governments if they believed their honor was being violated. They will fight to the death to defend their honor. Afghan Women Afghan women and girls are not free like American women and girls. In Afghanistan, women cannot drive cars, ride bicycles and horses, participate in sports and other social activities, and travel and shop without being accompanied by a male family member. While some Afghan women and girls may work outside their homes, attend school, and have greater freedom of dress and contacts with men other than family members, based on their tribal group’s beliefs and/or practices, you will not see them enjoying the freedoms and doing other things American women and girls routinely do. Life for most Afghan women is extremely hard. Their life expectancy is 44.39 years as compared to Afghans males, which is 44.04 years. Their freedom of movement is severely restricted. While some may be seen in public during the day, it is extremely rare to see them in public at night, even with a male family member. In many cases, men even shop for personal items for their wives so that women need not risk their modesty by leaving home. Medical care for women is inadequate if available at all. Conditions in most homes are primitive compared to Western standards. They lack running water and indoor plumbing. The availability of electricity, if they have it at all, is inconsistent. And, they only have modest privacy in their homes as they typically share the same small room with other women and children. The wife of the eldest male is the dominant female. If he has more than one wife, the dominant female would be the first wife. An Afghan woman is considered to be the property of her husband, or father, or in their absence another male member of her family. Under some tribal laws, an Afghan woman cannot own property or receive an inheritance, whereas in other tribes she can. Marriages may be arranged, often to settle a debt or to secure an alliance. When they do marry, it is usually within their extended family, sometimes to first cousins. Rarely do they marry outside their tribe or sub-tribe. Afghan men are expected to protect their women’s honor, the same as they protect their home and property. Failure to do so makes them men without honor, which is socially unacceptable. Within the family household, multiple generations and their families, cousins, widowed and unmarried females, possibly additional wives, and elderly grandparents can often be found living together in a single compound. Interestingly, if the grandfather is still active, he typically controls all expenditures even if he is no longer the wage earner. An Afghan man may encounter or see a woman outside his extended family in public if there is no conflict or potential for conflict between families living in the same area. If there is such conflict, Afghan women are kept within their home’s walled compound. Consequently, Afghan women are not active participants in the insurgency unless used as shields to protect insurgents. Religion Afghanistan is an Islamic country-virtually 100 percent of Afghans are devout Muslims. Islam permeates their beliefs and daily lives. Muslims have two sources of Islam. One is the Quran and the other is the Hadith. The Quran is the holy book of the Islamic faith. Muslims believe it to be the actual words of God given directly to the Prophet Mohammed. Education In Afghanistan, as in most societies, vast differences exist between geography, cultures, generations, and financial abilities. “In most areas of Afghanistan, girls do not go to school and in many rural areas boys do not go to school.” In the more modern urban areas such as Kabul, many children, boys and girls, do attend school. Some Afghan boys go to boarding schools called madrasas where they learn to read and write, and to recite the Quran. Science and math may also be taught. [3]

The Term,”Moderate Islam” is Ugly and Offensive – PM Erdogan

August 24, 2007

A Recurrent Theme: On Moderate Muslims

When I write about our current struggle with Radical Islam, I try to maintain a careful differentiation between the Radical Islamists (Islamic fascists) who desire to kill as many of us as possible and impose their will upon us, and those “Moderate” Muslims who are more willing to live and let live.  On a fairly regular basis, such posts are met with comments that are variations on a theme:

Moderate Islam is an oxymoron.  There is no such thing as Moderate Islam.  Islam itself is an imperialistic, intolerant, and murderous ideology.

Sadly enough, such comments may be accurate, if we accept the words of such an authority on the subject as the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan: [HT: Snouck Hurgronje]

PM Erdogan: The Term “Moderate Islam” Is Ugly And Offensive; There Is No Moderate Islam; Islam Is Islam Speaking at Kanal D TV’s Arena program, PM Erdogan commented on the term “moderate Islam”, often used in the West to describe AKP and said, ‘These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”

This is especially disheartening when we consider that Turkey has been the shining light of an Islamic democracy.  Yet I would propose a radical notion of my own:

Even if there is no such thing as Moderate Islam it is in our best interests (and the Muslim World’s best interests) to act as if the distinction is valid.

I have written about Moderate Muslims on many occasions.  I have discussed the parallels between “Good Muslims” and “Good Germans”:

It is also worth wondering if there even exists a sizable population of moderate Muslims. The MSM, our government, most civilized people seem to believe that if they insist there exists a moderate Islam, then it must be so. While I have no doubt there are moderate Muslims, their lack of visibility is troubling. When even in this country, where dissenters are safer than most anywhere else, a rally for Muslims against terror draws minimal numbers, it is troubling.  Whenever there is an article written, or a public stance taken, opposing the Islamic fascists, the brave individual Muslim puts their life at risk, receives condemnation from official organs of Islam, and often receives death threat fatwas. They receive nothing but calumny from the governments which are supposed to be our allies in this war. The official Egyptian press and the state sponsored Imams in state supported mosques, regularly spew out the worst hatred of infidels (that is Americans and Israelis, especially, but with special vitriol for those Europeans who have the temerity to object to their increasing dhimmitude) and apostates. Most Islamic states have death penalties for apostasy, for desecration of the Koran, and for any of a number of offenses against Islam; at the same time, Shariah law openly, arrogantly, discriminates against those who are not sufficiently Islamic, and grants almost no rights to non Muslims.

I followed that post with Moderate Islam and Moderate Muslims Revisited; in both posts I commented on the dearth of evidence supporting the existence of a large cohort of Moderate Muslims, yet I continue to write as if the distinction between Islam and Radical Islam is valid and important.

How can I support the apparent use of denial by proposing we act as if there is a valid distinction between Islam and Radical Islam when such a distinction may not in fact exist?

No one argues there is no such thing as a Moderate Muslim.  There are obviously a great many Muslims who believe in their religion and yet do not seek to use violence to impose it upon the rest of us.  There are also most certainly a great many Muslims who are perfectly willing to “let and let live”, which is the hallmark of a tolerant, liberal religion.  Such liberal and modest Muslims are prime targets of the Radicals who are intolerant of any measure of apostasy.  They are natural allies to the West although they do seem to be cowed and/or marginalized by the Radicals, who threaten them with death, and the liberal MSM and governments which do all they can to ignore such people.  (As an example, why is CAIR, a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot, so often quoted as representative of American Muslims, rather than Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a truly moderate American Muslim?)

The problem we face is not a lack of Moderate Muslims but a surfeit of Muslims who have a fundamentalist view of the Koran and Sharia, which is admittedly intolerant, violent, expansionist, and cruel.  Among the 30-75% of Muslims that accept such a view of Jihad, a significant fraction support extreme violence against their enemies (especially Americans and Jews, but not excluding Europeans, other Christians, non “peoples of the book”, etc.)  A much smaller fraction take active part in financing and carrying out such deeds.

The ideological fight of our times is the fight against that fraction that supports overt violence against us.    Out tactics must always be in the service of a strategy or strategies which can effectively minimize the size of the cohort willing and able to take violent action against us.  Once fundamentalist Muslims are willing to eschew violence and engage in an ideological fight, they will have already lost.  Radical Islam cannot survive Modernity.

To that end, we need to stabilize Iraq and leverage the Iraqi’s loathing of the excesses of al Qaeda to create a country that is intolerant of such extremist violence.  This seems achievable in the light of the successes we have already seen from the surge.

Further, as our troops on the ground have discovered, we need to be careful not to alienate the population of Muslims who believe in their religion and are primed to see infidels as evil enemies.

The idea that we are creating more enemies than we are killing is a valid concern; recent evidence suggests we are now creating many more allies than enemies among Iraqis (though the ease of dissemination of Radical Islamic propaganda and the monopoly on information that is held by their fellow travelers throughout the Arab world especially, means that for the foreseeable future, until Iraq is unmistakably a better place, we will see both Shia and Sunni Radicalism grow in susceptible locations.)

Again, in the long term, Radical Islam is fundamentally incompatible with modernity, which is why the Islamists are so desperate; they know they cannot win.

Tom Barnett commented on the Lilla article I wrote about (and will return to) in a recent post, The renovation, not liberalization, of fundamentalist faith in a globalizing world; his conclusions parallel mine:

Does that speak to a long struggle? Sure. Globalization’s penetration of traditional societies is highly disruptive, so don’t expect less fundamentalism in response but more. The Great Separation is a refuge froim the nastiness of religious wars, but we can’t expect people to pre-emptively make that leap of logic without first indulging their wars of the spirit (Fukuyama’s point).

Again, that’s why I called it “The Pentagon’s New Map.” I have no illusions about the inevitable violence ahead. I just want people to understand our best strategies for the long haul so they can keep their eyes on the prize.

In a different post, Questioning the most sacred national interest, Tom Barnett comments on how expanding the war into Iran has the predictable outcome of derailing globalization’s progress in the Middle East.  His piece is a fascinating read, which delineates some of the ways in which even the most disquieting and noxious ideas can serve a long term interest.  I will not attempt to describe his response to Walt and Mearsheimer’s thinly disguised reprise of the Protocols, but do find his strategic thinking useful and provocative:

We’re being sold a war right now with Iran that will likely prove the death knell for the Big Bang strategy and all the American lives so far sacrificed for that ambitious goal. And that’s a showstopper that need not occur, especially as dynamics in the region are finally gelling nicely toward the sort of movement I tried to depict in my Mideast-one-year-from-now-column (laid out nicely in the Erlanger piece, where he says “The Bush administration finally seems to understand, one American official said, that there is no sustainable status quo.” To which I reply, “Duh!” Wasn’t that the whole point of the Big Bang?!?!).

In this, I agree with Tom Barnett that our goal needs to be to create conditions for the advance of globalization (ie, the penetration of the modern world into the formerly hermetically sealed world of Islam, any puns fully intended) though I think he underestimates the danger of communal violence and anarchy, and the passions thus liberated, to derail globalization as effectively as any American missteps of commission.

Any ideology that prescribes a narrow, pinched, ascetic life for its minions in the face of a world in which the individual is becoming more and more free and empowered, will lose adherents at an accelerating pace when the fruits of globalization reach them.  We can expect that the Radical Islamic intelligentsia (those who see themselves as the vanguard of the revolutionary mix of Islam and socialism they espouse) will continue their efforts to recruit the losers in the Islamic world as their spear carriers and suicide bombers, but their pool of potential recruits will shrink in direct proportion to the increasing potentials that globalization brings.

If we can avoid creating situations which support the Radicals’ meme that the West is waging war against all of Islam, the conflict will remain limited and containable.  And just as Communism lost adherents when the gap between its promises and its reality became unmistakable, so too will Radical Islam lose adherents when the gap between the promised Utopia of the Caliphate and the reality of the disaster that Radical Islam has brought upon its people wherever it has been imposed becomes unmistakable.

When the adherents of an ideology lose battles, whether militarily or economically, the ideology loses followers.  That is human nature.  Radical Islam looks like a loser when it fails, whether on the battlefields in Anbar or the economic arena in Iran. [4]

Comments on Islamic Culture and Cultural Muslims

(1) By Islamic custom, a Muslim is one born to a Muslim father who takes on his or her parents’ confessional identity without necessarily subscribing to the beliefs and practices associated with the faith. Often, the label Muslim indicates their ethnicity and group allegiance, but not necessarily their religious beliefs. In this limited context (which may apply to other Muslim minorities in Europe and Asia), there may be no contradiction between being Muslim and being atheist or agnostic, just as there are Jewish atheists and Jewish agnostics… It should be noted, however, that this secular definition of Muslim (sometimes the terms cultural Muslim or nominal Muslim are used) is very far from being uncontested. (2)Cultural Muslims are religiously unobservant, secular or irreligious individuals who still identify with the Muslim culture due to family background, personal experiences, or the social and cultural environment in which they grew up. (3) Cultural Muslims are religiously unobservant, secular or irreligious individuals who still identify with the Muslim culture due to family background, personal experiences, or the social and cultural environment in which they grew up. The cultural lifestyles of Islamic Afghanistan is/was typical of most Islamic countries especially countries that have been 3rd world nations and are poor and undeveloped. Islam therefore could only be transmitted through the family, limited to the family’s religious knowledge, and through any local imams if there was a mosque nearby. Individual study and investigation of the Holy book was certainly beyond the reach of most people except maybe the clergy, and even then it was very limited. We also know that the influence of the Woman of the household is a very important function, but if most women were illiterate and beyond the reach of religious teachings, religious education in a rural family was almost negligible. So what knowledge many Muslims acquired are bits and pieces that is handed down from the family or peers. But women are largely isolated from the larger commuknity socially so there is no way her knowledge of Islam would be a contributing factor in the family. Yet from (1) above, he is still a Muslim because he was born of a Muslim. So if we observe a simple village Muslim in Afghanistan, or Pakistan or Indonesia, or even Somali we would be gullible to believe that these simple people are the paragons of Islamic behaviour or ideology. We would have to ask if we were ignorant of what is a Muslim (One who observes the 5 Pillars of Islam), or the differences with that of a illiterate and uninstructed cultural Muslim. (4) On the other hand comp[are the above with an orthodox Muslim is one who Strictly observes the 5 Pillars of Islam, i.e., (1)  The Shahadah, which is the basic creed  of Islam: “I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”  (2) Salah, or ritual prayer, which must be performed “five times a day.” Salah is compulsory.  Note what Muhammad has declared about Salah: “BUKHARI:V1B11N617: “I (Mohammed) would order someone to collect firewood and another to lead prayer. Then I would burn the houses of men who did not present themselves at the compulsory prayer and prostration.”(All pious Muslims Observe Salah.) (3)  Zakat or obligatory alms-giving: in the case of Zakat it means rendering help to an endeavour TO SERVE ISLAM SUCH AS THE PROPAGATION OF ISLAM, JIHAD. etc. (4) Sawm or fasting during the month of Ramadan. Muslims are required to fast during Ramadan. The fast is to encourage a feeling of nearness to Allah (Reinforcing of oaths to Allah.) (5) Hajj, which is the pilgrimage during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah in the city of Mecca. Every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it MUST MAKE THE PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA AT LEAST ONCE IN HIS OR HER LIFETIME. Here, failure to perform Hajj if you have the means to do so, is described as KUFR.  (I accept that anyone who has done the hajj can be classified as a Muslim.) It is very clear to me who are Muslims and who are “Cultural Muslims” to me.  When I speak about Muslims I refer to those who observe the 5 Pillars of Islam. Any non-Muslim apologist of Islam who believe that “cultural Muslims” as dcescribed above represents Islam or orthodox Muslims should have their heads examined. No only do they show they ignorance of Islam but they are also INSULTING ISLAM AND ORTHODOX MUSLIMS. I hope this clears the vague diction people attach to Islam and Muslims and stop such people from stirring up misunderstandings and hatred because of the false information they present.


An American Cultural Muslim

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Secular Muslims, Say What?

Stereotyping Rankles Silent, Secular Majority of American Muslims Khalid Pervaiz is an American Muslim, an investment banker in Los Angeles with two young daughters. On the door of his home is a Christmas wreath made by his 7- year-old, and in the living room is a Christmas tree with an angel on top. His daughters go to the mosque, or masjid, on Sundays for classes in the Koran, but Mr. Pervaiz himself goes once a year on the major Muslim holiday of Id al-Fitr. “I had the privilege of being exposed to other religions from the very beginning, so I wasn’t so fixed on the idea that Islam is the only way to live,” Mr. Pervaiz said. “Every once in a blue moon I will go for my Friday prayers, but I still think I’m a good Muslim. If I don’t go and pray five times a day, I don’t think I’m less of a Muslim. I’m just not a practicing, going-to-the-masjid Muslim.” In behavior and belief, Mr. Pervaiz is among an overlooked silent majority of Muslims in America. They call themselves moderates, but another way to describe them is as cultural Muslims, akin to the assimilated cultural Jews who identify as Jewish, eat gefilte fish and celebrate Passover, but are for the most part not observant and not affiliated with a synagogue. The cultural Muslims may attend prayers in mosques once a year on Id al-Fitr, not unlike Christians who make it to church only on Easter or Jews who attend services only on the High Holy Days. They may fast intermittently in the monthlong holiday of Ramadan, but they do not pray regularly. And yet they consider themselves good Muslims.


[1] Defining Cultural Muslim:

[1.1] Cutural Muslim:;wap2

[2] Cultural Muslim-Saif Rahman:

[3] Afghan Islamic Culture:

[4] Moderate Islam is Offensive:

[5] No Moderate Muslim Video: 

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