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Muslim communities’ identity transformation through the pela gandong ritual communication in Moluccas Immanuel Church, Indonesia


This study focuses on the phenomenon that arose from the involvement of the Muslim community in the pela gandong ritual communication on December 2, 2018. Religious symbols were used to celebrate the first Advent held in Immanuel Church, Moluccas Islands, Indonesia. Symbols included chanting the call to prayer, lafadz Rawi barzanji, and the call to worship, singing hymns of praise, and lighting Advent candles. Using qualitative methods and subjective interpretive paradigms with data collected through interviews, observations were made from a phenomenological perspective, especially ritual, social transformation, social identity negotiation, and symbolic interactionism theory. The results showed that the involvement of the Muslim community in communication rituals has beliefs and values as central principles of kindred equivalence and social-community concerns. In addition, implementing cross-religious kinship in the subjective experience impacts proof of self-identity, human kinship, relationship creation, treatment acceptance, and joint worship labels. The last leads to a developed case of civic pluralism in the pre-conflict era that had been shattered by the conflict. It is likely that cross-religious civic pluralism is a necessary precondition for efforts to build theological pluralism. This article contributes to understanding Muslim communities’ subjective experience regarding cross-religious pela gandong ritual communication and encourages further research in this area.

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We are thankful to the institution of research, community service, and publications of the Ministry of Religion in the Republic of Indonesia and State Islamic Institution Ambon, Indonesia. We also thank the people in the Muslim communities involved in ritual communication in Moluccas Immanuel Church, Indonesia, for immense support throughout the conducting of this review.

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Sulaeman Sulaeman, M. Ridwan, and Anasufi Banawi are responsible for writing the article, constructing analysis frameworks, data collection, data analysis, and article translation. Irta Sulastri, and Sulaeman Sulaeman are responsible for making constructive revisions to the article, responding to reviewers, and language polishing. Nur Salam, Eman Wahyudi Kasim, and Darma Darma are responsible for data analysis, article revision, article translation, and responding to reviewers.

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Correspondence to Sulaeman Sulaeman.

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Sulaeman, S., Ridwan, M., Sulastri, I. et al. Muslim communities’ identity transformation through the pela gandong ritual communication in Moluccas Immanuel Church, Indonesia. Cont Islam (2022).

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  • Identity transformation
  • Ritual communication
  • Muslim communities
  • Pela gandong
  • Immanuel Church