Jamaat-e-Islami Campaign Rally

At the ‘model village’ of Saidpur I came across a gathering of The Jamaat-e-Islami party campaigning. Not sure as to the protocol for making photos I eased my way in the crowd of about one hundred followers. Momentum was building as one of the politicians was speaking. The crowd was intend on listening to his message and that in turn guided me as to what and where to point my camera.

All of a sudden, the electricity quit and the speaker was left standing on the podium. The energy quickly dissipated and coincidentally it was time to pray. The light was fading and I had to meet someone for dinner so I took my cue and  departed. Later that evening I couldn’t help but think what it might be like for a Pakistani photographer to do what I did at a conservative political rally in say Texas?

Wikipedia: The Jamaat-e-Islami (Urdu: جماعتِ اسلامی;, lit. “Islamic Party” abbreviation, JI) is a social conservative and Islamist political party, advocating for an Islamic and democratic form of government in Pakistan. JI was founded in 1941 in Lahore by Muslim theologian and socio-political philosopher Abul Ala Maududi. The party is led by an Emir (literally Leader). Syed Munawar Hasan is currently the Emir of JI. JI is headquartered in Mansoorah district, Lahore.

Founded during British control in India, the JI moved its organization after the Indian partition to the newly created state of Pakistan, initially setting up its organizational mass in West-Pakistan. The members who remained in India regrouped to form an independent organization called Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. During the Bangladesh Liberation War, the JI opposed the independence of Bangladesh, but established itself there as an independent political party, the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami after 1975. The JI maintains close ties with international Muslim groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. The JI is a vanguard party: its members form an elite with “affiliates” and then “sympathizers” beneath them.

The Jamaat’s objective is establishment of an Islamic state, governed by Sharia law. The JI opposes ideologies such as capitalism, socialism and secularism; and practices such as bank interest and liberalize social mores, but the party advocates democracy as an integral part of Islamic political ideals.

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