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Communities across the nation are taking Christianity and Islam–two diametrically opposed theologies–and working to blend them together.

Caleb Carter, 26, reads the Quran at home in Dearborn, Mich., Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011. For Carter, the road to becoming a Muslim took years, but Sept. 11, 2001 was a turning point _ specifically a high school teacher’s hostile reaction that day to the terrorist attacks. “I was a junior in high school at the time, taking a class called Nonwestern World Studies,” said Carter, who then lived in Columbia, Mo., but now resides in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, home to one of the nation’s largest Muslim communities. “For him, it was purely, ‘This is what Islam teaches. We shouldn’t be surprised.’ He played the whole ‘Islam equals terrorism card.'” (AP Images/Paul Sancya)
“Chrislam, as the name suggests, is a growing movement wherein some Christians are seeking to find common ground with Muslims,” explains theologian Bill Muehlenberg of the doctrine that began in Nigeria in the 1980s. “Indeed, it actually seeks to combine Christianity with Islam.”
Chrislam has gained significant momentum since the seed was planted nearly three decades ago. Earlier this year Christian communities in Dallas, Chicago, Washington, D.C, and other cities placed Qurans in church pews–right alongside Bibles–and preached about the Prophet Muhammad.
Chrislamists use similarities, such as the monotheistic elements of Christianity and Islam, to unite believers under a common banner. For example, Chrislam advocates point to the mention of Jesus 25 times in the Quran, as well as congruent teachings on morals and ethics. By identifying these supposed parallels, proponents believe they are drawing a spiritual sword to battle atheism and polytheism and solving a deadly conflict in the West.

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