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The Emergence of Chrislam in Lagos (Nigeria): Moving Toward “Islamic Pentecostalism”?

Dr. Marloes Janson

This research project explores the emergence of Chrislam, a syncretistic religious movement mixing Islam with Christian beliefs and practices, in its sociocultural and political setting in contemporary Lagos, Nigeria. Nigeria forms an interesting setting in that its inhabitants are almost evenly divided between Christians and Muslims. Nigeria’s former capital Lagos, a megacity characterized by corruption, eroding socio-economic structures, and increasing violence between Muslims and Christians, forms a challenging avenue to explore the spiritual means Chrislam provides its worshippers to shape their lives. At a time when Born-Again Christianity and reformist Islam are among the world’s fastest growing religious traditions, my research assumes that the expansion of Chrislam has to be seen as a part of a wider move toward what has been designated  “Islamic Pentecostalism” in some of the recent social science literature on religion. By means of participant observation, biographical interviews, and other anthropological research methods, an ethnography of Chrislam will be recorded in which attention is paid to the movement’s historical origins, its leadership structure, the social profile of its membership, its rituals, the media it uses to disseminate its message, and its relation with other religious movements (Christian, Muslim, and traditional).