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 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.
The most basic example of this is a person's name. Many Arabic names are now commonly regarded as being "Muslim". Many Arab carry these names by virtue of descent, regardless of their personal beliefs.
Cultural Muslims often celebrate the Muslim festivals of Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha. However, their celebrations are likely to be more in the nature of social gatherings rather than religious ones. Religious Muslims would generally consider the morning salat or ritual prayer to be central to Eid; however, cultural Muslims may focus on the opportunity to meet and feast with friends and family later in the day.
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.
It is no surprise that people would try to share common beliefs if there is no eminent reason to reject them. A born Muslim would consider himself or herself a Muslim even he or she does not practice any actions of religion. In the end, the proportion of the population in Turkey that practice the religion as a part of their beliefs is considerably lower than the officially-stated figure. Many either do not practice at all (although they consider themselves Muslims) or merely engage in certain activities out of cultural, not religious motives.
This face of the Muslim Kabyle society must not be confused with the anti-Muslim behavior of some Kabyle nationalists, for who Islam is "the Arabs' religion". The context of this behavior is very complex; the struggle against the central Algerian power includes the rejection of its values, which are Arabism and... Islam, while there is also the question of "saving Kabyle secular Islam against the violence of Arabist Islamism".
One of the results of this situation is that many Muslims (especially among Arabs) do not consider Kabyle Muslims as real ones, but as Christians or Kuffar (the Arabic word for "disbelievers"). It is further interesting to note that Kabyle Christians are by far more observant than their Muslim cousins.
Belief Does Not Make You Moral ; Let's Celebrate That More People Will Be Visiting Their Local DIY Store Than Church This Weekend. God Has Done Little for Society
Apr 23, 2000; It is Easter weekend and thousands of men up and down the country are driving to vast, cathedral-like buildings on the edge of...