Interreligious Dialogue

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Human life is indeed filled with various events. Good or bad events, both of it which is must have a cause and through the process until the occurrence of the event. As reality, it must have a cause or reason, process, and outcome. That is also true peace, which many people have always dreamed of and strived for. There are many ways to create peace. The true peace in my opinion is the achievement of peace in all aspects that can be accessed by the human sense and its extension based on each person’s idealism. Interreligious peace is one aspect. To create this there are various ways, one of which is by implementing an interfaith event. Even small activities are very meaningful in creating peace between people.

In this final paper I used a case study of the relationship between GPIB Immanuel Malang and Jami’ Mosque in Malang. These two religious communities have maintained harmonious relations for a long time. Why do I say harmonious? Because the two communities always helping each other in carrying out the activities or event and also understanding each other. This good relationship has been established for approximately 144 years. Immanuel Church was built in 1861 and Jami mosque in 1975, at least from 1975 until now there was a good relationship.

From the statement of Wido Pradipto, he was a head of Pelaksana Harian Majelis Jemaat (PHMJ), the journalist of the Kantor Berita Radio (KBR) revealed that the peace between communities was due to a history of tolerance. Throughout history there has been no conflict, the two community have mutual respect. In history, both Muslim and Christian youth group (Pemuda) also collaborated in managing the beauty of the region. Two years ago, for example, they painted the median of the road and cleaned the environment. During the Christmas celebration, Muslim youth from the Barisan Ansor Serbaguna (Banser) and Youth from Jami Mosques help guard the church parking lot. Automatic routine without being asked.

One interesting event occurred on Sunday 5 October 2014. At that time it coincided with Eid al-Adha. Jami Mosque Malang held Id Prayer. Because of the very close distance between the Mosque and the Church building, the Immanuel church service which has 500 congregations was postponed in honor of Muslims who were carrying out Eid al-Adha prayers. The schedule for the 08.00 WIB service was postponed to 08.30 WIB. The policy to postpone the service schedule, said Wido, was an initiative of the church management after the government through the Ministry of Religion announced that Eid al-Adha fell on Sunday.

The church administrator sent a letter to the takmir of the mosque and delivered the changes to the service schedule. Wido also revealed that Zainuddin A. Muhit, a former lecturer at the Maulana Malik Ibrahim State Islamic University, who was a Takmir at the Jami mosque in Malang, was a great man because rarely did religious leaders express apologies when worship took place. Regarding the tolerance of the two communities, Chairman of the Malang Religious Harmony Forum (FKUB), Sudjaka Santosa said, this condition could be formed because there was communication between religious leaders. Every week leaders and religious leaders meet to stay in touch and communicate.(Widianto, 2014)

This research paper would offer a critical analysis about Interreligious activities issues that can maintain peace between religion adherence. The research paper will demonstrate comprehensions of the relevant texts from the class, the main theory to use in this paper was interreligious dialogue in social action theory and collective memory.

Research Question

  • What movement that established in the relation between GPIB Immanuel Malang and Jami Malang according Paul Kniter theory of interreligious dialogue in action?
  • How Interreligious activity can build collective memory to maintain peace between religion adherence in case GPIB Immanuel Malang and Jami Malang Mosque?

Thesis Statement

Peaceful relation between GPIB Immanuel Malang and Jami Malang Mosque happened because their are fulfill the movement theory by Paul Knitter and their Interreligious activity can built collective memory to maintain peace between their religion adherence.


Departing from the fact that todays most conflicts that occure based on identity conflicts. Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana state “The majority of conflicts in the world today are identity conflicts, in which identity is defined according to ethno-religious lines, or where religious traditions are used to justify violence and depict negative enemy images” (Cornile, 2013, 150).

From Interreligious Dialogue can be rebuilt or maintain a peaceful state among religious people. Because in religion there are also moral and spiritual teachings. Kadayifci-Orellana (2013) explain that religious traditions there are resources that can facilitate rebuilding trust, transform perceptions, and inspire a sense of engagement and commitment to the peacebuilding process. ( Abu-Nimer, 2001, 686). In context of GPIB Immanuel Malang and Jami Malang Mosque take a grass-roots level interreligious Dialogue. From data that I found They build interelligious dialogue by make interaction between their youth and congregation through social event (Cornile, 2013).

To describe more about Interreligious Dialogue In context GPIB Immanuel Malang and Jami Malang Mosque, I use Paul F. Knitter theory. Knitter explain there is three types of Interreligious Dialogue. First, The Dialogue of Theology, second, The Dialogue of Spirituality. Third, The Dialogue of Action (Cornile, 2013). In the context GPIB Immanuel Malang and Jami Malang Mosque, I use the third type, The Dialogue of Action. In the dialogue of action, the interreligious dialogue happened in social action. the congregation from each Religion can work together, and from the activies, they can recognize each other.

Knitter explain that there is five movements by which a socially engaged inter-religious dialogue can naturally unfold. First, Compassion:

“This is “the condition for the possibility” of socially engaged dialogue among religious believers: the participants, from their different socially and religiously constructed viewpoints… there is evidence that many religious persons from differing traditions can feel and actually are feeling a natural, spontaneous compassion for those who are suffering needlessly. This is the root meaning of the Latin compatire – to feel with, to suffer with. And when a Muslim and a Christian find themselves “suffering with” the marginalized, they also, perhaps to their surprise, find themselves “suffering together with ”each other. Here, to somewhat improperly extend our analogy, is their first encounter, their first date: they meet in their shared compassion for the suffering” (Cornile, 2013, 144).

In this first movement, the shared compassion in the context of GPIB Immanuel Malang and Jami Malang Mosque is a sense of togetherness that needs each other and has been built for a long time.


“Compassion will call for con-version; otherwise it is not real compassion. And con-version is the resolve to, literally, con-vertere , to turn things around in ones own life for the sake of others… such conversion to the wellbeing of others a real, but perhaps inarticulate, religious conversion… But whether we call it religious experience or not, it is a conversion that turns us not only to victims of oppression but also to others who have experienced and made the“turn”or“shift”to the suffering other. It is a shared conversion felt among differing religious believers before they even begin talking about religion”(Cornile, 2013, 144-145).

For the second movement, I assumed that they are was fulfill this movement. Because both religion teach to being a good people, and give the other what thay want to have.


“This is where the religious participants in dialogue roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty, together. And it is in this “co-laboring” that their shared “co-conversion”will begin to form a community of solidarity. In acting together for the sake of the suffering others, in bodily involvement with the task of alleviating suffering and restoring justice, religious believers from vastly differing traditions will bond. If “work makes free,” it also makes for community. Yes, it will be an inter-religious community in which each religious perspective may have a different analysis of the cause of suffering and a different solution for it.

Such differences make for the richness, indeed the possibility, of dialogue. But the overall concern or goal in such a“co-laboring”community will not be to prove that my viewpoint is better than yours. Rather, the criterion of truth will be: which analysis, which diagnosis, which response can best remove suffering. And in resolving such questions, the“religious”participants will give special hearing to the “marginalized”participants, those who are the direct victims of exploitative powers. Dirty hands will lead to closer hearts”(Cornile, 2013, 145).

To the third movement, Collaboration: their adherent want to work together, to help each other. They carry out various activities together. such as guarding each other’s worship. Provide help with one another according to their abilities, until they can understand each other.


“ Here the socially engaged dialogue embodies the hermeneutical circle between praxis and theory. There is a dynamic relationship between the two – action calls for thought, thought calls back for action. But again, I am urging a certain priority to praxis. In dialogue based on social action, praxis is the entry point to the hermeneutical circle. It not only calls for thought; it enables, motivates, and clarifies thought. This has been the growing experience of socially engaged religious dialoguers.

After they suffer with the suffering (compassion), after they come together in response to their plight (conversion), and especially after they feel the solidarity of acting together, religious people will feel enabled, or even compelled, to understand each other as religious people. John Gort crisply articulates the growing experience of socially engaged dialoguers” (Cornile, 2013, 145-146).

Fourth point movement, Comprehension, I assumed that they are has knowing each other because for some event, they are helping each other initiatively.


“Further movement in a socially engaged dialogue becomes possible, even necessary, beyond what far developed. In our various efforts to bring a multireligious contribution to the on-site efforts of peacemakers in different contexts of tension or violence, after spending days listening, negotiating, and acting, we found that at the end of the process we had to celebrate together in some kind of ritual. We needed something to do together that would express our solidarity and our hopes. We needed to come together, among ourselves in our different religious identities and with the people, on both sides, with whom we had been working. “Come together” is another way of translating “com-munion” cum-unire : to unite, find deeper unity.

Such “communions” took place in rituals in which we read from and reflected on our sacred scriptures together, prayed or expressed our intentions together, listened to our music or chanting together, and also, simply sat in silence together in the same space. These are all ways of engaging in what we have called the dialogue of spirituality; but it was a dialogue that needed some form of ritual, or in Christian language, sacramental expression–whether it be sacraments of gesture and words, or sacraments of silence”(Cornile, 2013, 146).

For the fifth movement, according to the data that I found untul now, they have not reached to this stage. They never do some ritual together.

According the theory above I have a explanation that relationship condition between GPIB Immanuel Malang and Jami Malang Mosque, based on my data, they are has fulfill point three and four from that Knitter theory.

I get Collective Memory theory explanation from various sources regarding from the Izak Lattu dissertation entitled Orality and Interreligious Relationships: The Role of Collective Memory in Christian-Muslim Engagements in Maluku, Indonesia. In the dissertation, Izak Lattu referred to Maurice Halbawachs’ explanation of Collective Memory. He states

“That what lives in social remembrances is the continuation of the past. While history holds space and time boundaries, collective memory lives beyond space and time. He emphasizes that collective memory is socially constructed. Collective memory always remains in the heart of society when the group recognizes, reclaims, recreates and performs memory within a set of people as well as passing down the memory to the next generation. According to Halbawachs, collective memory “is a current of continuous thought whose continuity is not at all artificial, for it retains from the past only what still lives or is capable of living in the consciousness of the groups keeping the memory alive” (Lattu, 2014, 58).

In preserving collective memory, Izak Lattu explain that a shared narrative is required.

“In Halbawachs’ perspective, the past image and narrative in a group’s social remembrance integrates a community promoting the community’s recognition of shared narrative and relationship. Thus collective memory is “a self-portrait that unfolds through time since it is an image of the past, and allows the group to recognize itself throughout the total succession of images.” Developing Halbawachs’ idea, Eviatar Zerubavel suggests that ancestor and descendant relationship is the common ground, among others, because it connects past and present in a kinship community.

The collective memory of a common ancestor also links cousinhood or co-descent who share the same cultural or social remembrance of the ancestry. Zerubavel argues, “common descent is one of the major sources of the commonality on which traditional forms of social solidarity normally rest. Having a common past also entails some general sense of sharing a common present. Rather than envision ourselves as disjointed atoms, knowing that we descend from some common ancestor makes us feel somehow connected” (Lattu, 2014, 60)

In his dissertation, Lattu give an example to the context of Maluku, the notion about kinship was the universal values that they want to share and remembered.

“Through the words of kapata, “hena masa ite loto Nunusakuoo,” (during our time in Nunusaku). People preserve collective memory and recall the past to reflect the present in order to project the future of social engagement in Maluku. It is narrate the cultural webs of pela relationships” (Lattu, 2014, 60-61).

From the context of relationship between GPIB Immanuel Malang and Jami Malang Mosque, my board conclusion, the universal values that they want to share and remembered was peace and justice values in Old Testament or as descendant of Abraham. According the statement from Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana in the book by Wiley Blackwell titled Companion to Inter-Religious Dialogue, her said “Virtually all religions incorporate values and principles promoting peace and justice”(Cornile, 2013, 50).

“Each religious tradition holds a variety of moral and spiritual resources that can facilitate rebuilding trust, transform perceptions, and inspire a sense of engagement and commitment to the peacebuilding process. Religious rituals, values, and principles can facilitate healing and trauma management. Religious texts and prophetic stories can provide examples of peacemaking, forgiveness, and compassion that can lead to a change of attitudes and behaviors” (Cornile, 2013, 52). For example, from The Christians there is the teaching about love by Jesus himself, that written in the gospel. For the Moslem, there is the teaching about hablum minannas. that teaching more bound strongly to both Christians and Moslems by the same source of faith notion, by the perspectitive name of God.

For the perspective name of God, I will start with Catholic statement, that I think can represent the statement from the Christians. In a document on human fraternity for world peace and living together, from the apostolic journey of Pope Francis to the United Arab Emirates on three to five February 2019. They state that “Faith leads a believer to see in the other a brother or sister to be supported and loved. Through faith in God, who has created the universe, creatures and all human beings (equal on account of his mercy), believers are called to express this human fraternity by safeguarding creation and the entire universe and supporting all persons, especially the poorest and those most in need” (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2019).

They saw that the same of faith can bound them together as brother and sister, kinship. The document also said “In the name of God who has created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity, and who has called them to live together as brothers and sisters, to fill the earth and make known the values of goodness, love and peace. In the name of God and of everything stated thus far; Al-Azhar al-Sharif and the Muslims of the East and West, together with the Catholic Church and the Catholics of the East and West, declare the adoption of a culture of dialogue as the path. mutual cooperation as the code of conduct” (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2019). From this statement I concluded that Christians and the other religion had a same God.

The Christians and Moslems name of God refers to one understanding. Naming the divine is based on anthropomorphism notion that in human mind. They naming everything to they can to knowing. But in fact language has a limitation. In the book titled In the Name of God in Judaism Christianity and Islam, Maire Byrne, the book writer explain that

“‘Nothing in the world – no kin, no animal, no constellation of stars – can adequately embody Yahweh.’ Frequently the texts of the Hebrew Bible raise objections to any ideas that God can be comprehended fully through images of him as father, king, judge, and so forth. The Hebrew Bible is a collection of texts that are written by humans for communication to humans. The texts may be inspired but that does not diminish the limitations that humans will have in expressing their thinking and representations of the divine. Describing God is similar to recounting a colour to a blind person.

Other senses can be elaborated on; ‘green’ may be associated with the feel and taste of fresh shoots but it cannot be described accurately as it is a concept that is unique to each person and a result of their lived experience. Humans have limits in the use of language in describing something that is not physically concrete and not visually experienced. No human possesses anything that could be seen even remotely as a universal language, and even within our own language we have a limited vocabulary and are technically inadequate in our use of this vocabulary” (Byrne, 2011, 18).

In the simple conclusion, human can’t naming something that doesn’t had limitation, because naming was had a limitation. The most important thing is the meaning or the purpose behind the name and the similarities from it. From the two religon, a lot of names about the deity refer to representations that the Deity as the Creator and as Father. So the narative that shared in the relationship between Christians and Islam they are both has a same understanding about God, in the way of God name. That God is the Creator and the Father for them.

Back to collective memory theory, Lattu explain that social engagement with fellow members of a group or society is the prerequisite to preserve a collective memory.

Why is social engagement the basis of collective memory? Halbawachs argues, “a man [and woman] often appeal to other’s remembrances to evoke his (or her) own past. He (she) goes back to reference points determined by society…” Collective memory is the memory of society. Therefore people need other members of the community to trigger and recall the collective memory. Halbawachs claims that people must be attached to a group, physically or imaginatively, in order to maintain the collective memory, “there must be enough points of contact so that any remembrance they recall to us can be reconstructed on a common foundation.”

Social engagement with other members of society who share the same remembrance is the point of departure for the recollection of the collective past. Contact and relationship should be repeated in order to hold the collective memory in the long run. According to Halbawachs, “these contacts and relationships may be permanent, or at least repeated often enough to endure for a long period.” Having such intensive contact, physically or imaginatively, people constantly repeat and pass down the collective representation of the past to the next generation. At this point, the contact with fellow social groups evokes collective recognition of social remembrance (Lattu, 2014, 58-59).

This phase applies to the relationship between GPIB Immanuel Malang church and Malang Jami Mosque. As I have discussed in the early part of this paper, the peace between communities was a history of tolerance. Throughout history there has been no conflict, the two community have mutual respect. In history, both Muslim and Christian youth group (Pemuda) also collaborated in managing the beauty of the region. Years ago, for example, they painted the median of the road and cleaned the environment. Even, they have Interreligious event that they usually do. During the Christmas celebration, Muslim youth from the Barisan Ansor Serbaguna (Banser) and Youth from Jami Mosques help guard the church parking lot.

Automatic routine without being asked. Chairperson of II Jami ‘Malang Grand Mosque, H. Abdul Aziz. On the news reported by Kumparan states if that one place of worship is an activity, they send letters to each other, to support each other. Likewise when the church service was held, usually their congregation parked the car to the south or to the front of the mosque, it was not a problem, in addition, if the church had voluntary work, the Jami Mosque dropped personnel to assist the event (Thoriq, 2019).

Behavior that helps each other in interreligious activity and initiative carried out by GPIB Immanuel Malang and Jami Malang Mosque is also a form of Collective Recognition. Lattu explain that “Collective recognition of shared data provides a common framework of collective memory. This statement according Halbawachs that asserts, “a remembrance is gained not merely by reconstituting the image of a past event a piece at a time. That reconstruction must start from shared data of conceptions.” Data or common knowledge helps in reconstituting a collective memory in a given society. The reason for this is because “remembrance is at once recognized and reconstructed”(Lattu, 2014, 59)


Good relation between interreligious can be happened if there is started with consciousness about the importance of interreligious dialogue to make a peace. That consciousness must be applied in the interreligious event. That can build a collective memory that necessary for the future.


  1. Byrne, Maire. (2011). The Names of God in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: A Basis for Interfaith Dialogue. India. Continuum International Publishing Group.
  2. Cornille, Cathrine. (2013). Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Inter-Religious Dialogue. United Kingdom. A John Wiley and Sons.
  3. Lattu, Izak. (2014). Orality and Interreligious Relationships: The Role of Collective Memory in Christian-Muslim Engagements in Maluku, Indonesia (Doctoral Dessertation). University of California, Berkley.
  4. Libreria Editrice Vaticana. (2019). Apostolic Journey of His Holines Pope Francis to the United Arab Emirates: a Documen of Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together. Vatican
  5. Thoriq, Irham. (2019, 27 Maret). Kisah Gereja dan Masjid di Malang, Saling Berdekatan Menjaga Kerukunan. https://kumparan.com/tugumalang/kisah-gereja-dan-masjid-di-malang-saling-berdekatan-menjaga-kerukunan-1553649227529065022
  6. Widianto, E. (2014, 16 Oktober), Kisah Toleransi Antarumat Beragama di Malang Saat Idul Adha. Kantor Berita Radio. https://m.kbr.id/berita/102014/kisah_toleransi antarumat_beragama_di malang_saat idul_adha/ 58728.html

Cite this paper

Interreligious Dialogue. (2021, Feb 17). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/interreligious-dialogue/

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