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Posts Tagged Islam

Saudi Arabia Is Redefining Islam for the World’s Largest Muslim Nation by Krithika Varagur/Mar 2, 2017

King Salman’s historic visit to Indonesia is the culmination of a long campaign for influence.

When Saudi Arabia’s King Salman landed in Indonesia on Wednesday, he became the first Saudi monarch to visit the world’s largest Muslim-majority country since 1970. Officials in Jakarta had hoped the visit would help them strengthen business ties and secure $25 billion in resource investments. That’s largely been a bust—as of Thursday, the kingdom has agreed to just one new deal, for a relatively paltry $1 billion.
But Saudi Arabia has, for decades, been making investments of a different sort—those aimed at influencing Indonesian culture and religion. The king’s current visit is the apex of that methodical campaign, and “has the potential to accelerate the expansion of Saudi Arabia’s cultural resources in Indonesia,” according to Chris Chaplin, a researcher at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asia. “In fact, given the size of his entourage, I wouldn’t be surprised if there will be a flurry of networking activity amongst Indonesian alumni of Saudi universities.”
Since 1980, Saudi Arabia has devoted millions of dollars to exporting its strict brand of Islam, Salafism, to historically tolerant and diverse IndonesiaIt has built more than 150 mosques (albeit in a country that has about800,000), a huge free university in Jakarta, and several Arabic language institutes; supplied more than 100 boarding schools with books and teachers (albeit in a country estimated to have between 13,000 and 30,000 boarding schools); brought in preachers and teachers; and disbursed thousands of scholarships for graduate study in Saudi Arabia. All this adds up to a deep network of Saudi influence.
“The advent of Salafism in Indonesia is part of Saudi Arabia’s global project to spread its brand of Islam throughout the Muslim world,” said Din Wahid, an expert on Indonesian Salafism at Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN) in Jakarta.
Salaf is Arabic for “forebear,” and Salafism is a Sunni movement that advocates a return to the Islamic traditions of the Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) and his contemporaries. It arose in reaction to 18th-century European colonialism in the Middle East, but it took particular root in Saudi Arabia in the hands of the influential preacher Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. Al-Wahab’s alliance with the House of Saud in 1744 cemented Wahhabism as the spiritual backbone of the Saudi Arabian state. And in the 20th century, Saudi Arabia, which had become fabulously oil-rich, started to invest its considerable resources in propagating its ideology abroad.
The heart of Indonesian Salafism is the Institute for the Study of Islam and Arabic (LIPIA), a completely Saudi-funded university in South Jakarta whose campus was abuzz the day before the king’s visit.
“It’s really great that our two countries are becoming closer,” said one student who, like most of the other male students at LIPIA, had a wispy beard and wore cropped pants, per hadith verses stating that covering one’s ankles connotes arrogance. “I’ve been reading all the news about the royal visit. I hope to further my own studies in Saudi Arabia, God willing.”
LIPIA’s doors opened in 1980. Its ostensible purpose is to spread the Arabic language, and there’s not a word of the country’s official language, Bahasa Indonesia, on its campus—not a bathroom sign, not a library book. Tuition at LIPIA is free for all its 3,500 students. Music is considered bid’ah, an unnecessary innovation, and is prohibited, along with television and loud laughter. Men and women do not interact; classes of male students attend live lectures on one floor while female students watch the same lecture, live-streamed, on a separate floor.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs accredited LIPIA in 2015, which bodes well for the university’s push to open four more branches across the archipelago. Hammed al-Sultan, head of LIPIA’s Arabic language department, was confident that the satellite campuses would open by the fall of this year. But they will need their own green lights from the ministry, which has voiced concerns about whether they will uphold moderate Islam and Indonesia’s state philosophy of Pancasila, which enshrines religious tolerance.
When I asked whether LIPIA Jakarta already does this, al-Sultan said, “Pancasila … sorry, what is that again?” An LIPIA representative acting as our translator quickly briefed him on it. Al-Sultan said, “Yes, our integration of Pancasila is in progress since it was a requirement for our accreditation two years ago.”
Muhammad Adlin Sila of the Ministry of Religious Affairs was more frank.“We are concerned about some alumni from LIPIA who are big fans of khilafah [the caliphate of the Islamic State].”
Ulil-Abshar Abdalla, a LIPIA alumnus who now runs the Liberal Islam Network, said he found the university’s theological climate oppressive when he attended in the early 1990s. “Theology, which is a mandatory subject there, is only taught by committed Wahhabis, and I really think their ideology is antithetical to traditional Indonesian Islam, which is usually syncretic and relaxed,” he explained.
“Wahhabi, Wahhabi, Wahhabi… people love to throw around this term without knowing what it means!”
BeyondLIPIA, hundreds of Indonesians receive scholarships to study at Saudi universities every year. A few decades in, alumni of these programs are becoming nationally influential in their home country. Habib Rizieq, the founder of the Islamic Defenders Front, a hardline organization associated with religion-related violence, attended both LIPIA and King Saud University in Riyadh. Jafar Umar Thalib, who founded the militant Salafi group Laskar Jihad, also graduated from LIPIA. Right-wing Islamist leaders like Hidayat Nur Wahid, a member of parliament who earned three degrees on scholarship from the University of Medina, are prominent in mainstream politics.
LIPIA alumni have also set up pesantren, or Islamic boarding schools, across Indonesia. Many of the country’s 100-odd Salafi pesantren are supplied by Saudi Arabia with teachers, especially in the Arabic language, and textbooks, according to Din Wahid. For many poor families, these pesantren are the only feasible option for their kids’ schooling, despite ideological quibbles, Wahid said.
Enterprising Saudi envoys have even made inroads in places like Aceh, the westernmost Indonesian province that’s been wracked by natural disasters like the 2005 tsunami. “We have built mosques, hospitals, and schools there,” the Saudi ambassador to Indonesia, Mohammad Abdullah Alshuaibi, told me. “And an Arabic language institute.”
One reason Indonesia has been reluctant to push back on Saudi cultural advances is the all-important hajj quota, the number of citizens who can make the pilgrimage to Mecca in a given year. Indonesia gets the largest allowance in the world:221,000 this year. But decade-long hajj waiting lists are common in many provinces, and jeopardizing the national allowance could provoke a huge backlash, said Dadi Darmadi, a UIN researcher, and hajj expert.
“That being said, the Indonesian government has to be wiser and stop considering the hajj quota as a political gambit to attract more populist support in this country,” Darmadi said.
Nearly every Indonesian leader, from the president to the foreign minister to the Speaker of the House, has cited the hajj quota as an important focus of King Salman’s trip.
The first big policy objective announced for the visit, however, addressed not the hajj, but terrorism. A “pact to combat terrorism” will be the “centerpiece” of agreements signed in Indonesia this week, the Saudi ambassador, Alshuaibitold reporterson Tuesday.
“We need King Salman to make a clear and bold statement denouncing radicalism.”
It’s ironic, then, that some of Indonesia’s leading jihadists have passed through Saudi institutions. Although Salafism is largely “quietist,” or discouraging of political activity, there is a growing faction of Salafi jihadists in Indonesia, according to Din Wahid. In 1972, Saudi money helped to found the “ivy league” of jihadist pesantren, the Al-Mukmin school in Ngruki, Central Java. The Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah received funding from Saudi charities in theearly 2000s.Salafi TV, YouTube channels, Facebook groups, and Telegram channels have become a fertile ground for female extremists and ISIS sympathizers in Indonesia in the last few years, according to a2017 reportfrom the Institute of Policy Analysis and Conflict (IPAC).
“We’ve been seeing some evidence of the transition from Salafism to extremism among female extremists of the ISIS generation,” said Nava Nuraniyah, an IPAC researcher. “On the other hand, though, Salafi ulama [scholars] in Indonesia are among the most vocal opponents of extremism,” she said, suggesting that Salafism acts as a bridge to extremism for some even as it acts as a deterrent for others.
Saudi Arabia has long pushed the notion that its rigorous, state-sanctioned version of Islam is actually a bulwark against violent extremism, and has partnered with countries like the United States to fight terrorist groups from al-Qaeda to ISIS. But as Indonesia’s recent history shows, the distinction between Salafism and jihadism is not clear-cut.
“We need King Salman to make a clear and bold statement denouncing radicalism,” said Yahya Cholil Staquf of the moderate Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama. Otherwise, he said, “His visit will be easily perceived as more support to radical Islamic movements in Indonesia, as it is already a common public understanding that those radical movements take theological reference from Saudi Wahhabism and have been enjoying various kinds of support from Saudi Arabia.”
The Saudi ambassador, for his part, thinks such fears about the ideological impact of Saudi investment are off-base. “Wahhabi, Wahhabi, Wahhabi… people love to throw around this term without knowing what it means!” Alshuaibi told me. “They make baseless accusations. It is crazy!”
And some Indonesian leaders remain cautiously optimistic about closer ties with Saudi Arabia. “The two countries face the same challenge of rising radicalism and intolerance, so cooperation in those areas will be beneficial,” Yenny Wahid, a moderate Muslim activist, toldReuters.
Indonesia may be the largest stage for Saudi Arabia’s cultural diplomacy, but it’s hardly the only one. Saudi Arabia builtsatellite campusesfor Egypt’s Al-Azhar university in the 1980s, funded Bosnianrebelsand later built themschools in the 1990s, bankrollednumerous madrassasin pre-Taliban Pakistan and Afghanistan, and sent 25,000 clerics to India between2011 and 2013. Al-Hattem, of LIPIA Jakarta, was previously stationed at Saudi outfits in Bosnia and Djibouti.
Observers have commented that the scales of power seem to be shifting in the Indonesia-Saudi relationship so that the former is now theoretically in a better position to resist unwanted expansion than it was in the early years of its republic.
“Our economic condition now is very different, almost reversed, since the last Saudi visit,” said Luthfi Assyanukie, a liberal Muslim academic. “I think we can utilize that to prudently regulate Saudi investments.” Sila, from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, said, “I think the Saudi government needs Indonesia more now than vice versa, not least in terms of the revenue from hajj pilgrims.”
As Saudi Arabia’s economy fluctuates and it enforcesausterity measuresat home, will it ramp up its global efforts or scale them back? It may not matter.
“Salafi pesantren, and Saudi-inspired religious education in general, no longer necessarily rely on Saudi donations, as followers have become incredibly adept at raising money locally,” Chaplin said.
As the rise of hardliners, the Arabic language, and Salafi jihadist cells in Indonesia show, Salafism has some undeniable, durable appeal here. In Indonesia, at least, Saudi Arabia is already seeing the fruits of its labor. This new religious ecosystem may be self-sustaining.
Reporting for this piece was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting

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Allah(swt) Bestows Highest Honour to Indian actress Monika a.k.a. Rekha Maruthiraj:The Newest Daughter of Islam

The Greatest Honour For a Human:

When Allah (swt) Chooses them to follow Islam

Her conversion brought out the worst in Hindus

Whose Obsession with Sexism Denigrated Her Femininity As Sex Object 




She converts to Islam and quits films










Monica converts to Islam and quits films

Indian actress Monika a.k.a. Rekha Maruthiraj has converted to Islam. Previously musicians A.R.Rehman and Yuvan Shankar Raja had also converted to Islam. Monika is a South Indian south actress who has acted in more than 70 films of different Indian languages like Hindi, Malyalam, Telugu and Kannada.

The actress while talking to the media revealed that her name was MG Rahima. She also told the media that she started to follow the teachings of Islam back in the year 2010. However, she decided to announce it now to avoid getting film role offers and to remove doubts in the minds of many people, she said in a press meeting.

Monika also said, “My parents Maruti Raj and Gracy support my decision. My decision to follow Islam is not based on monetary concerns. The sole reason of my decision is that I was inspired towards its teachings. Islam has given peace and solace to my life.”

She also informed the media that this would be the end of her acting career. “I didn’t convert for the reason of love or money, I am not such a person. I like Islamic principles so I converted to Islam. I will intimate about my marriage to media once arranged by my parents and I really thank my dad for his full support. Hereafter, I won’t work in films”.

“Like many others, I was also thinking that Islam is an extremist religion. But now I found peace in Islam.” said Monika, who was wearing a burka

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Fallout from Donald Trump’s Anti-Muslim Campaign & Rants in the US?





Hate Monger Trump








Fallout from Donald Trump’s Anti-Muslim Campaign in the US?


p style=”text-align: center;”>Donald Trump anti-Muslim rhetoric & Anti-Islam Rants
Published in Daily Pakistan (Pakistan) on 6 January 2016 by Editorial [link to original]
Translated from Urdu by Fauzia Iqbal. Edited by Victoria Branca.
Posted on January 12, 2016.

Nearly 200 Muslim employees were removed from their jobs for offering Friday prayers in the American state of Colorado. According to U.S. media, the administration of a meat processing factory took this step upon learning that factory workers had gone to offer Friday prayers. The workers — from Somalia and other countries — who had gone to offer Friday prayers, were prevented from re-entering the factory. It appears that the hate-rousing campaign against Muslims launched by U.S. presidential candidate, Donald Trump, is starting to show its effects now.

Muslims residing in different places throughout the U.S. all offer Friday prayers and, in most places, are facilitated in this by the government and the police. So much so, that even double parking is allowed outside mosques at the time of Friday prayers — something that is generally never allowed. This suggests that the factory owner’s orders were given on account of some current provocation. It is possible that he is a supporter of Trump. Knowing it is unlikely that Trump will become president, he sought to punish Muslims for offering Friday prayers as a means of implementing Trump’s anti-Muslim views.

Praying at prescribed times is binding on Muslims and the blessed Friday prayers have to be offered in a mosque. These Muslims sacrificed their jobs for the sake of their religious duties. Now Muslims must unite to prepare some framework for dealing with the situation.



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‘Islamic’ Military Coalition – Really?

 “Verily, God does not change men’s condition unless they change their inner selves.” Quran 13:11

‘Islamic’ Military Coalition – Really?



 Syeda Qudsia Mashhadi







‘Islamic’ Military Coalition – Really?


 Syeda Qudsia Mashhadi









The recent announcement of an ‘Islamic’ Military Coalition by the Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia has raised some questions. The first thing that hits home is the fact that no Shia Muslim country is a part of this Islamic Coalition. I am all for a strong military coalition that has representation from all Muslim countries. This coalition on the other hand, does not include ‘all’; on the contrary, it sidelines some countries on the basis of sectarian differences. One wonders why the Ummah keeps on playing in the hands of Zionists and dividing itself on the basis of sects. Why this ‘Islamic’ military coalition comprises of only Sunni Muslim countries? Are we so blind that we cannot see that this military coalition of ‘Islamic’ states will further the divide between Sunnis and Shias?

Sputnik International also reported on this sectarian selection of Muslim countries:

According to al-Gharaoui, a member of the Iraqi Parliament’s Security Committee, the new initiative may lead to a further division in the Muslim society and deepen the split between various courses of Islam. The coalition, which includes Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey, among other nations, was created “to counteract terrorism, which became a threat to the interests of the Islamic nation,” according to an official statement of Riyadh authorities.

According to the Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad bin Salman Al Saud, the coalition will fight not only against Daesh, but also against other terrorist groups. It is unclear what exactly he means by ‘other terrorist groups’. The Saudis did mention one militant group though: Hezbollah. This is alarming as Hezbollah has been fighting for Palestinians and offering resistance to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. They are not viewed as a ‘terrorist’ group like the Daesh, rather looked upon with respect amongst the oppressed Muslims. It would be better for Saudis to first ask Iraqi and Palestinian Muslims what they think about Hezbollah before labeling them as terrorists!

If this military coalition is expected to serve any purpose, it must include all Shia Muslim countries as well. The Muslim world is incomplete without Iran, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon. It is ironical that the countries most infested with ISIS/Daesh, like Iraq and Syria, are not included in this military coalition! Who is Saudi Arabia fooling?

As a Sunni Muslim, it is painful for me to see the way we were pushing Shia Muslims away from us. They are our brothers and we should bridge the gaps instead of highlighting the minor differences we have them. Have we forgotten the lesson of peace and unity that our Prophet PBUH preached all his life?

I don’t have any hope of any intelligent or reasonable response from Pakistan’s political leadership; the ones who are incapable of handling their own country properly cannot be expected to lead the whole Ummah at times of crises. I do, however, expect Pakistan’s military leadership to be watchful while being part of any coalition that aims to target other Muslim countries or sects. These are truly the most testing times for the Ummah and we see the situation worsening gradually. The only hope of salvation is by returning to our Deen and the message of Quran, but we deliberately choose to ignore it.

What to say about other Muslim countries when the so-called ‘custodian’ of ‘Harmain Shareefain is the biggest supporter and abettor of terrorism in the world! It is sickening and revolting to see that they would rather support the Zionist and Apartheid state of Israel than the Muslim Shia Iran! They would rather support the cut-throats of Daesh Khawarij then support the Shia Muslim, Bashar al Assad, who is still, by the way, the legitimate ruler of Syria, however despotic or dictatorial he may be, is a separate debate altogether.

No country has the right to interfere in the internal matters of any other sovereign state. Whether it is the USA, the so-called super power of the world or KSA, the so-called leader of Ummah, none of them has the right to run every country the way they want! They do not have the right to bring a regime of their choice in other countries. Period. If we have any sense of dignity and integrity as human beings, we, the countries silently watching, should call their bluff.

Time of empty rhetoric is long gone. We do not need another ‘Organization of Islamic Cooperation’ which failed miserably to do what was expected of it. Those countries, who have been openly giving aid to terrorists just so they could topple the leadership of the rival countries, have not done any service to Islam or the world. Such countries need to show with their actions that they will no longer support terrorists but rather support those neighbouring Muslim countries that they have been bombing!

Are we as human beings content to see new videos of gruesome executions released repeatedly by the monsters of ISIS? Are we content to see daily the children in schools and hospitals being bombed in Syria, Yemen and Palestine? Because if all of this is acceptable to us, then we do not have the right to inhabit this planet anymore, and it’s only poetic justice that we all kill ourselves in senseless wars over pointless issues.


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Why stop at Isis when we could bomb the whole Muslim world? ​by George Monbiot





Why stop at Isis when we could bomb the whole Muslim world?









Humanitarian arguments, if consistently applied, could be used to flatten the entire Middle East


George Monbiot

The Guardian,

30 September 2014


​’Now we have a new target, and a new reason to dispense mercy from the sky, with similar prospects of success.’ Photograph: ASAP/ECPAD/Corbis


Let’s bomb the Muslim world – all of it – to save the lives of its people. Surely this is the only consistent moral course? Why stop at Islamic State (ISIS), when the Syrian government has murdered and tortured so many? This, after all, was last year’s moral imperative. What’s changed?


How about blasting the Shia militias in Iraq? One of them selected 40 people from the streets of Baghdad in June and murdered them for being Sunnis. Another massacred 68 people at a mosque in August. They now talk openly of “cleansing” and “erasure” once Isis has been defeated. As a senior Shia politician warns, “we are in the process of creating Shia al-Qaida radical groups equal in their radicalisation to the Sunni Qaida”.


What humanitarian principle instructs you to stop there? In Gaza this year, 2,100 Palestinians were massacred: including people taking shelter in schools and hospitals. Surely these atrocities demand an air war against Israel? And what’s the moral basis for refusing to liquidate Iran? Mohsen Amir-Aslani was hanged there last week for making “innovations in the religion” (suggesting that the story of Jonah in the Qur’an was symbolic rather than literal). Surely that should inspire humanitarian action from above? Pakistan is crying out for friendly bombs: an elderly British man, Mohammed Asghar, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, is, like other blasphemers, awaiting execution there after claiming to be a holy prophet. One of his prison guards has already shot him in the back.


Is there not an urgent duty to blow up Saudi Arabia? It has beheaded 59 people so far this year, for offences that include adultery, sorcery and witchcraft. It has long presented a far greater threat to the west than ISIS now poses. In 2009 Hillary Clinton warned in a secret memo that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the Taliban … and other terrorist groups”. In July, the former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, revealed that Prince Bandar bin Sultan, until recently the head of Saudi intelligence, told him: “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia’. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.” Saudi support for extreme Sunni militias in Syria during Bandar’s tenure is widely blamed for the rapid rise of ISIS. Why take out the subsidiary and spare the headquarters?


The humanitarian arguments aired in parliament last week, if consistently applied, could be used to flatten the entire Middle East and west Asia. By this means you could end all human suffering, liberating the people of these regions from the vale of tears in which they live. Perhaps this is the plan: Barack Obama has now bombed seven largely Muslim countries, in each case citing a moral imperative. The result, as you can see in Libya, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan,Yemen, Somalia and Syria, has been the eradication of jihadi groups, of conflict, chaos, murder, oppression and torture. Evil has been driven from the face of the Earth by the destroying angels of the west.


Now we have a new target, and a new reason to dispense mercy from the sky, with similar prospects of success. Yes, the agenda and practices of ISIS are disgusting. It murders and tortures, terrorises and threatens. As Obama says, it is a “network of death”. But it’s one of many networks of death. Worse still, a western crusade appears to be exactly what ISIS wants. Already Obama’s bombings have brought ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, a rival militia affiliated to al-Qaida, together. More than 6,000 fighters have joined Isis since the bombardment began. They dangled the heads of their victims in front of the cameras as bait for war planes. And our governments were stupid enough to take it.


And if the bombing succeeds? If – and it’s a big if – it manages to tilt the balance against Isis, what then? Then we’ll start hearing once more about Shia death squads and the moral imperative to destroy them too – and any civilians who happen to get in the way. The targets change; the policy doesn’t. Never mind the question, the answer is bombs. In the name of peace and the preservation of life, our governments wage perpetual war.


While the bombs fall, our (Western) states befriend and defend other networks of death. The US government still refuses – despite Obama’s promise – to release the 28 redacted pages from the joint congressional inquiry into 9/11which document Saudi Arabian complicity in the US attack. In the UK, in 2004 the Serious Fraud Office began investigating allegations of massive bribes paid by the British weapons company BAE to Saudi ministers and middlemen. Just as crucial evidence was about to be released, Tony Blair intervened to stop the investigation. The biggest alleged beneficiary was Prince Bandar. The SFO was investigating a claim that, with the approval of the British government, he received £1bn in secret payments from BAE.


And still it is said to go on. Last week’s Private Eye, drawing on a dossier of recordings and emails, alleges that a British company has paid £300m in bribes to facilitate weapons sales to the Saudi national guard. When a whistleblower in the company reported these payments to the British Ministry of Defence, instead of taking action it alerted his bosses. He had to flee the country to avoid being thrown into a Saudi jail.


There are no good solutions that military intervention by the UK or the US can engineer. There are political solutions in which our governments could play a minor role: supporting the development of effective states that don’t rely on murder and militias, building civic institutions that don’t depend on terror, helping to create safe passage and aid for people at risk. Oh, and ceasing to protect, sponsor and arm selected networks of death. Whenever our armed forces have bombed or invaded Muslim nations, they have made life worse for those who live there. The regions in which our governments have intervened most are those that suffer most from terrorism and war. That is neither coincidental nor surprising.


Yet our (Western) politicians affect to learn nothing. Insisting that more killing will magically resolve deep-rooted conflicts, they scatter bombs like fairy dust.


A fully referenced version of this article can be found at monbiot.com


George Monbiot is the author of the bestselling books The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order and Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain, as well as the investigative travel books Poisoned Arrows, Amazon Watershed and No Man’s Land. His latest book is Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the ­Frontiers of Rewilding
Reference George Monbiot

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