Category Archives: Islam and Christianity

Making Sense (Part 2 of 2)

Islam is implemented according to what percentage of the population is Muslim. Hence in a country like Australia where the number of Muslims is comparatively small but increasing, Muslims will often say their responsibility is to obey the laws of the country in which they live, rather than adopt agreed common practices of Sharia Law, some of which would be contrary to a secular state’s laws.  

This does not totally prevent Muslims participating unofficially in polygamy, the practice of underage marriage or female genital mutilation. There are numerous instances of secular states implementing their laws against such practices. But some analyses show that as the number of practicing Muslims within non-Muslim states gradually increases, Muslim behavior changes to be less accepting of the hitherto majority non-Muslim opinion.

This follows the example of Prophet Mohammad. When he was in an exposed tenuous position in Mecca trying to gain acceptance for his new religion, the revelations from Allah were often persuasively inclusive and inviting. After he fled to Medina, gained acceptance, social and military might and a position of power, Allah’s revelations became harsher. Later uncompromising Muslim scholars developed a theory of Abrogation in which earlier utterances were abrogated by later ones. Thus one needs to know, when a Muslim spokesperson is quoting the Quran, is he quoting an early saying to gain acceptance or is it a later final position.

In the case of the recent defeat of the Christian governor of Jakarta and the charge
against him of alleged blasphemy, Muslim imams and political activists realized that because the Jakartan population was majority Muslim they could invoke a long standing rule of the Islamic sharia that no non-Muslim can have leadership over Muslims. This is in spite of the fact that such discrimination is against the Indonesian constitution.

The charge of blasphemy and the threat of denial of religious burial rites merely ensured that all who were Muslim would conform to the wishes of the Muslim religious leaders. In Islam it is more important to belong then to believe. It is not an individualized faith like contemporary Christianity. It is communal and one must conform to whatever a leader dictates.

A further reason for apparent contradictions is that what is said is dependent on timing and context. If a Muslim considers his life or his religion is under threat, according to the precedent of the Prophet and the doctrine of Taqiyya, a Muslim is permitted to engage in deception or lying (Q.16:106). In countries where Muslims are still relatively few the statements made in public do not always align with beliefs held in private.

One national Muslim leader in Australia who approved the Quranic teaching and the Prophet’s example of wife beating had to retract his statement because of public hostility and secular political pressure. He learned his lesson. Shortly afterwards, when speaking on a contentious issue he began by saying, “What I say to the public….” Quite so!

Another common form of deception is the claim that Islam is “a religion of peace”. It is literally a religion of surrender. Islam means submission. Allah is the all-supreme master and his followers assume the status of slaves. By “peace” non-Muslim hearers are led to believe that what is on offer is an absence of conflict or war. But the Muslim understanding is that “peace” is only achieved when Islam totally dominates the world and its adherents have “succeeded” and rule over all. Along the road to that objective, the means employed are always justified by the end in view.

The words which Muslim and non-Muslim use may be the same, but the meanings differ according to one’s religious background and the values formed from that. For Christians truth is absolute, unchangeable and non-negotiable. In a Muslim society meaning may very according to context. It is therefore common practice in a Muslim society not to trust anyone until they have proved trustworthy. In a Christian society everyone is trusted till they prove untrustworthy.

That which seems irreconcilable and non-sensible becomes sensible according to worldviews constructed from religious fundamentals.

For a more in depth discussion of issues relating to Islam and Woman feel free to purchase a copy of my recently released book The Hidden Half  You can do so in the Books section of this website or by clicking the link The Hidden Half .

Stuart

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REAL PROTEST – Why are the liberation feminists so quiet?

Last November when on election night Donald Trump won the vote to become the President elect of the USA, Hawaiian grandmother Teresa Shook issued an online call for women to protest in Washington DC on inauguration weekend in 2017. Within 12 hours thousands of people had signed up. Reportedly 600 marches were planned to happen around the world “to protect the rights of women…who feel they would be made vulnerable by the policies and politics of a Trump presidency. January 21 became the big day for the Women’s March on Washington.

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One of the lead organisers in America of the Women’s March was Linda Sarsour, a “pro-Palestinian” activist who reportedly supports Shariah Law. “Shariah law is reasonable and once you read into the details it makes a lot of sense.” Really?

The Palestinian Authority adopted the Jordanian 1960 “rape marriage” law that states that a rapist will not be prosecuted if he marries his victim.

Shariah Law is based upon Islam’s sacred texts, especially that which is mandated by the Quran. From this source we learn that:

  • Men are superior to women. (Q.2:228)
  • A woman’s testimony is worth only half that of a man in legal matters. (Q.2:282)
  • Men are the guardians of women who are to be obedient to them and within marriage a husband is granted the right to “beat” or “scourge” his wife should she not conform to his wishes. (Q.4:34)
  • Women are regarded as “tillage”. (Q.2:223)
  • In inheritance matters women are granted only half that of men. (Q.4:11-12)

There is much more. And Feminist Sarsour finds this reasonable?

In India Shayara Banu and several other women filed a petition to the Supreme Court asking for the court to quash the practice of “triple talaq”. This is where a Muslim husband thrice repeats a simple verbal formula that results in a wife being automatically divorced. She has no right of appeal and must accept her husband’s decision.

Shayara is also challenging the concept of “nikah-halal” under which a woman must first consummate another “marriage” should she agree with her husband’s wish to resume their original marriage. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board has reportedly defended Islamic divorce practice by reportedly saying “…it is better to divorce a woman than to kill her. The rights bestowed by religion can’t be questioned in a court of law.”

In Iran in January a female body builder was arrested and jailed for publishing photos of herself in her work-out clothes. The charge was she had violated Iran’s laws defining nudity. In Iran “nudity” is allowing any part of a woman’s body—arms, legs or hair, not to be completely covered by mandatory clothing. In the Gaza Strip, Armina Suliman went for a bike ride very early in the morning in the Jabalia refugee camp. She loved the feeling of “liberation”. But it came with condemnation for shameful behavior.

In Afghanistan’s Jawzjan province, women are begging for arms to protect themselves from the depredations of the Taliban. In Syria 400 Yazidi women, having been forced into sex slavery by ISIS operatives have joined the Kurdish Pershmerga to fight back.

Last month it was reported that Dorsa Derakhshani, an 18 year old Iranian chess master who chose not to wear the hijab head covering during a competition in Gibraltar, was banned from the national team. But when women ministers of the self-declared  “feminist government” of Sweden who had committed to prioritise gender equality in all policies national and international, went to visit Iranian President Hassan Rouhani they dressed in hijabs, pants and long coats. Signing trade deals would seem to be a higher priority.

Hundreds of millions of women around the world live with daily serious oppressions and comparative non-existent liberty. But Western Women’s Liberation Feminists seem spectacularly silent about these grievances. Their priority was to organize protests around the world against President Trump before, as President, he had done anything or completed one day in office.

In Berlin at the anti-Trump protest, non-Muslim feminists were filmed chanting “Allah Akbar”. If you want to understand realities for women behind that chant get a copy of ‘The Hidden Half” Women and Islam”. Click the link or go to the books tab on this website. There you might find a real cause for protest.

If you believe this is a subject worth talking about I would love to hear your thoughts, subscribe to my blog, add a comment. If you think this is a subject other people should also be talking about please send them the link to my blog. http://drstuartrobinson.com Through increased, informed dialogue all the facts can be laid on the table.

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March 21, 2017 · 7:29 am

FIVE MINUTES OF FAME

The Federal Government funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) runs a programme called Q & A (Questions and Answers). Each week a panel of people from different backgrounds are assembled and questioned by members of a selected audience. No subject is too controversial for discussion. The platform panel usually consists of members who hold opposing views on whatever are the main subjects for discussion. A host guides the questions and answers probably to ensure hot button issues are provocatively addressed. A bear pit of unleashed emotion always attracts a larger viewing audience than that of controlled logical analysis.

On Monday night 13 February 2017 one of the panel members on Q & A was a 25-year-old lady who presented herself as an Islamic “activist”. Many viewers had probably never heard of Ms Yasmin Abdel-Magied.

The Australian Government had obviously heard of her. Last November they sent the Australian Sudanese Egyptian Muslim “activist” on a taxpayer-funded tour to promote her book in several of the most restrictive countries of the Middle East. The ABC knows her very well. They list her as making regular appearances on their programmes, Q&A, The Drum, The Project, Radio Triple J, Radio National and ABC local radio. She would seem to be a rising media star.

One suspects that the title “activist” was that which qualified the young lady. It held out the promise of more heat than light especially when Australian Senator Jacqui Lambie was also on the panel. She is well known for advocating against some common Islamic practices especially its requirements for women to “cover up” and for its treatment of women in general.

As Senator Lambie and Ms Abdel-Magied tried to out shout each other content was sacrificed to volume. Senator Lambie lacked the detailed knowledge to counter the arguments advanced by her opponent. Ms Abdel-Magied’s outbursts, obviously appreciated by the clapping crowd who cheered her on, lacked little relationship to reality. Even Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamic group banned in some countries because of its hard line applications of Islamic teaching whose advice Ms Abdel-Magied subsequently sought, conceded that she did not have “the required deep knowledge of Islam to prosecute her case.”

So where was the much applauded “activist” deficient with regards to her explanations of Islam?screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-6-16-20-pmIn defence of Shariah Law she claimed that Muslims are obliged to follow the law of the land in which they reside. That is true but only up to where local law may be in contravention of any principles of Shariah in which case the latter prevails.

She claimed that:

  1. Islam is “the most feminist religion”
  2. Muslim women “got equal rights well before the Europeans”
  3. “Anti women issues” in some Muslim states are because of “political and cultural reasons” not because such practices are mandated within Islam’s sacred texts—Quran, Traditions, Biographies of the Prophet Muhammad.

But a cursory glance at those texts reveals:

  1. Men are superior to women (Q 2:228)
  2. Men are in charge of women (Q 4:34)
  3. Women by nature or temperament are inclined toward guile or maliciousness (Q 12:28, 33, 34, 50)
  4. Women are the most harmful trial and affliction for men (Al-Bukhari No. 5096)
  5. Women are deficient in matters of intelligence and religion (AL-Bukhari 304)
  6. At law a woman’s testimony is worth only half that of a man (Q 2:282)
  7. A wife needs her husband’s permission to fast (Al-Bukhari 5192)
  8. A wife needs her husband’s permission to attend a meeting at a mosque (Al-Bukhari 873)
  9. In the marriage relationship, a wife is described as “tilth” implying the husband has total rights over his wife’s body (Q 2:223)
  10. If a wife disobeys her husband angels will curse her (Al-Bukhari 5193, 5194)
  11. A wife should not allow anyone to enter the home without her husband’s consent (Al-Bukhari 5098)
  12. Should a wife disobey her husband a series of punishments of increasing severity up to “scourging” is permitted but a husband “should not flog his wife as he flogs a slave and then have sexual intercourse with her in the last part of the day” (Q 4:34; Al-Bukhari 5204)
  13. In matters of estate inheritance the share of a son is to be twice that of a daughter and for a wife one eighth or one fourth and for a husband one half or one fourth (Q 4:2; Al-Bukhari 4578)
  14. A woman should never be in leadership because “people ruled by a lady will never be successful” (Al-Bukhari 4425)
  15. When a man is praying should a dog, a donkey or a woman pass in front of him his prayer is annulled. (Al-Bukhari 504, 508, 511, 519)
  16. The majority of those trapped in the fires of hell are women (Al-Bukhari 304 5096)
  17. One of the reasons for such punishment was women’s ungratefulness toward their husbands. (Al-Bukhari 304, 5197-5198)

One would need several alphabets to list all the restrictions placed upon women. Seeking to divert focusing on Islam’s authoritative texts as the source of such provisions, Australian Muslim Women’s Human Rights Centre chairwoman, Tasmeen Chopra agreed with Ms Abdel-Magied, reportedly saying that anti-women issues in relation to Islam were not text based.

Since the programme aired reportedly 49 Muslim scholars have demanded “an apology from the ABC for not silencing Senator Lambie saying that the programme host failed to provide a ‘safe environment’ for Ms Abdel-Magied to speak”. (Caroline Overinton, The Australian, p 16, February 16, 2017). Hopefully, Ms Abdel-Magied enjoyed her brief flirtation with fame.

In 2001 Zachariah Matthews, after studying the life of Prophet Mohammad, reportedly concluded that “deception is necessary”. If that is so then Abdel-Magied and Chopra may just have been implementing a well-established strategy.

If you want to get a fuller more accurate picture of Islam’s attitudes towards and practices relating to women go to drstuartrobinson.com/Books and get a copy of “The Hidden Half—Women and Islam”.

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From Confusion to Clarity

By early 1981 American embassy hostages held in Tehran were back home. A discreet reception was held for some of them in a suburban home in Northern Virginia, USA. One former hostage, Malcolm Kalp, was reported to have said at that meeting,

“We still think the Soviet Union is our enemy, that worldwide communism is still the principal threat to our way of life. But the real challenge isn’t the Soviet Union – it’s militant Islam. We have no idea what we are up against”.Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 12.02.32 pm

Three and a half decades later his observation remains accurate on all counts. Mostly only those who have lived within Islamic societies and have studied their sacred texts (Qur’an, Hadith and Sira) can understand what is happening and give some explanation of likely outcomes should the message of revivalist Islam continue to spread unchecked around the world. And spreading it surely is.

Like rogue organisms from some cancerous tumour, cells of fundamentalist Islam multiply and metastasise faster than intelligence agencies can track them. United Nations Secretary, General Ban Ki- Moon said on February 5, 2016 that by the previous December 34 organisations had sworn allegiance to the Caliphate of the Islamic State. But only days after that announcement, on February 7, 2016, private counter-terrorism organisation IntelCentre claimed that the number of affiliates and supporting organisations had already risen to 43. From the Philippines in the East (Abu Sayaf and Ansar al Khilifah) to Nigeria in the West (Boko Haram), from Indonesia in the South (Jemaah Anshorut Tawhid) to Russia in the North (Caucasus Emirate) and in many countries in between, Islamist organisations are armed and ready. They are intolerant of anything that is at variance from their own claims, interpretations and demands. This expansion “demonstrates the speed and scale at which the gravity of the threat has evolved in just 18 months,” said Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

In December 2014, General Michael K. Nugata, Special Operations commander for the United States military in the Middle East, commenting on the rapid rise of Islamic State reportedly said, “We have not defeated the idea. We do not even understand the idea.” At least he was honest in expressing his and others’ ignorance and their inability to comprehend what is happening. To begin to articulate a coherent response remains a step too far.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 12.02.23 pm

 

A similar posture is evidenced but not admitted by most Western political leaders. It is a commonly heard response from bellwether politicians that even after the most atrocious Islamic terrorist attacks which killed many of their own citizens whom they are ostensibly elected to protect, they continue to claim that such activities have nothing to do with Islam. This conveniently overlooks the glaring fact that the only element common to all such attacks is that the perpetrators are committed to the fundamental tenets of Islam.

The primary reason for this current politically correct response is that in any democracy, elected representatives are dependent on votes from their constituents to retain personal privilege and power at their next election. In a country such as France where the number of Muslims is thought to be approximately 10% of the population, those votes are critical. After one of the recent attacks in France, one of the highest ranking politicians reportedly ventured to express the view that the problems they experience with some of their Muslim constituency could be overcome by building more mosques! At least that might have temporarily secured a few Muslim votes. Presumably to maintain favour with some voters and to secure personal power, France’s politicians through various statements and policies, maintain a high level of antipathy toward Israel while favouring HAMAS and the PLO whose repeatedly avowed aims include the destruction of Israel. Israel is the only state in the cauldron of Middle East furies that has maintained a record of democracy and peaceful transitions of political power for almost seven decades. No state is without fault, but surely such bias favouring one state whose avowed aim is the destruction of another, ought to be seriously challenged.

In the West, only worship at the altar of secular humanism is permitted within State discourse. Traditional religion, especially Christianity, has been marginalised, discounted and almost banned from consideration in the contest of ideas. Bereft of the moral underpinnings and Judaeo-Christian values upon which Western democracies were established, they are now almost defenseless and endangered as they are increasingly penetrated by alien philosophies and theologies. Unfettered from predictable behaviours and practices by their own set of values, Islamist invaders are intent on their goal of world domination. For those who disagree with them, the message is– surrender or die. No prisoners will be taken unless individuals are temporarily valuable as pawns in a deadly game of ransom.

Having rejected their own religious history and traditions, most Western leaders are unable to comprehend the power of religious conviction that drives emerging contemporary Islamic movements. At best all these elites seem capable of doing is to call for reform within Islam. In this they are at least partially right. They infer distinction between people, i.e. Muslims and the theological doctrines that compulsorily drive them.

The vast majority of Muslims want peace and prosperity like most non-Muslims. However the ideology of Islam as contained in its sacred texts and developed into Sharia Law is the locus of real challenge. As Muslims know, this is not open to change. The emerging movements already claim to represent reform, back to basics as was practised in the days of the Prophet in seventh century Arabia. In the meantime, to lessen our anxieties we grant equivalence to Islam. We unthinkingly accept the Muslim claim that the three major world religions worship the same God, are of Abrahamic origin and honour the same “Prophets”. But a careful analysis and comparison between the entities as described in each religion’s texts reveal they are so different as to be incomparable.

“Equivalence fosters ambiguity; ambiguity gives birth to confusion; and confusion breeds disaster, as the early 21st-century has already shown.” (Sandys and Hendey, God and Churchill, London, S P CK, 2015). To shed some light into the darkness, to discover a little clarity in the midst of confusion and to consider a modest yet powerful response get a copy of Islam Rising – the Middle East and Us by Stuart Robinson.

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Mosques Unlimited

Some countries I have been in during the last several months are so incomparable they could be on different planets. One is Iceland. The other is Togo.

IcelandIceland in the Atlantic Ocean close to the Arctic Circle with an area of 123,000 sq.kms, is home to 332,000 people. Two thirds of these live in the capital city Reykjavik. Its major industries are fishing and sheep farming. There are 1,100,000 of the latter. This provides a per capita GDP of $43,600.

Only 1% of Iceland is cultivated. The remainder is a moonscape of black lava, snow covered mountains and ice constantly reshaped by continuous volcanic activity. The island sits on the fault line between the tectonic plates of Europe and North America. The good thing about this is that geothermal energy provides all household heating and 15% of the electricity supply. Water is so pure and plentiful that none of the bottled variety is sold. Puffins and minke whales are also in plentiful supply and supplement a healthy diet.

Togo is quite different.

Situated on the West Africa coast just above the equator, it is spliced in between Benin on the east and Ghana on the west. With an area of just 57,000 sq. kms its 6.7 million people constitute one of the smallest states in Africa. In this somewhat lush tropical climate its inhabitants exist on a per capita GDP of $1400.togo

Both countries have faced financial crises in recent years. Iceland’s banking system went into meltdown in the GFC of 2008-9. Today it is recovering.

Togo’s financial crisis occurred in 2005. The method of recovery has permanently changed the nation. When Togolese politics took a turn not approved by its French former colonial masters, Western aid was stopped. According to local reports the new President was forced to accept an offer of help from Saudi Arabia. Its aid came with conditions attached namely:

  • Representation in the advisory ranks of government
  • Muslim religious holidays to be granted public holiday status
  • Muslim schools to educate Muslim (and other) children
  • Mosques to be built where and whenever considered necessary.

The results are observably dramatic.

In 1981 the number of Muslims in Togo was estimated to be 12.2% of the population. By 2010 it had risen to 20%. Some Islamic websites claim that in 2015 it is 50%. In the same period of 1981-2010 Christianity’s increase was from 28.3% to 29% while animism declined from 58.8% to 51%. Islam’s normal growth strategy is through:

  • Dawa—calling all back to the true path as preached by Islam
  • Jihad—struggling for personal holiness and through military and other conquest where appropriate
  • Demographics—higher birth rates of Muslim mothers and transmigration
  • Mosques—each represents a new centre from which to claim and capture new territory.

The last item is obvious in Togo. Local reports suggest that in the capital city of Lome alone in the last decade the number of mosques has risen from 4 to 400. In the small northern area of Notse a plan was announced to build 100 new mosques within 12 months.

Mosques are frequently built near Christian churches seemingly in an attempt to overwhelm them. When a piece of land came on the market next to a church, with the church struggling to raise funds to match the seller’s price, Muslims offered 10 times the selling price.

In the vicinity of the mosque there may be a well offering clean water saving poor people walking kilometres to obtain supplies. There may be a crushing mill offering to process grain. There may be photovoltaic cells offering electricity supply. All of these facilities are available for those who agree to attend the previously empty mosque services. Local non-Muslim traders complain that they are being displaced in the major shopping facilities by well-funded Muslims buying, renting or taking over shopping zones. It is claimed that critical infrastructure of transport is increasingly dominated by Muslims.

Scholarships are allegedly offered for youth to be educated abroad in Muslim countries. They leave as Christians or Animists and return as zealous Muslims. Reports indicate whole villages have converted to Islam on the basis of the promise of a free trip to Mecca.

Christian missionaries report that their visits to animist villages are frequently followed by Muslim representatives offering much more than whatever Christians may have offered. Christians had not offered any material inducements.

Not all money comes from the Middle East. In the town of Zooti a large tract of land has been fenced by a brick wall. The signboard on the wall says Zooti Global Islamic Educational Complex. It further indicates funding is being provided by the Global Islamic Mission of Australia.

 If one is able to recite loudly and confidently Islam’s prayer indicating conversion, the reward is allegedly approximately $200. If the same prayer is recited only softly it is said the reward is only $2. There seems to be no end to the usefulness of financial jihad to induce needy people into the folds of Islam. And when they join that throng, just as it is increasingly in Western cities, Muslims pray in the streets blocking public thoroughfares presumably as a mark of territorial assertiveness.

So what’s this got to do with Iceland?

In that distant frequently frozen land the first Muslims have ‘harmlessly’ arrived opening kabob shops and other outlets. Christianity has been in Iceland for over 1000 years. But locals report active participation in church life is down to 3%–not helped much by the nation’s leading Lutheran bishop, a lady who favours same sex relationships which hasn’t sat well with her more conservative constituency.

To compensate for this spiritual vacuum, one might expect the construction of the country’s first mosque in the nearer future.

To learn a little more about Islam, buy a copy of my latest publication Islam Rising from the Books section of my website at the special introductory price for September only.

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Revelations From History

For some months I have been reading Simon Sebag Montefiore’s book, Jerusalem The Biography. The cover says it’s “The number one bestseller.” Having nothing better to do in the very early hours of the morning as the bookshop was the only shop operating in Singapore airport, I bought my copy to pass the time while waiting Henry Kissinger (I didn’t know he was still alive) and Bill Clinton (I wonder how much he had to be paid for his 48 words) were among those who recommended the book. Its 720 pages are packed with historical data.

Photo by Stephen Coles

Photo by Stephen Coles

The Middle East is the birthplace of so much that has blessed and cursed the rest of the world. Jerusalem is the epicenter in which divine lightning seems to have repeatedly struck spontaneously birthing a new era of spirituality and claimed revelation. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all lay claim to Jerusalem’s real estate.

Muslims demand exclusive priority rights to the whole of Jerusalem and all the surrounding territory known as Israel. The foundational documents of HAMAS in Gaza and the PLO in the West Bank clearly state their claims and objective of expelling all Jews. To deviate from these claims in the slightest would cost the respective leaders their positions and power.

When Yassar Arafat was offered an exceedingly generous power and land sharing agreement by the Israelis some years ago, even though it contained most of what he had been negotiating about, he walked away. He had to. To have accepted would have cost him his position and probably his life. That was what President Sadat of Egypt paid for reaching an agreement with Israelis that saw them hand back all Egyptian territory they had captured in earlier wars.

In Jerusalem’s troubled history, from time to time depending on who held political control, Jews and Christians were expelled and excluded from its precincts. But as Montefiore’s research makes clear, it is a gross distortion of history to assume that after the Islamic invasion in the first half of the seventh century, all Jews suddenly disappeared. In fact the opposite is true.

Omar Amir al Mumin, Commander of the Believers, received the keys of Jerusalem from Patriarch Sophronius who declared the city would now undergo “the abomination of desolation”. Omar not only settled Muslim Arabs in the city he also welcomed more Jews to resettle within its precincts.

The cycle of struggle for recognition, possession and supremacy has been with us ever since. To understand a little more of the contemporary dimensions of this complex interplay get a copy of my latest publication, Islam Rising The Middle East and Us. It’s available at an introductory reduced price of only $5 plus postage till the end of September. Go to BOOKS and purchase it there.

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THE MIDDLE EAST AND US – PART 4 – RESPONSE

This is the fourth and final of a series of  posts entitled  THE MIDDLE EAST AND US.

Part 1 can be found at this link https://drstuartrobinson.com/2014/09/10/the-middle-and-us-part-1/

Part 2 can be found at https://drstuartrobinson.com/2014/09/16/the-middle-east-and-us-part-2-northern-syria-and-iraq/

Part 3 can be found at https://drstuartrobinson.com/2014/09/24/the-middle-east-and-us-part-3/

or by searching my home page.

The Middle East and Us – Part 4

As Christians swirling in the vortex of this super heated cauldron of confusion how do we respond?

Response

  1. Reject all personal violence, hatred and political triumphalism.

Six centuries before Mohammed, followers of Jesus attempted to make him king. He rejected their political invitation, journeyed from Galilee to Jerusalem and accepted crucifixion.[i] As Mohammed is the example of the perfect man for Muslims (Q.33:21;53;1-3), Jesus is the model for Christians. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)

  1. Refuse to fear. That is what Islamic terrorism tries to produce {Q6:80}. We live by faith not fear. Jesus said, “ I tell you my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more….Fear him who after killing the body, has power to throw you into hell.” (Luke 12:4-5)

God is still in control. If we have read the book, the Bible, we already know how all this will end. FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real.

  1. Develop friendships with Muslims. Don’t hate them to death. Love them to life. It’s not their fault that they have been somewhat coercively persuaded into believing a cosmic deception.
  1. Share generously with Christian agencies that are working in the current refugee crisis.
  1. Be ready to offer hospitality to any real refugees from this crisis. “Do not forget to entertain strangers..”(Hebrews 13:2)
  1. Persevere in persistent prayer.

“Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary they have divine power to demolish strongholds…. Take captive every thought to make it a obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

  1. Always commend Jesus in your words and deeds. If you do, amazing things may happen. You may discover what God is doing.

What God Is Doing

Undoubtedly he grieves to see what is happening. But he is not inactive.

In the troubled areas of Iraq and Syria today church planting has accelerated 5 to 10 times what it was previously.[ii] Muslims are tired of Muslims killing Muslims. They are looking for real peace, not the mirage of peace that apocalyptic Islam proclaims.

One former foot soldier recently put it like this:

“I have been a man of violence. I was a jihadist. But I observed that violence only begets violence. In my search for another way I met Jesus. He has transformed me. He is peace”.[iii]

In another area of Muslim domains, former violent jihadists have become the best Christian evangelists. Authorities are reluctant to send them to prison because that results in many other inmates becoming followers of Jesus.[iv]

“The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17)

Muslims consider themselves the slaves of Allah and the harsh Law formulated in the name of this unknowable spiritual entity. People tend to become like the God they worship.

Jesus Christ fulfilled the demands of the law and freed us for a relationship with a loving Heavenly Father. Our Muslim brothers and sisters are in need of that same deliverance more than ever. The process can quite startling.

A Muslim of Turkish Indian origin trained for 10 years in a Madrassa[v] i.e. an Arabic medium Quranic college. He wanted to become an Imam in a mosque. His preaching included the standard Muslim teaching that Jesus was not the Son of God. But that raised the question, who then is Jesus? Diligently he sifted through the 666 000 words in the 114 chapters in his Quran. He noted that the name Mohammed is mentioned 4 times but that of Jesus is mentioned 25 times.

Why would the Quran give more prominence to Jesus than Mohammed?

The Quran also mentions miracles that Jesus performed and that he brought dead people back to life. Furthermore the Quran affirms Jesus is still alive. Mohammed did none of these things and he is dead. He also concluded that the Quran identifies Jesus with the Word of God and the Spirit of God.

He went to a Muslim scholar with his difficult questions but the teacher grew annoyed and ordered him to leave.

Unable to think what to do next he prayed, “Allah, tell me what I should do”? His Quran fell open at chapter 10:94, which says: “If you are in doubt about as to what we have revealed…then ask those who have been reading the Book… ie the Bible.

So he studied the Bible intensely.

From John 1 he discovered that God created through his Word and that Word is Jesus. In John 1: 12 he read that those who receive Jesus become children of God and that a relationship is established whereby followers of Jesus are privileged to address God, the creator of the Universe, as Father! How extraordinary.

When his family learned of his decision, his father beat him into unconsciousness, stripped him of all clothing, bound him in chains, rubbed chili powder into all his wounds and body orifices and left him locked up without food and water for 20 days.

His father then returned with a large knife to finish him off. But to see if his son was still alive he proceeded to choke him. This caused the young man to gag. All he could do was to refuse to revert to Islam and to utter the name “Jesus”.

Immediately a brilliant light fell onto his forehead. Incredible energy surged through his body. His father fell back onto the floor and in so doing slashed his own chest and started to foam from the mouth. The family ran in, gathered up the father and rushed him to the hospital. In their haste they forgot to relock the door. The young man struggled to his feet, got dressed, ran outside and just happened to be picked up by a passing Christian taxi driver who looked after his needs.

His family later conducted a funeral service for their son, who in their eyes was now dead. They even prepared a tombstone with his name and the dates of his birth and “death”. They placed it in a local cemetery plot.

Thinking back to those events this man says, “On that day I really understood that Jesus is alive and he saved me. Before I was following Mohammed into an uncertain future. The penalty for our sin is death, permanent separation from God for eternity. But Jesus, who is coming back, has taken the punishment for my sin and given me life forever. All must die. It’s the only certainty we have. But I no longer fear death because of what the living Jesus has done for me and for all who believe in him.”

That’s his experience and estimate of Jesus. What is ours?

If you are interested in reading more about this subject my books including  Mosques and Miracles – Revealing Islam and God’s Grace are available for purchase at https://drstuartrobinson.com/books/

 

[i] Jonathan Borman, Confessing the Peace of Jesus in a Terroristic World. A Statement and Appeal by EMM Christian/Muslim Relations Team. n.d.

[ii] Source withheld.

[iii] Source withheld.

[iv] Source withheld.

[v] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjUXd4gW9mg

 

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The Middle East and Us – Part 3, Why Is This Happening?

This is the third of a series of four posts I will be doing entitled  THE MIDDLE EAST AND US. The following posts will be uploaded over the coming weeks.

Part 1 is found at this link https://drstuartrobinson.com/2014/09/10/the-middle-and-us-part-1/

and Part 2 can be found at https://drstuartrobinson.com/2014/09/16/the-middle-east-and-us-part-2-northern-syria-and-iraq/

or by searching my home page.

THE MIDDLE EAST AND US—PART 3

Why is this happening?

Firstly there is the teaching of Islam. Muslims are not our enemies. Like people anywhere they hold many different opinions. The real threat is Islam itself. It’s teaching is contained in:

The Quran, which is claimed to be direct revelation from Allah through its Prophet Muhammed

The Traditions (Hadith) of which there are many thousands. These tell us what Islam’s Prophet said and did.

The Life of Mohammed (Sirat Rasul Allah) by Ibn Ishaq written a century after Mohammed’s death (632CE).

Codified collections of material that constitute Sharia Law.

Whatever is found in these volumes validates or authenticates Muslim belief and practice. There seems to be nothing in the current revivalist upsurge of Islam around the world the example of which and the motivation for which are not first sourced in these books. Variant Interpretations of this body of literature sacred to Islam, were closed a millennium ago when Muslims turned away from the processes of philosophy and rational thought and took refuge in dogma. One of Islam’s greatest mediaeval scholars, al Ghazali, declared the gate of ijtihad was closed and “since then Sunni Islam has adopted the official position that no new interpretations of the law can be entertained”.[i] Therefore reform of Islam becomes mostly a Westernized vain hope.

So, it is taught that Muslims are the best people on earth, that they will rule the whole world, that they are winners and all others are losers (Q24:52;3:85;39:65) and that once Islam has conquered a country, it is theirs forever. When these aspirations are frustrated, reformers with revolutionary zeal arise and declare that Muslim people have become nominal and apostate. Allah’s will is thwarted. Regaining his blessing will only happen if all return to the basics, to resume jihad against the infidels and against Muslim rulers who have compromised the true Way, the Sunnah.

The siren call to reform Islam by returning to its earliest practices, becomes a compelling solution to the question that bedevils all Muslim societies, “How should we live?”

The former Kuwaiti minister of information, Saad bin Tafla al Ajami, sums up what is happening thus: “The truth that we cannot deny is: ISIS learned from our schools, prayed in our mosques, listened to our media and our religious platforms, read from our books and references, and followed fatwas (religious edicts) we produced”.[ii] Precisely so.

No Muslim wants to criticize another Muslim who longs to return to Islam as practiced and exemplified by Mohammed. This is so especially if they are in a minority in a non-Muslim country. Thus when the New York Towers were destroyed, there was muted reaction by Muslims in the West. But in many Muslim majority cities there was dancing in the streets.

The second major reason revivalist Islam is running rampant in the Middle East and increasingly behaving as it does in the West is Western Democracy.

Western Democracy

Nearly all politicians want to retain personal power more than anything else. In a democracy winning votes does this. Votes are won by giving people what they want.

In the case of Australia, reportedly after careful investigation, the Hawke government’s Department of Immigration issued a deportation order for anti-Semitic activities by Sheik Taj El Din Hamid Hilaly. But he lived in Lakemba, a suburb of Sydney, where there were lots of votes by Muslims. So the Hawke government overturned its own edict. Grand Mufti leader of Muslims in Australia, Imam Hilaly would later reportedly describe the New York atrocity as “God’s work against infidels”.

In the 20 Federal Parliamentary seats in western Sydney, all have significant Muslim populations. The Labor party holds 19 of these. When the former Foreign Minister Bob Carr reportedly spent an hour with Prime Minister Gillard emphasizing the electoral importance of the Muslim vote, the Gillard government dropped support for Israel in the United Nations.[iii]

The Abbot government in August 2014 under pressure from the Muslim community and others dropped its intention to change section 18(c) of the Federal Racial Discrimination Act. It was hoping that in so doing it would gain Muslim support for its proposal to enact tougher anti-terrorism laws. Muslims leaders approved the first action but opposed the second.

Democratically elected governments seldom do anything that may risk votes at the next election.

An election in the autonomous region of Catalonia in Spain is due in 2014. 465,000 Muslims live in that region. Their leaders report that the government, the Convergence and Union Party, has promised permission to build the third largest mosque in the world financed from Qatar if the Muslims vote for them. The mosque’s minaret is planned to tower 300 metres to overshadow symbolically the spires of the Sagardia Familia Roman Catholic cathedral by 130 metres. In one of the mosques in that region, Abdelwahab Houzi preached in support of the concept saying that it would represent a significant step in Muslims accumulating power with a view to implementing Sharia Law.[iv]

Secular politicians disallow theology in public debate. World-renowned secularist sociologist Peter Berger recently said, “Those who neglect religion in their analyses of contemporary affairs do so at great peril.”[v]

Part four of this series will be uploaded next week.

If you are interested in reading more my books on this subject and more are available for purchase at https://drstuartrobinson.com/books/

[i] Robert A. Reilly, The Closing of the Muslim Mind. ISI Books, Wilmington, Delaware, 2011, x-xi.

[ii] The Clarion Project (Radicalislam.org). Issue 128. August 21 2014 (viewed August 22 2014].

[iii] Andrew Bolt, We’re muzzled, but bigots rant. Herald Sun, August 17 2014, 13.

[iv] Soeren Kern, http://www.clarionproject.org/print/analysis/barcelona-mega-mosque-promised-separatists-votes (viewed August 17 2014).

[v] Bernard Lane, Academic looks for theoretical salvation. The Australian, August 27 2014, 28.

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The Middle East and Us: Part 2 – Northern Syria and Iraq

This is the second of a series of four posts I will be doing entitle  THE MIDDLE EAST AND US. The following two posts will be uploaded over the coming three weeks.

Part 1 is found at this link https://drstuartrobinson.com/2014/09/10/the-middle-and-us-part-1/

or by searching my home page.

THE MIDDLE EAST AND US—PART 2

The situation in Northern Syria and Iraq shares similarities with the Gaza Israel conflict.

Northern Syria and Iraq APG_syria_iraq_map_sk_140611_16x9_992

In northern Syria and Iraq there are at least 18 different jihadi groups who seemingly spend as much time fighting one another as they do fighting the Shi’ite surrogate regimes of Assad in Syria and until recently Malaki in Iraq. Unleashed from the restraints imposed by dictators in those and other Middle Eastern countries, they rampage across the land causing death and havoc wherever they go. They torture, rape, kill adult non-Sunni males, by beheading, crucifying and shooting. Reports say they rape and sell women, girls and boys into slavery while saving some to gratify their own sexual desires.

To those who object to what’s happening, prominent writer and cleric, Hussein bin Mahmoud is reported as saying that “…beheading is an effective way to terrorize the enemies of Islam. Under Islamic law, American journalist, James Foley was a Harbi, that is, a non-Muslim whose life was not protected by an agreement of protection. Islam allows and encourages such acts since it is a religion of war and fighting.”[i]

UK Muslim leader Anjem Choudary justified the beheading of American journalist, James Foley, by reportedly saying that beheading was permissible under Shariah (Islamic) law. “Muslims who abide by Shariah and follow the jurisprudence do not make a distinction between civilian and army. This fellow was not just a civilian of America. He was a journalist.”[ii]

Even to question from within the community, what is happening may be dangerous. HAMAS in Gaza, like the movements in northern Iraq and Syria, is also known for its practice of extrajudicial execution. Recently about 20 people were summarily executed and their bodies were dragged through the streets. Two of those executed were women. They had been asking questions about Palestinians who had been killed.[iii]

When it comes to people like Yazidis who are regarded as infidels and Shi’ites whom Sunnis consider to be apostate, they automatically qualify to be killed.

The Quran refers to Jews and Christians as “People of the Book”. They are at least first invited to become Muslims. If they refuse they may be exiled, taxed into impoverishment or killed.

Muslims whom the West would have regarded as moderates, who have lived in harmony next to their Christian neighbors for centuries in these countries, have reportedly suddenly turned on their Christian and other non-Muslim neighbors telling them to leave because these lands are exclusively Muslim countries.[iv] Assyrian Christians equate what is happening with the genocide of 100 years ago in which it is claimed that the Ottoman government was responsible for the deaths of 1.5 million Armenian and Christian groups, which included Assyrians and Greeks.[v]

It has been estimated that 1.2 million people have been forced to flee. As in previous invasions, churches are destroyed or turned into mosques. For the first time in 2000 years, Christianity has been obliterated from these lands.

But concerning these atrocities there are few processions in the streets of Western cities. When the movements like Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Shebaab in Kenya and Somalia, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt the governments of Sudan or Iran, carry out their atrocities, there is little overseas public response.

Mehmet Gormez, the head of Turkey’s religious affairs directorate, has claimed that around the world each day an average of 1000 Muslims are killed, of which almost 90% are killed by other Muslims. If his estimate is accurate, this means that every four days the number of Muslims killed by other Muslims is more than those who have died in the last 10 years of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.[vi] Yet the Muslim community remains muted and silent in Western countries. It’s only when Israel is involved that reaction is ramped up.

Archbishop Athanasius Toma Dewod of the Syrian Orthodox Church (UK) says, “They are killing our people in the name of Allah, telling people that anyone who kills a Christian will go straight to Paradise”.[vii]

If you are interested in reading more my books on this subject and more are available for purchase at https://drstuartrobinson.com/books/

[i]Jihadi Cleric Justifies IS Beheadings: Islam Is a Religion Of Beheading. MEMRI Special Despatch/5826/August 25 2014.

[ii] Ryan Mauro, www.clarionproject.org/print/analysis/uks-anjem-choudary-justifies-beheading-of-james-foley (viewed August 30 2014).

[iii] Khaled Abu Toameh, http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4646/hamas-war-crimes. August 25 2014.

[iv] MEMRI Daily, Special Dispatch No.5820, August 13 2014.

[v] Rachel Baxendale, Churches demand safe haven for Christians. The Australian, August 25 2014, 2.

[vi] Sam Westrop, http://www.clarionproject.org/print/analysis/uk-islamists-join-neo-nazis-marxists-anti-semitism (viewed August 28 2014).

[vii] Elizabeth Kendall, Religious Liberty Prayer Bulleting, 273. August 13 2014.

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The Middle East and Us – Part 1, Gaza and Israel

This is the first of four posts I will be doing entitle  THE MIDDLE EAST AND US. The following 3 posts will be uploaded over the coming three weeks.

THE MIDDLE EAST AND US—PART 1

On August 8, 2014, former head of the Australian Army Lieutenant General Peter Leahy reportedly said, “Australia is involved in the early stages of a war which is likely to last for the rest of the century.”

Michael Krause a retired Major General agreed. Aware of the army’s experience in Iraq and Afghanistan he said, “I have seen these people. I know how they think. I know how they fight. There is no compromise possible.”

The headline of The Australian newspaper the next day was, “We’ll fight Islam (for) 100 years.”[i] UK Prime Minister David Cameron reportedly made similar comments in the last week of August 2014. What is happening in the Middle East has global consequences.

When Western forces first entered Iraq and Afghanistan it was said at the time they will win some battles but will lose the war. In both those countries, no matter how our political leaders reframe the outcomes, it may now be said that the losers by most measures have been western nations. Little remains of their hoped for outcomes from their interventions costing trillions of dollars and thousands of lives.Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 1.09.02 pm

In Australia as in other Western countries, we are unable to plan beyond our election cycle of 3-4 years. Muslim leaders think in terms of centuries. Mohammed invited the Christian leaders of his time to submit to Islam. They declined. So Islamic forces determined to capture the Citadel of Christianity– Constantinople. Although their attacks were repeatedly repulsed, they finally succeeded after only 800 years.[ii]

Gaza and Israel

In the Middle East if a Jewish person is asked the basis of his claim to the land of Israel the reply may be, “We have been here for 3000 years.” To the same question persons today called Palestinians may reply, “We have been here for 6000 years.”

From the Biblical record we understand that God reserved for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants a sliver of land on the coast along the Eastern Mediterranean seaboard, which became known as Israel. The vast expanse of land to the east and south of Israel was reserved for the descendants of Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Hagar who was a servant of Abraham’s wife Sarah. (Genesis 12-27)

In 1003 BC King David was at last able to conquer Jerusalem. The area of the city at that that time was just 12 acres, or a little less than 5 ha. The rest of the Promised Land was conquered and possessed by King David except for the Philistine territory, which is today’s Gaza.

Half a millennium later, in 586 BC most of the people of what remained of Israel were deported as captives of war to the vicinity of today’s Baghdad. Towards the end of that 6th century BC the deportees were permitted to start to return to their homeland. The Temple in Jerusalem was rebuilt in 536-516 BC. Almost a further 70 years later, about 453 BC, Nehemiah arrived to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Arabs and other local tribal chiefs, who were on the scene by that time, resisted his work. They ridiculed, threatened, concocted false reports and sought to terrorize the returnees. Their activities are recorded in Nehemiah chapters 2, 4 and 6. What is happening today is not a new phenomenon. Jews remained in possession of their land till 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed the Jerusalem Temple and scattered the inhabitants.

Almost five and a half centuries later in 638 CE an Islamic Army captured Jerusalem for the first time. The city and its accompanying territory remained mostly under Muslim control thereafter. But the Jewish people did not vanish.

However by the late 1800s the brutality of the Muslim authorities was so severe that many Jews were forced to flee. Simultaneously the Muslim Ottoman government in Turkey began to repopulate the vacated land with Muslim refugees from other parts of their Empire in which there were disturbances.

In 1890 the Muslim population was only 432,000. By the time of Israel’s establishment by the UN in 1947, the Muslim population, through Turkish repatriation policy had almost tripled to 1,181,000.[iii]After 1918 with the defeat of the Turkish government in World War I the Jewish population started to return. Many of them were fleeing from European threats and conflagrations, especially the Holocaust of the 1940’s, which saw approx. 6 million Jews killed. Today the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael face off against one another.

Neither side in the current conflict is prepared to yield a centimeter of land. Article 7 in HAMAS’s charter based on Islamic texts specifically asserts they will destroy all Jews and Israel. Israel says, “If you attack we will retaliate.”

HAMAS spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri on August 17, 2014 on Al -Aqsa television declared, “Our true war is not aimed at opening border crossings. It is aimed at the liberation of Jerusalem. We refuse to accept the continued defiling of our land by the occupier. The army of Mohammed has begun its return.”[iv] HAMAS can never cannot accept the loss of territory once occupied by Muslim authorities. To them it remains a sacred trust, a Waqf, which must be regained.

The current off-again on-again war between Gaza and Israel has provided opportunity for mostly public pro-Palestinian reaction in many Western countries. In France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, USA, Australia and elsewhere, Muslims, formerly thought to be well-integrated, assimilated, moderate citizens who contributed to the rich mosaic of multiculturalism in those countries, have suddenly taken to the streets showing a different side of Islam, reportedly shouting:

“Heil Hitler. Hamas Hamas. Jews to the gas. We are all Hamas. We are Jihad”.[v] Many well-meaning non-Muslim people have joined these processions.

In Sydney as the crowd waved their black flags of jihad, the reported shout was:

Palestine is a Muslim land.

The solution is Jihad.

You can never stop Islam.

From Australia to Al Sham.

One Ummah (Muslim community) hand in hand

from Lakemba to Gaza.

One call –“Khalifa”.[vi]

The latest claimant for the role of Caliph, that is, a leader of international Islam, is Abu Bakr al Baghdadi also known as Caliph Ibrahim. He reportedly announced that, “The long slumber of neglect has ended. The sun of Jihad has risen. Triumph looms on the horizon. Infidels are terrified. As East and West submit Muslims will own the earth.”[vii] Those objectives are clear.

As for Israelis the Muslim objectives about them are equally clear. In his Friday sermon on August 22, 2014 in Khan Younis in Gaza, Sheikh Mohammed Abu Rajab is reported as saying, “We pledged before the commanders of the Jihad to die for the sake of Allah; we have gathered the Zionists from all corners of the globe so that it will be easier to slaughter and kill them”.[viii]

 

Part 2 will be posted within a week.

 

[i] Brendan Nicholson, We’ll fight Islam 100 years. The Weekend Australian, August 9-10 2014, 1.

[ii] https//www.raymondibrahim.com/islam/the-seige-of-constantinople(viewed August 16 2014)

[iii] Ezequiel Doiny, The Muslim Colonists: Forgotten Facts about the Arab-Israeli Conflict. http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4611/muslim-colonists. August 15 2014.

[iv] MEMRI TV, Hamas Spokesman: Our War Is For Liberation of Jerusalem Not For Lifting Of Blockade. Viewed August 26 2014.

[v] Denis MacEoin, The New Romantics ‘Being Fair’ to Terrorist Groups. http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4602/new-romantics. August 14 2014.

[vi] Andrew Bolt, Wake up Labor, smell the threat. HeraldSun, August 4 2014, 13.

[vii] Daniel Pipes, Caliph Ibrahim’s Brutal Moment. The Washington Times. http://www.danielpipes.org/14691/caliph-ibrahim August 5 2014.

[viii] www.memri.org/clip/en/4442.htm, August 22 2014, viewed August 29 2014.

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