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Jamaat-i-Islami (also spelled Jamaat-e-Islami) is a religious political party in Pakistan. The Jamaat's views can be summarized by stating the views of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA - a coalition of religious political parties in Pakistan) to which Jamaat-e-Islami belongs. The MMA believes any and all attempts to settle the Kashmir dispute peacefully are futile, and instead supports the "Jihad of Kashmir". While Pervez Musharraf was President of Pakistan, the MMA criticized his support for the United States by calling it a "betrayal" to the Taliban. Jamaat-e-Islami was (and remains) directly responsible for the religious persecution and subsequent genocide of thousands of Ahmadi Muslims living in Pakistan over the last 60 years.

The Jamaat was founded by a Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi in 1941, prior to the 1947 Indo-Pak split mediated by the British. The Jamaat was founded on the principle that the only way to find peace is through religious purification and acceptance of Islamic Shariah law. The Jamaat also condemned any illegal or underground action as a means of attaining power. Because of the Jamaat's overwhelming public support, Pakistan officially became a Muslim country in 1948.

Despite resistance from Pakistani liberals, Jamaat-i-Islami continued to grow in size and support throughout the latter half of the century. Though they remained an opposition party for the majority of the time, their influence throughout Pakistani politics was by no means little. Their main source of influence was through student unions at several highly populated universities throughout the nation. Many of these student unions were militant in nature, and violent clashes with other student organizations were common. Maududi's support from Islamist leaders also grew significantly. Most notably, the government of Saudi Arabia supported Maudidi's efforts to such a great extent that they personally arranged his release from jail after he was arrested in 1977 for organizing a "civil disobedience campaign".

The relationships between Jamaat-e-Islami and various Pakistani government officials over the years have been numerous and fickle. Due to time constraints, I cannot do justice to this mostly unexplored area of Pakistani politics. Needless to say, most of the facts are not available to me, as reliable historical sources are limited in this field. Thus I'll leave this topic open for a wiser noder.

Jamaat-e-Islami claims to be respectful and indiscriminate to people of all race, color and creed - except one group of Muslims known today as Ahmadi Muslims. Ahmadis differ from mainstream Muslims in that they believe the second coming of Jesus Christ has already happened - they believe the Messiah of our age to be a Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, an Indian man whose writings gained widespread popularity throughout the subcontinent for their logical view of modern Islam. Most significantly, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed the time for the "Jihad of the sword" was over, and the time had come for the "Jihad of the pen". Because of this and a few other minor disagreements with the logic of mainstream Islam, Ahmadis have been persecuted throughout the Middle East for the past century.

Jamaat-i-Islami has openly declared its prejudice against Ahmadis on several occassions, explaining this prejudice by claiming Ahmadiyyat is "Un-Islamic". Violent attacks against Ahmadis and other non-muslim minorities are numerous and fairly well documented. On one occasion the Jamaat claimed responsibility for the assassination of Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq, a notable religious leader in Kashmir. Along with claiming responsibility, the Jamaat ordered all non-Muslims living in Kashmir at the time to leave within 48 hours or face death and violence. Another major incident in Pakistani history was in 1974, when the Jamaat led a violent campaign against Ahmadis living in their homes in Rabwah, Pakistan. Several casualties were reported, along with the desecration of graves and mosques. Additionally, the Jamaat forced through a legislative bill legalizing the persecution of Ahmadi Muslims, as well as creating harsh punishments for Ahmadis who openly call themselves Muslims in public. In 1984, the Jamaat, alongside General Zia-ul-Haq (Pakistani President at the time), enacted Ordinance XX, which essentially outlawed all Ahmadis from Pakistan. Human rights organizations continue to push for the secularization of Pakistan because of the atrocities committed mostly by Jamaat-e-Islami. Reports of other instances of Ahmadi persecution in Pakistan are outlined at www.thepersecution.org.

Before I finish, I would like to detail a short, personal account from the life of my brother in-law during his time in Pakistan. A few years ago, he and his friends would occasionally cruise through the streets, enjoying life as it came. One day, they decided to take a drive through a Punjab University campus with their music quite loud. Several members of the universities Jamaat-i-Islami student union (locally known as Jamaat-i's) stumbled upon them, apparently not very pleased by the decibel count of their tape deck. The ensuing brawl lasted over half an hour, in which many heroic blows were thrown by my brother in-law and his friend, though ultimately the Jamaat-i's outnumbered and overpowered both of them. After tearing out their radio and leaving them battered and bruised, the Jamaat-i's mercifully let them go, assuming they had learned their lesson. Though I cannot verify the accuracy of this story, I assume it is mostly accurate as it was a first person account. Regardless, the nature of this Jamaat in Pakistan is apparent, and I believe it is our duty as citizens of the free world to ensure no one else has to go through what my brother in-law and the hundreds of thousands of Ahmadis living in Pakistan have had to endure for years.

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