One of Jubilee Actions key partners in Pakistan, Joseph Francis of the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), received violent threats from Al-Qaeda operatives on the 25 and 26 of September. The threats, made by a young man from the Al-Qaeda movement, have been reported to the police but for security reasons, the CLAAS offices have been temporarily closed down. Joseph Francis, is going to hold a hunger strike today in order to condemn the terrorism against Christians, which has been rampant in Pakistan since the twin towers attack in the US. The threats came on the same week that two gunmen burst into the offices of a Christian charity in Karachi and killed seven Christians at point blank range. Although no connection has been made between those attacks and direct Al-Qaeda involvement, the likelihood of Al-Qaeda influence in Pakistan is a bad omen for rising Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan. Ann Buwalda, Jubilee Campaigns US Director said: "These threats have made the difficult but vital work that Joseph Francis and his team are doing even more dangerous. This is part of a bigger issue in Pakistan right now and we are looking to the Pakistani authorities to send an unequivocal message to the extremists that they cannot act with impunity. Joseph has asked for our prayers during this time and we would ask others to join us in that." Since October 1999, Jubilee Action has worked with CLAAS, to provide aid for Christians with blasphemy charges against them. Through Jubilee Action's support, the charity has provided families with food, shelter, school fees and medical care. CLAAS were instrumental in several high profile cases of Christians sentenced to death on blasphemy charges. Most recently, CLAAS worked with Jubilee Action's sister organisation, Jubilee Campaign to successfully win Ayub Masihs freedom after he was unjustly imprisoned on false allegations of blasphemy. It is not yet clear whether these threats have come as direct a result this work. source: Jubilee Action
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