Daily Video

May 28, 2009

“Chrislam” Combines Christian and Muslim Beliefs

In Nigeria, where half of the population is Muslim and the other half is Christian, the so-called “Chrislam” church is blurring the lines between the two major religions.

In a country where sectarian violence between those two populations has left thousands dead over the years, Chrislam’s practitioners focus on the traditions and values shared by both Christianity and Islam.

Pastor Shamsuddin Saka believes that Christians and Muslims can trace their religious roots back to Abraham.

“Abraham has many children. Abraham is the father of Christianity and the father of Islam,” Saka says. Why are the Christian and Muslim fighting?”

In this video, NewsHour special correspondent Fred De Sam Lazaro reports from Lagos, Nigeria, where Pastor Saka and Chrislam’s practicioners are finding common ground between two faiths.


“Islam is a religion of peace, of love, of miracles. When you’re talking about miracles, Islam is a miracle itself. The founding of the Koran itself is a miracle.” – Pastor Shamsuddin Saka

“They believe, in some cases in various African counties of what I’ve call spirituality without boundaries. So it’s nothing foreign to a Muslim to believe in Jesus, to pray in Jesus, or some of the other prophets, to light a candle for the Virgin Mary, for example, as I’ve experienced Muslims do in churches in Senegal,” Dr. Mara Leichtman, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Michigan State University.

“If they’re poor, if they’re suffering from HIV-AIDS, if they’re trying to understand a changing political situation, finding a new religion is one way of coping with the situation, of looking for new leadership, of trying to have control on their own through prayer, through different rituals of something that may not necessarily be controllable.” – Dr. Mara Leichtman, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Michigan State University.

Warm Up Questions

1. What are the differences and similarities between Christianity and Islam.

2. How do religious differences divide societies?

Discussion Questions

1. What did you think about this video? What is your response to the idea of Chrislam?

2. What makes Chrislam unique to Nigeria? What aspects of it are universal?

3. Can you think of some examples of other religious or social movements that have blended multiple faiths and traditions?

Additional Resources

Read the transcript

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