Quran reading
September 13th, 2010
08:48 AM ET

Churches read from Quran in face of proposed Quran burning

Journalist Amy Zerba filed this report from Gainesville, Florida:

Rev. Larry Reimer says there's a simple message at the core of his faith: people have more in common than they have in conflict.

It's one reason he chose to have a passage from the Quran read at the United Church of Gainesville, part of the United Church of Christ, on Sunday.

And he wasn’t alone.

More than 20 religious leaders from Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim backgrounds around Gainesville had the same Quran passage read - along with Christian and Hebrew scriptures–  at their congregations over the weekend. Local synagogues made it part of their Rosh Hashanah celebrations.

It was a sign of unity after weeks of talk by a Florida pastor who threatened to burn the Muslim holy book on 9-11 but who ultimately cancelled the event.

“It just seemed that the reading of Quran was the most affirmative thing we can do,” said Reimer, who has served at the United Church of Gainesville for 36 years. “You might say (we) befriended the Quran and brought it into everyone’s framework, everyone’s point of view.”

Reimer came up with the idea a few days after he learned of the planned Burn A Koran Day from worried parishioners. He approached local religious leaders to join him in reading common Hebrew, Christian and Muslim scriptures at their Sabbath services.

The response from the community was overwhelming positive, he said.

Shanna Johnson, 40, a member of the United Church of Gainesville, said the proposed Quran burning forced the Gainesville community to talk “rationally” with others about different faiths.

“The things that we have in common can really come out in this type of situation,” Johnson said.

Reimer plans to continue connections with clergy from other faiths. A group of religious leaders will meet in October in Gainesville to try to improve interfaith relations.

“My whole ministry, my whole faith is designed around the sense that we have much to learn from each other that we are a common family and that our division is not among religions but it is among fanatics and extremists on both sides that we have to overcome,” Reimer said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Florida • Houses of worship • Islam • Muslim • Quran • United States

soundoff (555 Responses)
  1. thotseed

    America should not just burn the Koran but ban Islam as a cult that it is. Islam is not a religion it's a cult with fanatic followers that are illogical, illiterate, rude, obstinate, arrogant, and suicidal as are most cultists.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
    • Frogist

      @thotseed: By your criteria you must be muslim then.

      September 13, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  2. Michael

    Could have broken out a copy of Aesop's Fables while they were at it... since they were already reading fairy tales.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
    • SomeTruth

      Yep, Michael - all praise and glory to Mr. Tortoise!

      September 13, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
  3. Damon

    I want to make one thing clear. The "God" of Islam is not the God of the Bible. If he were the same God, the revelation would be the same. That is to say, one true God would not reveal to one group of people that Jesus is the only way to heaven, and then tell another group something entirely different. Christians and Muslims worship vastly different gods.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
    • MIchael Schulze

      They have the same roots, and just went into different directions. Faith= Ignorance.

      September 13, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
    • Damon

      It takes a lot of faith to be an atheist.

      September 13, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
    • MIchael Schulze

      Faith is belief without evidence. The evidence works against your claims, and you have used one of the worst agruments available. I hope you are not actually a graduate student...

      September 13, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
    • Damon

      You sound as if you believe that absolutely no evidence exists that points to God's existance. If that is the case, then you are not being intellectually honest.

      September 13, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • peace2all


      Please cite actual 'scientific' facts that do more than *point* to god's existence. And.... to which god or god/s are you referring...?

      The burden of proof are the responsibility of people making the claim..... in this case of God....

      Evidence please..... this should be interesting....


      September 13, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
    • LP

      @ Damon – How do you know that the god you follow hasn't sent different messages to different groups of people? What's to stop him/her?

      "God is a comedian playing to an audience that has no sense of humor" Voltaire.

      September 13, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  4. brian

    This is crazy!! The story is cool with me. While I wouldn't teach from the Quran, I'm not going to get between someone and their religious beliefs. I can respect that, and I appreciate the freedoms to do that in this country. My ordeal is the fact that so many comments are thrown, challenging the intellectual abilities of Christians. Being a Christian does not disqualify me from being an intellectual. I am a graduate student, worked in top offices, and one of 30 students in the world selected to do research with integrating technology in the classroom. When you make a generalization such as those believing in some sort of religion are the jokes in the intellectual world... I assure you that you are not conversing with the intellectual world.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
    • MIchael Schulze

      If you take the Bible in a literal sense, I'm sorry, you are an idiot. And if you don't, you're not a Christian (as the Bible states that it is the word of God and is to be taken literally). Even the metaphors stink of insanity. There are mass amounts of information, both historically and scientific that should makes anyone that holds onto that nonsense look like a fool.

      September 13, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
    • Damon

      Actually, the Bible has never been proven wrong from a historical or archeological prospective. If it was, believe me, it would be all over the media.

      September 13, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
    • MIchael Schulze

      haha... It's amazing how the most sincere believers tend to be the least educated!

      September 13, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
    • peace2all


      You said..."The bible has (never) been proven (wrong) from a (historical) or (archeological) perspective."

      Really....? Are you F******* kidding me...! Yes, god created the dinosaurs and blonde haired blue-eyed people all running around after creation in 6 days..... 4,000 years ago. Oh, and the talking snake, etc.... Don't get me started.

      christian biblical ignorance in the face of undeniable science 'is' what scares the majority of 'thinking' people in America and all over the world.

      Please ...pick up another book....besides the bible....like a .... well, a science book for starters.


      September 13, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
    • peace2all


      I comment you on your intellect... and working in the technology field. And....... your intellect has nothing to do with your 'beliefs' in a mythology. Religion is all mythologically based. No evidence.... No proof...

      You seem to be a smart intellectual guy...... I know you know the difference....


      September 13, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
    • Julie

      Michael Schulze, that is a huge generality...and not very "tolerant and accepting" of others, don't you think? Also not very accurate.

      September 13, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
    • Damon

      If a frog turns into a Prince in an instant, it's called a fairy tale. If a frog turns into a Prince over millions of years, it's called evolution.

      September 13, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
    • peace2all


      Did I read your posting right..."If a frog gets turned into a prince in an instant it's called a fairy-tale...if a frog get's turned into a prince over a million years it's called evolution."

      Please elaborate...... I am very, very curious to hear what you have to say about this one....


      September 13, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Damon: Yes, my people came from frogs. So says our ancestor, Kermit the First. The Frog Prince is an old tradition dating back 4 willion years! One day he will return and bring the Great Swamp of Eternal Wading with him. Henson be with you.

      September 13, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
    • Kate


      It ain't easy being green

      Just sayin'

      September 13, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  5. Michael Schulze

    Sure enough, these organizations have a lot in common, each posses an instruction book for genocide. The large difference is that many Islamic's are sincere in their beliefs, so are more willing to commit the atrocities that their, specific, text instruct. These "holy" books contain metaphors that were perverted by literal interpretations over their evolution, and now idiots around the world are killing each other over them. The whole ordeal is ridiculous, most of all from those who object due to their own religious chauvinism. I find it amazing that the people who conform to this crap can function in the real world, and insulting that we vote others into office according to their conviction on these matters. This is the epitome of pathetic.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
  6. LJB

    Do any of you people actually believe that the muslims care if you read from the Quran or not. They just want to kill you because you are 1) American 2) not muslim 3) just blood thirsty animals. If you don't follow their rules as they want, then they kill you as a non-believer of mohammed. Who cares about mohammed, just the quacks and the radicals. Mohammed was a murderer in his own right and would kill back when he was alive if you did not agree with his point of view. He showed you his point of view, the sword.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:59 am |
    • Lucy

      Don't be scared. I am a Muslim, and I don't want to hurt you, little fella.

      September 13, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
    • Kate


      Wait ... the AFLAC duck is a Muslim??

      Just askin'

      September 13, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
    • peace2all


      Oh no....you didn't just bring in the AFLAC duck into this.....i.e... 'quacks' LOL..!!! I am searching for a therapist for you....

      Just doin' and intervention....


      September 13, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
    • Kate


      Oh I so did!


      Just quackin'

      September 13, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
    • A. S. David

      Amazing how so many radical Flag waving Christian Americans think they can read my thoughts! I never knew that I hated my fellow Americans... or myself for that matter for being "American"! I never knew I wanted to kill them!!! I never knew my intentions were to force conversions (though its forbidden in the Quran)....

      OH wait a minute!! Now I remember– they think that's MY desire, because its THEIR desire! That's right, its easy to believe someone else harbors such beliefs, when one believes it themselves. Its easy to assume all "Muslims" are foreigners and all "Middle Easterners" are Muslim when you are a bigot!

      Just to set the record straight: I'm AMERICAN. My family has been in this country since YOUR ancestors got off the boat and set foot on this country! Part of my family helped settle & establish Sandwich Massachusetts! Heck part of my family were part of the early Massachusetts Bay colonialists!

      Now, as a descendant of BOTH sides of "Americans" (White & Native) I just wish to point out that AMERICA ain't got a pearly clean reputation for not FORCING Christian conversion or die! Yeh, I know a few Native Americans who could point to "Mission" groups who still push their CONVERT or suffer mindset as they go to do "mercy" work on the reservations. Either you become a member of their church or your kids go hungry... give em your kids and they will feed them! Yeh, now that is a PEACEFUL & LOVING "American Christian" practice ain't it?

      Hypocracy is running a muck in America & we need to face our racial, nationalist racism & religiously based political hatred! The propaganda machines of the Evangelical Right in this nation has been beating the drum of HATE against the "Muslim world" for over two decades. Long before 9-11. Long before the Christian American bombed Oklahoma city. Long before the abortion clinic doctor were killed in his church by a radical Christian. Long before they tried taking over and pushing their Taliban-style rhetoric on the American people - they were using "Think tanks" and "Tent Maker" programs teaching themselves how to assault Muslim countries with "doctors" & "Teachers" so that they could push their agenda of "witnessing". Unfortunately if you read their own authors works, you see they are angry because their tactics haven't work as well in the "Muslim world" as it had in other countries & religious groups. They hate the Muslims because the Muslims RESIST their attempts to coerce conversions.

      THAT is the real truth behind the hate! They post about the lack of "religious freedom" in these other countries, but what they are really referring to is THEIR churches not being allowed into do THEIR "witnessing". Coptic Christians I know in Egypt say they hate having the American Evangelicals coming to Egypt because they cause trouble for them! They don't HELP them as "Christians" but see them as needing to "convert" to Evangelical ideology. They hate everyone but their own and thus accuse everyone else of "Hate" because its their own image they see when they look out at the world.

      September 14, 2010 at 7:21 am |
  7. Fresnogirl

    Wow. I was packing my bags because I thought this country was heading the way of internment camps for Muslims. This story renewed my faith in the beauty of American values.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  8. Jack

    Hey–where's Newt been lately? Didn't he rant-on about Islam being like Nazism? This sharing and understanding must be getting him annoyed–you would think.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:58 am |
  9. Sandiegobeachbum

    The bozos who rioted in Afghan and elsewhere over the anticipated burning of the Kopran really have their priorities in order! It seems to me they have much bigger fish to fry like : The Taliban treating women as less than human, stoning people to death, 60 year old men marrying teenage girls, cutting off an 18 year old girl's nose because she left her abusive husband ( see TIME magazine a month ago), destroying over 125 schools because girls attend, suicidal Islamic fanatical cowards on every continent killing thousands of INNOCENT people, and these clowns are worried about their precious Koran being burned by a nutjob. It is so clear that 80% of these morons are illiterate and what the hell are we doing over there if these total and complete idiots don't want us there and are demonstrating against the US. We have sacrificed so much and are supporting a very corrupt government but that's par for the course with third world countries. It truly is a carzy world out tehyre and it appears to me that religion is causing so many of the problems as it always has throughout history.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:57 am |
    • Wzrd1

      What we are doing over there is suppressing the nutjobs who happened to ram a few airplanes into our buildings over here.
      AFTER they blew up an apartment complex in an attempt to damage one of our embassies, attacked another embassy, attacked one naval warship of ours.
      Or would you rather we quit and let them have another whack at us?

      September 13, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  10. frank

    I am sick of people who can't spell the word "tolerance".

    September 13, 2010 at 11:57 am |
    • Kate


      I'm waiting for CDC to start investigating all the posters, there seems to be an epidemic of people being sick!

      Just innoculatin'

      September 13, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
    • Damon

      Your obviously an intollerent bigot against "spelling-challenged" people. 🙂

      September 13, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  11. American Patriot


    None of you are ALLOWED to open a Church in the Middle East.

    The people there will kill everyone and burn it down.

    Tollerance, NO they are HATERS.

    If you do not conform to them in their country, they kill you period.

    They are using tollerance to spread their religion while not allowing it in their country.
    I am sick of Middle Easterners and their Religious Hating

    September 13, 2010 at 11:48 am |
    • james brocolino

      How do you know? Give us some examples? Your ignorance is just amazing. What do you have to say about people still finding bones on the rooftops of the building around ground zero. If you are such a patriot why not raise a voice about that? Also, what about memorial center being finished? It has been how many years. Yeah, it is the best to sidestep this issues and talk ignoreance because you know nothing better

      September 13, 2010 at 11:58 am |
    • Kate

      You're doing a pretty good job of it yourself 😛

      Just observin' – and refusing to use the tag you posted under, cos I think you've kind of forgotten what both words mean.

      September 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
    • SoulCatcher

      The poster is correct about middle easterners intolerance of other religions. There are enough extremists who have pushed out entire populations of people of different religions. Many muslim majority nations pushed out other religious populations. This is one of the factors in the the birth of isreal and is cited in many places as a cause/reason for existince. I stumbled upon all this while doing research using United Nations information on the "Palestinian 'de-population' from Isreael"

      Try googling that.

      I'm OK with them building a mosque, but they should pay Manhatten rates on property taxes... tax them at the original building's height too...no exceptions allowed. That way all New Yorkers benefit from it. The community center I think is their relgion's way of avoiding taxation.
      Excerpts from a tape machine found 10,000 years from now:
      "The only thing certain is death and taxes... "

      "Press 1 if your name is Lazarus
      Press 2 for Jesus
      Press 3 if you are Buddist
      Press 4 if you are a clone
      Please come visit our multicultural center in NYC, if you are moderate muslim.
      Press 5 if you are a muslim extremist and we will be with you shortly. Your projected wait time is 10 seconds, 9, 8, 7,..." TABOTD

      September 13, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
    • John

      The only Muslim country without any churches is Saudi Arabia, and they're in negotiations with the Vatican to change even that. Iran has 73 churches, Iraq has a very sizable contingent of Chaldean Christians, Egypt has a bunch of Coptic Christians, and there's Christians in Lebanon, Syria, Qatar, etc etc etc.

      But a lot of these are even more old-fashioned Christians than the Catholics, and fundamentalist Protestant western Christians either don't know about them, or don't care.

      September 13, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
    • A. S. David

      Fools? hum... apparently you've never traveled to the Middle East... nor know your Christian history. The OLDEST Christian Churches are IN the Middle East! So before you call others fools, I'd study a bit more outside your nationalist bigotry & learn about Christian history! The oldest Churches, the oldest Christian Icons.... and Oh... let us not forget the HOLY LANDS are all in the Middle East - Bigotry shows through in your post my friend. it is not very Christian of you to accuse others of being fools when your own words show you listen more to the drum rolls of bigotry & hate promoted at the pulpit of hate here in America - rather than READING & Learning from a variety of resources about the TRUTH. But heh, its the "new religion" of American - hate hate hate at the foot of the cross. Yep, examples of the "tent maker" philosophy that has been pumping up the American war machine & justifying their own desires of greed & war mongering by claiming there are no Christians or churches. What is really meant is that THEY and their hate are not allowed in certain regions of the world. not just the Middle East, but also in part of Europe & Asia. Places that have experienced racial, religious & class hatred what can happen when hate mongers are allowed to run amuck in society. They learned what can happen & so they don't put up with it like Americans do. But then I'm sure you probably don't consider those "Christian" churches to be "Christian" either. I hear a lot of that to by hate mongering Christian elements. They hide behind the flag of "Christian" until they are only amongst Christians, then point to others & say they aren't "REAL" Christians.... Holier than thou mind set. That's the problem. No different than the Taliban. Its time the rest of us take back our nation & our churches & air waves & politics and let the hate mongers stew in their evangelical hate built churches - and leave the rest of America alone

      September 14, 2010 at 7:03 am |
  12. Robert W

    America ia about letting each believe and worship as they choose as long as they do not hurt others with their practices. It is not to make all religions teach other religions as true. That is the public schools job.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  13. james brocolino

    Why are we upset over these people being willing/able to build a mosque??? We should be upset at people who still have not collected all the human bones/remains from that tragic day. The same politicans who are propelling this hatred and narrow minded people who are buying to ask them selves that question? Also how long has it been since then, but still no memorial?

    September 13, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  14. adam

    I once had relations with Jesus.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:41 am |
    • Dave's

      Adam, believing in Jesus and asking Him to be your savior is called being born again. (Acording to Jesus in John 3:3). The term "born again" means that you are born spiritualy. A born again Christian refers to a baby Christian. Any baby (flesh or spirit)needs food to survive. The bible is a spiritual babys food and without it you will wither and die. Being born spiritualy gives you the ability to understand what the Bible is saying to you because of the Holy Spirit that Jesus has provided to you. Adam I would sudgest you get into a church that teaches the bible just as it is written. Remember that satan has sway over the whole earth and is the father of all lies.

      September 13, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
    • Kate


      Ummm ... Not that I mean to be nitpicky or anything, but ... if satan has sway over all earth, how can adam be sure that you're not just part of satan's great plan and that the bible isn't really the religious equivalent of a stereo's instruction manual? "All your souls are belong to us"?

      Now if you're going to say that churches are somehow immune from this satanic sway, then obviously satan doesn't sway over all the earth.

      Just sayin'

      September 13, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
    • Russ

      yep. we had one of them thar satanists in our town.... dyslexic feller... sold his soul to Santa.....

      September 13, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
  15. Damien

    The "church" mentioned in this article is not, in my opinion, a Christian church. Christian churches spread the Gospel through the Bible. Period. Had I been in that church, I would have walked out immediately. There aren't "multiple paths to salvation." What an appalling article. Another fine example of the degradation of our society brought about by political correctness. Live and let live, fine. But when a church decides to pollute the Gospel with other ideologies ... that's going to far.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:34 am |
    • tomcat3

      Absolutely! If I had wanted to hear about the Koran, I would have gone to a mosque and fallen down on my face. When I go to McDonalds for a burger, I don't want the guy to try to sell me fried chicken...ha!

      September 13, 2010 at 11:39 am |
    • Mr. X

      Very well stated. The "multiple paths to salvation" comment floored me. Then I realized we're talking the UCC church, which is quickly sacrificing any claim of truth at the alter of inclusiveness. Now, I realize I am now automatically dismissed as a narrow-minded zealot by the "free thinkers" on this site, but, if one is Christian and believes in the veracity of Christian tenets, then it is * illogical * to consider that other paths are equally valid.

      What's sad is that, people out here appear to consider disagreement regarding truth with arrogance and hate. Why is that? If I think path 'X' is correct, I must, logically, consider path 'Y' incorrect. I make no comment about you as a person. I merely consider your position on religion to be incorrect. But my mere thoughts on that matter cause some of the most hate-filled vitriol I've ever experienced. Who, exactly, is intolerant?

      Tolerance is realizing one has another view in regards to truth and allowing them to continue pursuing it. Tolerance is * not * accepting said view as truth.

      Ask any Buddhist if they think the Christian tenet regarding faith in Christ's atoning work is true. Unless they are trying to skirt the issue, they * must * find that position false. So, can I sneer at the Buddhists for their arrogance in thinking * their * way is correct?

      Look, either one of these ways is right, or none are right. In the end, if God lets everyone in with a wink and a nod, then following * any * religion would be a waste.

      September 13, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
    • Kate


      You're obviously deranged in expecting to get food of any description from MacDonalds ...

      Just munchin'

      September 13, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  16. Tod

    It's always fun to see the contortions that result from human decency overlapping with magical thinking.

    Too bad it happens so rarely.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:30 am |
  17. Jeff

    FWIW, as a Christian, I view Deuteronomy as Christian Scripture, and I believe the vast majority of Christians share my view. The Quran and the Bible assert fundamentally different things about the person of Jesus Christ, and they cannot both be truth. Jesus says in John 14:6, "No one comes to the father except through me", and also, "I and the Father are one." In Romans, Paul says, "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." I am aware that those may be offensive statements to many. Jesus himself says, "you will be hated by all for my name's sake." Indeed, Christians all over the world are martyred for their beliefs.

    Personally, I would never burn a Quran, as I don't see this as an effective means of sharing Christ with another. However, neither would I incorporate readings of the Quran into a worship service at the church I attend. I say all of this respectfully and without intention of malice.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:29 am |
    • johnnyhouse

      If you were stranded in the cold and had a Bible and a Koran which would you choose to burn to save your life? Or would you choose neither?

      September 13, 2010 at 11:35 am |
    • Jeff

      Good one, Johnny! 🙂 I should have said "as a public demonstration". To answer your question, if burning the books would save lives, I would probably tear out a few pages like Psalm 23, John 1, Isaiah 52-53, and Romans 8 and commit the rest to the fire, for "the grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever."

      September 13, 2010 at 11:43 am |
    • John

      I'd burn both, and a US flag, and a crucifex, and the Upanishads, and any other holy book or sacred symbols.

      The symbol is meaningless. By many religious standards, worshiping the symbol is idolatry. To me, it just demonstrates the problem of allowing the symbol to override the underlying meaning. What matters more, the flag, or the principles and ideals of our country? A crucifix, or Christ's sacrifice? A Quran, or Allah sending the angel Gabriel to tell the prophet to write those words?

      September 13, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  18. Wise Old Owl

    To ALL who have fallen to the falsehood of any religion and the "hot air the spews from it". GET A GRIP! There is no "higher power" that will "save you". Empty promises. What scientific proof is there of a Godly exsistance. When you die it gets real dark and then the worms eat you- the end. Now if we had "better governments the actually did good things for "the people" no matter what country, somehow get the world population to hate lesss and care more for each other, mankind might have a chance. Until then we are doomed to extinction. Burn it all Ronald.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:27 am |
  19. johnnyhouse

    The thing that really gets you to thinking is why, all at once all these preachers all over the country, agree with the Muslims? What are they afraid of? Can't be death because they are promised everlasting life. Could it be something monetary/

    September 13, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  20. Rooster

    If I wanted to take diversity training I'd go to the park, sit in a circle with a bunch of hippies and sing Kumbaya. It's time for these 7th century goat herders to go away and do whatever it is they do...just close your doors so you don't irritate Americans. Their patience is wearing thin!

    September 13, 2010 at 11:25 am |
    • aces and eights

      I wonder how many "holy men" in Iran quote the Bible to their flock? Theu would chop off their heads and feed them to the buzzards!!!

      September 13, 2010 at 11:34 am |
    • CowGoesMoo

      I know, right? I hate it when Christians try to convert people...

      September 13, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
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