Editor's Note: Brian D. McLaren is author of "Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World" (Jericho Books/Hachette Book Group).
By Brian McLaren, Special to CNN
I was raised as an evangelical Christian in America, and any discussion of Christian-Jewish-Muslim relations around the world must include the phenomenon of American Islamophobia, for which large sectors of evangelical Christianity in America serve as a greenhouse.
At a time when U.S. embassies are being attacked and when people are getting killed over an offensive, adolescent and puerile film targeting Islam - beyond pathetic in its tawdriness – we must begin to own up to the reality of evangelical Islamaphobia.
Many of my own relatives receive and forward pious-sounding and alarm-bell-ringing e-mails that trumpet (IN LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS!) the evils of Islam, that call their fellow evangelicals and charismatics to prayer and “spiritual warfare” against those alleged evils, and that often - truth be told - contain lots of downright lies.
For example, one recent e-mail claimed “Egyptian Christians in Grave Danger as Muslim Brotherhood Crucifies Opponents." Of course, that claim has been thoroughly debunked, but the sender’s website still (as of Friday) claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has “crucified those opposing" Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy "naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others.”
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Many sincere and good-hearted evangelicals have never yet had a real Muslim friend, and now they probably never will because their minds have been so prejudiced by Islamophobic broadcasts on so-called Christian television and radio.
Janet Parshall, for example, a popular talk show host on the Moody Radio Network, frequently hosts Walid Shoebat, a Muslim-evangelical convert whose anti-Muslim claims, along with claims about his own biography, are frequently questioned. John Hagee, a popular televangelist, also hosts Shoebat as an expert on Islam, as does the 700 Club.
Many Christian bookstores that (used to) sell my books, still sell books such as Paul Sperry’s "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington" (Thomas Nelson, 2008). In so doing, they fuel conspiracy theories such as the ones U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, promoted earlier this year.
In recent days, we’ve seen how irresponsible Muslim media outlets used the tawdry 13-minute video created by a tiny handful of fringe Christian extremists to create a disgusting caricature of all Christians - and all Americans - in Muslim minds. But too few Americans realize how frequently American Christian media personalities in the U.S. similarly prejudice their hearers’ minds with mirror-image stereotypes of Muslims.
Ambassador's killing shines light on Muslim sensitivities around Prophet Mohammed
Meanwhile, many who are pastors and leaders in evangelicalism hide their heads in the current issue of Christianity Today or World Magazine, acting as if the kinds of people who host Islamophobic sentiments swim in a tiny sidestream, not in the mainstream, of our common heritage. I wish that were true.
The events of this past week, if we let them, could mark a turning point - a hitting bottom, if you will - in the complicity of evangelicalism in Islamophobia. If enough evangelicals watch or try to watch the film trailer that has sparked such outrage in the Middle East, they may move beyond the tipping point.
I tried to watch it, but I couldn’t make it halfway to the 13-minute mark. Everything about it was tawdry, pathetic, even pornographic. All but the most fundamentalist believers from my evangelical Christian tribe who watch that video will be appalled and ashamed to be associated with it.
It is hate speech. It is no different from the anti-Semitic garbage that has been all too common in Western Christian history. It is sub-Christian - beneath the dignity of anyone with a functioning moral compass.
Islamophobic evangelical Christians - and the neo-conservative Catholics and even some Jewish folks who are their unlikely political bedfellows of late - must choose.
Will they press on in their current path, letting Islamophobia spread even further amongst them? Or will they stop, rethink and seek to a more charitable approach to our Muslim neighbors? Will they realize that evangelical religious identity is under assault, not by Shariah law, not by the liberal media, not by secular humanism from the outside, but by forces within the evangelical community that infect that religious identity with hostility?
If I could get one message through to my evangelical friends, it would be this: The greatest threat to evangelicalism is evangelicals who tolerate hate and who promote hate camouflaged as piety.
No one can serve two masters. You can’t serve God and greed, nor can you serve God and fear, nor God and hate.
The broad highway of us-them thinking and the offense-outrage-revenge reaction cycle leads to self-destruction. There is a better way, the way of Christ who, when reviled, did not revile in return, who when insulted, did not insult in return, and who taught his followers to love even those who define themselves as enemies.
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Yes, “they” – the tiny minority of Muslims who turn piety into violence – have big problems of their own. But the way of Christ requires all who claim to be Christians to examine our own eyes for planks before trying to perform first aid on the eyes of others. We must admit that we have our own tiny minority whose message and methods we have not firmly, unitedly and publicly repudiated and rejected.
To choose the way of Christ is not appeasement. It is not being a “sympathizer.”
The way of Christ is a gentle strength that transcends the vicious cycles of offense-outrage-revenge.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Brian D. McLaren.
Brian McLaren is one of these "emerging church"/ "religious left" wolves. He's not one of the deceived, he's one of the deceivers so steer clear. As for this whole mess, who doesn't want to welcome people into our society who think murder, pre and post mortem sodomy and violent chaos is a perfectly reasonable response to a Z grade youtube video? Moral relativism. . .there is no bottom.
Exact=e=mundo...Another load of anti-Christian bunk – thinly disguised as an article about faith....BAH!!!!
yes,,it is better to be accepting, but while the convervative evangelicals are appalling in their intentional provocation, conservative islam continues to call for dominance over the world. both groups have my repudiation and i will support and honor neither. they deserve no respect, only the natural right to be left alone as long as they leave the rest of us alone
Dont throw out religion with the bathwater! It is a great tool to help our young people learn self-discipline, caring and sharing. Fostering faith in oneself helps many young people become productive citizens. That said, I agree that our global interpretation of phenomena we can not explain as well elementary and even delusional. However, keep religion as a tool to help us build a caring society instead of the strongest win all the toys and too bad along the way I crush you.
Are the suicide bombers Christians? No, they are model Muslims according to the Koran, and will once visit the Oktoberfest in Munich, and the dilettante police of Munich will not be able to stop them (they only can write tickets, and anger the ordinary citizens of Munich).
The Good Being which has created us wants us to love each other independent from distinct belief, nationality, color, social status, etc.. We simpy should respect our human dignity. A true Christian will love his Muslim neighbour despite his false religion Islam, he will also love his Catholic neighbour despite his false religion Catholicism (of course, this refers only to ordinary Muslims and Catholics; criminal Muslims and Catholics are a case for the authority; actually it should be beyond imagination that a true Christian committs any crime but it is possible, and then he is also a case for the authority).
The great difference between genuine Christianity and Islam is that you can justify no killing of infidels by the genuine Christian doctrine but you can justify the killing of infidels by the Islamic doctrine. Hence, Christianity is much better than Islam, or Islam is a criminal religion innately because Jihad (killing of infidels) belongs to its core tenets.
Muhammad spread his demonic nonsense by using the sword which is a historical fact, in contrast, Jesus spread the divine truth only by words.
A great problem in the Western World is the crowd of nominal Christians, that means people which call themselves Christians (mostly they are Catholics or Cheap-Grace-Protestants but also Anabaptists) which don't really live as true Christians in daily life although they are baptized, and pretend to believe.
This regretable state is perceived by the Umma (Muslim community), and I guess that they perceice us as nasty hypocrites which have to be punished in the name of Allah. It is true that we have to be punished but this is not the task of the Muslims or Umma but God's own task. God is the only being which has the right to judge (the authority has a divine mandate to judge criminals). The Muslims committ an unforgiveable crime when they presume to be our judges (even the Holy God Jesus did not judge us but offered grace; first after the period of grace he will judge).
The Muslims err when they assume the Christian faith would be the reason for the corruption of the Western World, that is a very nonsense. The Christian doctrine is very good in itself, yet the problem is that too less people really believe in the Son of God Jesus, and follow him in daily life which would mean suffering and rejection but happyness of the soul.
The great dark mystery of Muhammad and the Koran is that they regard us as infidels. Shortly before Muhammad started to preach the Islam in Arabia (around 610 a. D.) the Christian Eastern Roman Empire Byzantium had experienced a great crisis under the rule of the usurper Phocas (the worst tyrant of all history) who was an ancient kind of Hitler. Possibly the "Christian" soldiers of Phoca's armies committed terrible crimes in Near East, and Muhammad became witness of that because he as a merchant stayed in Palestine very often. Yet, Muhammad made a mistake to conclude that Christianity was the reasom for the misbehaviour of the "Christian" Roman soldiers. The reason was the criminal leader Phocas whom Dr. Martin Luther called an incarnation of the devil. By the way, Phocas also introduced papacy by making the Roman See the highest one on earth.
And also today the reason for the misery of the Western World and all its moral doom and loss of culture is not Christianity but godless leaders which are greedy for honor, power and riches, and to a large extend the unholy pope (successor of Judas Iscariot according to Luther) with his wrong doctrine.
How to solve the Islamic issue?
Simply when we call ourselves Christians we should really live as Christians. God, the Father, delivered God, the Son, Jesus for our sins, and raised him from the dead for our justification. If we believe that and get sacramentally baptized (or remember our infant baptism) we become righteous. This righteousness is not only a status but through faith in Christ we behave righteous in daily life. If we do so, God will be with us, and protect us from our enemies.
Concerning the Oktoberfest in Munich/Bavaria:
Don't go there, it is only a question of time when the first Islamic fool blows himself up there. You may respond that half of the population of Munich are policemen, and could protect the visitors of the great Binge but I tell you that the police of Munich is not even able to catch bicycle thiefs; how then should they be able to protect us from the Islamists?
In the name of Jesus Christ.
Copying and pasting your ignorant nonsense yet again? I can copy and paste too:
When will humanity cast off the shackles of ancient mythology and superst!tious nonsense. Evangelicals are hateful and deluded. True, they don't go around killing people like Islamic extremists, but they are full of hatred and bigotry. All religions are nothing but ancient mythology, written thousands of years ago by members of primitive cultures. Why anyone in their right min would accept such nonsense has always boggled my mind. This is the 21st century, not the 14th. We don't need ancient mythology and superst!tious nonsense. We know a lot about the Universe and what we know doesn't fit with the ancient writings of bronze-age people. Nor do we need imaginary, invisible beings in the sky. But the ignorant masses persist in wallowing in their fantasy world and in trying to force their fairytales on everyone else. That's what's wrong with the world. Ignorant people fighting over their sky fairies. When will people wake up and embrace science, logic, reason and objectivity instead of ancient mythology? There is no hope for the human race until that happens. We'll continue killing each other over invisible sky fairies.
Luis Wu, you asked:
"When will humanity cast off the shackles of ancient mythology and superst!tious nonsense. "
The answer is:
The minute muslims learn tolerance and start acting like human beings.
r'an 9:71 "O Prophet, strive hard [fighting] against the unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be harsh with them. Their abode is Hell, an evil refuge indeed."
Qur'an 8:59 "The infidels should not think that they can get away from us. Prepare against them whatever arms and weaponry you can muster so that you may terrorize them."
Qur'an 4:168 "Those who reject [Islamic] Faith, Allah will not forgive them nor guide them to any path except the way to Hell, to dwell therein forever. And this to Allah is easy."
Qur'an 4:114 "He who disobeys the Apostle after guidance has been revealed will burn in Hell."
Ishaq:344 "We smote them and they scattered. The impious met death. They became fuel for Hell. All who aren't Muslims must go there. It will consume them while the Stoker [Allah] increases the heat. They had called Allah's Apostle a liar. They claimed, 'You are nothing but a sorcerer.' So Allah destroyed them."
Last year my daughter moved to Egypt to marry her boyfriend. She's told me many times that she receives less discrimination living in Egypt as an American than her husband would receive living in America as an Egyptian.
She must be muslim.
Nonetheless, are you saying that she accepts whatever abuse she gets because, somehow, in her little brain, she has decided that what she gets is less then what her husband would have gotten in the USA?
No, I'm saying that I trust her first hand account of thing in Egypt more than I trust the media accounts. After all, moderate, rational people don't bring high ratings. The idiots who burn flags get all the camera's attention.
And yes, she did convert to Islam (although I don't see why that makes her any less capable of reporting the facts on the ground), and no, judging by her success as an artist, her brain is not little.
muslims lie. It is written in the Quran, apparantly the words of Allah:
Bukhari:V7B67N427 "The Prophet said, 'If I take an oath and later find something else better than that, then I do what is better and expiate my oath.'"
Qur'an 9:3 "Allah and His Messenger dissolve obligations."
Qur'an 66:2 "Allah has already sanctioned for you the dissolution of your vows."
Bukhari:V4B52N268 "Allah's Apostle said, 'War is deceit.'"
Qur'an 4:142 "Surely the hypocrites strive to deceive Allah. He shall retaliate by deceiving them."
Bukhari:V7B71N661 "Magic was worked on Allah's Apostle and he was bewitched so that he began to imagine doing things which in fact, he had not done."
Bukhari:V6B60N8 "Umar said, 'Our best Qur'an reciter is Ubai. And in spite of this, we leave out some of his statements because Allah's Apostle himself said, "Whatever verse or revelation We abrogate or cause to be forgotten We bring a better one."
Qur'an 33:11 "In that situation the Believers were sorely tried and shaken as by a tremendous shaking. And behold! The Hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease said: 'Allah and His Messenger promised us nothing but delusion; they have promised only to deceive us."
Qur'an 33:14 "Say: Flight will not avail you if you flee from death, killing, or slaughter. In that case you will not be allowed to enjoy yourselves but a little while. Say, 'Who will screen you, saving you from Allah if he intends to harm and injure you?'"
Qur'an 33:21 "You have in (Muhammad) the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct for any one to follow."
Qur'an 74:31 "We have appointed nineteen angels to be the wardens of the Hell Fire. We made a stumbling-block for those who disbelieve and We have fixed their number as a trial for unbelievers in order that the people of the Book may arrive with certainty, and that no doubts may be left for the people of the Book, those in whose hearts is a disease. And for those to whom the Scripture Book has been given, and the believers, there should be no doubt. The unbelievers may say, 'What does the Lord intend by this?' The Lord will lead astray whomever He pleases, and He will guide whomever He pleases: and none can know the armies of your Lord except He, and this is no other than a warning to mankind."
2 Thessalonians, 2:11 "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:"
Apparently your Christian God is okay with lying to us, too.
Still think you're better than everyone else?
Yes Layne but you should remember that until recently Egypt was a secular country. At this point there is battle in the culture between Islam and all other Ideology.If Islam wins In a decade things will be very different, in two the people won't even recognize it as the same country.
Mr. McLaren just doesn't get it.
I think a lot of posters here are the ones who 'don't get it.'
This violence is NOT being perpetrated by the majority of Muslims. It is a small group of dissatisfied, mostly unemployed, young men, some of whom aren't in the slightest interested in the film. They're nothing more than hooligans. Pretending that the entire Muslim world is a threat to us is idiotic.
Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son
So, tell us, where are the "good" or "nice" muslims? Why are they not speaking out?
If only you could see the atrocities committed by Islam in the name of Mohamed and their Allah (pagan moon god vs SUN GOD) then your minds would be enlightened. Right now your eyes are darkened with media propaganda feed by Al Qaeda
It is clear that the author , as it became part of current dominant culture in America, uses spining facts to prove his opinion. Once again he forgets that point fingers does not solve problems , but instead creates more opportunities for problems to happen. Before we go into another expert opinion , we should go back to theaching our kids and ourselves the principles that can make this world works : freedom and respect , honest debate and solidarity , peace and anti violence. The attacks on Amercia in the middle east are wrong ,since violence is wrong , we must not spin this fact . At the same time if we were strongly working on rewarding and teaching values in America , maybe this film would not even exist , and in the event that it did so we would be the first one to condemn it and of course without violence
Anyone should be able to make whatever movie they want to make.
It is also contigent on the individual to watch or not to watch this movie.
It is called being a free thinker.
I have been an Evangelical Christian for 46 years. Never have I been taught to hate or fear anyone. We know Jesus said, "Love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly." This Islamophobia is NOT mainstream Christianity. How ever, it is becoming mainstream Americanism due to the events over the last decade. Come on! Everyone can see it. Why can't you see that the ultimate aim of Islam is to rule the world, and by force and violence if necessary?
By the way, I had a good muslim friend for many years who ate with me in my house many times.
"God bless you, Syed, wherever you are!"
Ali ibn Nafi, known by his nickname of Ziryab (Blackbird) came from Iraq to Cordoba in the 9th century and brought with him the concept of the three-course meal – soup, followed by fish or meat, then fruit and nuts. He also introduced crystal glasses (which had been invented after experiments with rock crystal by Abbas ibn Firnas
Your statement is debatable as the Romans were dining with 3 course meals long before the muslims ever existed.
However, what has islam done or invented in the last 1400 years apart from murder and mayhem?
Conversion by the sword is against anything humane.
All that muslims can do is steal ideas and try to rewrite history in case the civilized world can be fooled like their idiot followers. Glasses were not invented by muslims.
Around 1000AD, the first vision aid was invented (inventor unknown) called a reading stone, which was a glass sphere that was laid on top of the material to be read that to magnified the letters.
Around 1284 in Italy, Salvino D'Armate is credited with inventing the first wearable eye glasses. This picture is a reproduction copied from an original pair of eye glasses dating back to the mid-1400's.
The idiocy is that this film had very little to do with any of this nor did "evangelicals." Perpetuating this myth is harmful to the discussion. Once again intellectuals point to Christians as the culprit. Christ is constantly blasphemed in pop-culture on everything from South Park to Family Guy. Christians largely take it in stride and never take to the streets in violence. Let some obscure film, which represents a true "tiny minority" be used a tool for violence and a cover for terrorist activity and suddenly Christians need to "choose." They have chosen. They've chosen non-violence. What it's time for is for the world to wake up to this so-called "tiny minority" of Islamic Extremists. We're repeated told how tiny this group is yet a large swath of the Middle East seems to be run by them. But that's "Islamophobic." So, Christians, turn a blind eye and shut up. Stop the h8! As usual, "be seen and not heard." This article is drivel and insulting.
The windmill was invented in 634 for a Persian caliph and was used to grind corn and draw up water for irrigation. In the vast deserts of Arabia, when the seasonal streams ran dry, the only source of power was the wind which blew steadily from one direction for months. Mills had six or 12 sails covered in fabric or palm leaves. It was 500 years before the first windmill was seen in Europe.
12 The technique of inoculation was not invented by Jenner and Pasteur but was devised in the Muslim world and brought to Europe from Turkey by the wife of the English ambassador to Istanbul in 1724. Children in Turkey were vaccinated with cowpox to fight the deadly smallpox at least 50 years before the West discovered it
A machine designed by a Greek mathematician Heron of Alexandria in the 1 AD is the earliest known example of using the winds to power a machine.
and the muslim lie keep coming. You seem to think that like muslim who believe anything if it is repeated over and over and over and over again, that we civilized people will fall for the same lie-> you would be wrong.
It was commonly believed that the survivors of a smallpox attack were immune thereafter and would not catch the disease again. Thus, the preventive measures were attempted by introducing samples from smallpox vesicles into the scratched skin or nostrils of healthy subjects. It was hoped that this imitation of nature could induce some degree of immunity in other people. This process called variolation or inoculation, was practiced in China during 10th century and before that in India around 1000 BC.
Read more: http://www.experiment-resources.com/who-invented-vaccination.html#ixzz26dqtBkFP
The great problem is that the Islamic suicides divert us from our real current problems.
The worst problem which we face is the fact that there are evil powers which make the whole world a factory. Compared with those criminals the Islamists are only little mosquitoes.
Take a walk through Munich today, and what will you assess: The roads are nearly empty, at least in the suburbs because the people are hanging around before the idiot box instead of enjoying community with each other (community could be brought about by a lively Christian church but the evil powers prevent the development of a good church in Germany).
Germany has degenerated to a factory, and the most Germans are still only human robots. Nobody should say that this is a social development. No, this is the will of some supervillains which rule our Western countries.
Your statements without any foundation makes you look like a liar.
What a purely ignorant and sadomasochistic article. The only people to blame for the violence are the sav ages who reacted with violence. NO ONE ELSE.
Amen to that,, stop calling Christains Islamaphobic, There is no fear in this. There is anger and bewilderment on how this so called religion allows men to treat their woman like door mats and killing people who are not like them because they are the infidels. That is not God like. When those who practice Islam start realizing that the only way is through Christ then maybe they will find peace and love in their hearts for their fellow man and not want to kill everyone who doesn't think like them. Hopefully we will get Obama out of office before he totally takes God out of America. But the good thing is he cannot take God our of our hearts.
I think we should recall all our people from the mid-East and turn it into pure glass.
I like the way you think!
I agree totally, My husband is in Afghanastan and I pray everyday that God keeps him safe. I think our troops should come home as well and let those people kill each other off if that is what Allah wants. But our current president is trying to elimate Christianity and allow Islam to infiltrate our country, Sickens me that half of the American population believe the lies he spouts. If he loves Islam so much then he needs to go live in the middle east. We must stop him from turning this nation into an Islamic state. Shame on Americans who have forgotten all those who died sacrificing for this country to allow them to enjoy religious freedom. But I'm sure those who stand behind him are getting a big fat welfare check every month. They don't realize they are losing their souls for that little check they get every month that half of the population works so hard everyday to allow them to sit on their asses and watch Dr. Phil.
Thank you. Peace, justice and equality for all
the video tape was posted online in July. Why muslims did not react until 9/11? how many churches were burnt down and how many christians in islamic countries were killed and we did not react in the same way here. as long as people in western countries suffer from denial and do not know what is going in islamic world, their future is endangered and kids will have no bright futrue and freedom will be in danger as well.
Because they are rubbing in our faces the 9/11 attacks. And this guy puts in this article we should be tolerant of Islam. Maybe he should be tolerant of Christianity. Jesus still loves him dispite his ignorance.
All religious fanatics are nuts!
It's funny how a (victim of stereotypes) Muslim stereotypes atheists! You fakkking hypocrites should go back to where you belong. Go to this link http://youtu.be/RrnMYg62boM?t=1m53s (or replace "dot" with ".") youtu dot be/RrnMYg62boM?t=1m53s or search for google for "youtube muslim killed daughter california" & go to the 1:53 minute mark
I am BelieverPhobic. Every last religion breeds some form of extremism. This whole notion of my invisible guy is better than your invisible guy or my holy book is more holy than your holy book, is getting pretty old. If we treat what was written 1400 to 2000 years ago as ultimate truth, then we are doomed. It does not take much for ignorant people to believe what some extremist is saying, Christian or Muslim.
Right! The problem... sheep outnumber free thinkers!
To me, evangelicals are more scary than Muslims. At least the Muslims are thousands of miles way, at least the extremist ones are for the most part. The wacko evangelicals are right here in our country, in our neighborhoods, teaching our children in school and trying to push their ignorant mythology on everyone else.
Wake up the enemy (islam) is already within.
We will pray for you Edward. I would rather believe in the invisible guy and have peace, joy and love in my heart for my fellow man and find out when I die is was all a myth than go around believing in hate and destruction. I will pray that the emptyness in your heart is filled with the Holy Spirit (invisible guy) and you find some love,, peace and kindess in your life. Even if it isn 't real.
Wu..do you actually believe Islamic Extremist are in another country? Get your head out of the sand. They are your neighbors. They have infiltrated our government. And if we allow it, they will take over our country. Can believe you are so ignorant to believe they are only in the middle east. Why don't you serve this proud America and go over seas and really see how sick this nation can become. But thats right....you don't are that thousand of Americans died so you can speak with freedom and not be persecuted.
While I think that the video that inspired the riots was hateful and repulsive, I find it extremely hypocritical of the Muslim world to blame so much violence on that. Across the Muslim world, Christians are persecuted EVERY DAY. Muslims hold celebrations marking the anniversary of 9/11. You can certainly make the claim that the people doing these things are on the "fringe", but so was the person making the anti-Islam video. I am just tired of the U.S. being held to a different standard than other countries.
Show me on instance of where 911 is celebrated as an occasion by Muslims as an event every year? You just lied.
Prove him wrong, do not just him a liar.
There are hundreds of instances where muslims celebrated and continue to celebrate 9/11.
Do some research.
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