Despite their mixed origins, the Cocos Malay people achieved an identity of their own within one generation of settlement on the Cocos Keeling Islands. The 'Cocos-born', as they were officially called, lived separately from the European owner-settlers of the islands. The Cocos Malay people had their own mosques, their own leaders and their own ceremonies.

Elements of the English-Scottish traditions of the early ruling Hare and Clunies-Ross families have been absorbed into Cocos Malay culture. Some foods, dances and musical influences been passed down through generations, for example, many events are still celebrated by dancing Scottish reels accompanied by violins.

Today the cornerstone of Cocos Malay society is the Islamic religion. Few depart from its teachings and observances, and Islam is the focus of most people's lives.