As reported previously, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff represented BPE yesterday at the “Confronting Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims in Public Discourse” conference in Vienna. Elisabeth presented a brief paper during the meeting, which was posted here last night.
She submitted a longer version of the same paper to the conference organizers. It contained more detailed arguments, an appendix citing Islamic law, and footnotes for sources. It has been accepted, and was registered by the OSCE. An HTML version of the paper is below.
Buergerbewegung Pax Europa
In cooperation with and endorsed by
International Civil Liberties Alliance,
Mission Europa, Wiener Akademikerbund
Today’s meeting is ostensibly concerned with confronting intolerance and discrimination against Muslims in public discourse. Actually, however, it focuses on “Islamophobia”, a term invented by the Muslim Brotherhood in the early 1990’s. According to the David Horowitz Freedom Center, “it has become ‘a matter of extreme priority’ for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.” It appears that the UK-based Runnymede Trust in 1996 coined the “accepted” definition, which includes any and all of the following components:
|1.||Islam seen as a single monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to new realities.|
|2.||Islam seen as separate and other:|
|(a)||not having any aims or values in common with other cultures,|
|(b)||not affected by them, and|
|(c)||not influencing them.|
|3.||Islam seen as inferior to the West — barbaric, irrational, primitive, sexist.|
|4.||Islam seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism, engaged in ‘a clash of civilizations’.|
|5.||Islam seen as a political ideology, used for political or military advantage.|
|6.||Criticisms made by Islam of ‘the West’ rejected out of hand.|
|7.||Hostility towards Islam used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society.|
|8.||Anti-Muslim hostility accepted as natural and ‘normal’.|
Runneymede has been in a close relationship with the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation for some time. Pax Europa and its affiliations note with grave concern that this definition — or any definition — of Islamophobia cannot and does not address the underlying problems with Islam and its teachings.
For example, Pax Europa believes that Islam denies equal rights to men and women. According to the above definition, simply raising this point has been considered Islamophobia. Pax Europa believes that for many, there is a political ideology component to Islam. Since its ideology informs the doctrine of political organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood, it is indeed a political ideology. Pax Europa is accused of Islamophobia for speaking to this reality, even when it can demonstrate a factual basis for the statements it makes in this regard.
Pax Europa is of the opinion that criticism of a religion, including Islam, must remain legitimate. This is echoed by the OSCE: “Criticisms of religious practices (just religious practices, not religions themselves?; BPE) are legitimate speech.” We believe, however, that while Muslims are not a monolithic group, for those Muslims who accept Islam as an ideology, there are elements of Islamic law that are monolithic, in that all Muslims worldwide, whether they live in Europe, Asia, Africa, or America, consider the Koran and the Hadith (authentic sayings of Mohammed) as the basis of their legal system. Certainly groups like the Muslim Brotherhood profess this! How are groups like Pax Europa to discuss such issues if not allowed to speak to the language and doctrines that define them?
We further note that the distinction between “acceptable” and “unacceptable” speech is one of grave concern. We would like to recall the OSCE commitments (Copenhagen 1990) which state with respect to freedom of expression:
The participating States reaffirm that
9.1) – everyone will have the right to freedom of expression including the right to communication. This right will include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. The exercise of this right may be subject only to such restrictions as are prescribed by law and are consistent with international standards.
The participating States express their commitment to
10.1) – respect the right of everyone, individually or in association with others, to seek, receive and impart freely views and information on human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the rights to disseminate and publish such views and information;
When we review the OSCE Commitments, their direct nexus is to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Article 19 UDHR. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Pax Europa is of the opinion that the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) require public expression to conform to Shariah law. This includes perceived “anti-Muslim discourse” as well as cases of “discrimination”, whether intentional or unintentional. This is not speculation. In December 2005, at the Third Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Summit Conference, the OIC implemented a ten-year plan “to meet the challenges facing the Muslim Ummah”. Article 6 of the OIC Charter states:
The Islamic Summit is composed of Kings and Heads of State and Government of Member States and is the supreme authority of the Organisation. It convenes once every three years to deliberate, take policy decisions and provide guidance on all issues pertaining to the realization of the objectives and consider other issues of concern to the Member States and the Ummah.
Section 1 of the ten-year program covers “Intellectual and Political Issues”, and under category VII, “Combating Islamophobia“, we read this:
2. Emphasize the responsibility of the international community, including all governments, to ensure respect for all religions and combat their defamation. [emphasis added] 3. Affirm the need to counter Islamophobia, through the establishment of an observatory at the OIC General Secretariat to monitor all forms of Islamophobia, issue an annual report thereon, and ensure cooperation with the relevant Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in order to counter Islamophobia. [emphasis added]
If the OIC’s Ten Year Plan really does come from a “Summit,” and it does, it means that the plan reflects the policy objectives and state actions of non-EU state actors against citizens of EU Member States. Further, as Article 6 of the OIC Charter makes clear, the “Combating Islamophobia” initiative has been undertaken as an objective of OIC Member States and the Ummah. Neither the European Union nor any of its Member States belong to that Ummah. Hence, not only are the OSCE Commitments and Article 19 of the UDHR being compromised, but it appears that it is happening on behalf on foreign state actors in concert through the OIC. This should not come as a surprise. From the Secretary General of the OIC himself, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, on behalf of all 57 OIC Member States:
In confronting the Danish cartoons and the Dutch film “Fitna”, we sent a clear message to the West regarding the red lines that should not be crossed. As we speak, the official West and its public opinion are all now well-aware of the sensitivities of these issues. They have also started to look seriously into the question of freedom of expression from the perspective of its inherent responsibility, which should not be overlooked.  [emphasis added]
Of course the “we” are the leaders of non-European Member States. The clear message is a threat to clamp down on the free speech rights of EU citizens or a “red line” will be crossed! What “red line”? The very language the OSCE uses when discussing “Islamophobia” is in line with OIC language on the topic. Has the OSCE changed its position on the protection of human rights so that they can be abridged when state actors from non-EU jurisdictions make such demands, couched in language of hate speech? More importantly, trying to steer public discourse is at odds with the core concept of freedom of expression. Attempting to resolve conflicts in society by controlling public discourse is generally futile , as evidenced in Eastern Europe just a few decades ago, and is fundamentally at odds with the objectives of the OSCE.
Buergerbewegung Pax Europa and its affiliates strongly discourage pursuing this strategy further.
The OIC has implemented a ten year plan which began at a summit in December, 2005. Fifty-seven heads of state represented the Muslim member states of the OIC at this summit. Their mission was to
Endeavor to have the United Nations adopt an international resolution to counter Islamophobia and call upon all states to enact laws to counter it including deterrent punishment.
When Western officials employ a narrative that restricts the terms which may be used when discussing the behavior of Islamic extremists, they are (perhaps unintentionally) implementing an OIC imperative which aims to create laws combating “Islamophobia”.
According to “Concluding Observations from the Chair” at the OIC International Conference on “Terrorism: Dimensions, Threats and Countermeasures”, which took place in Tunis in November 2007:
As Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, OIC Secretary General noted, there is a growing need to be more concerned with tackling “defamatory campaigns that seek to incite a particular civilization against another, thereby inflaming violence, hatred and extremism, and ultimately leading to terrorism”.
“As reiterated by the OIC, the international community must counter campaigns of calumny against Islam and Muslims to prevent the spread of Islamophobia which attempts to cause a rift between civilizations, a situation that has become a new form of racial discrimination.”
The OIC thus intends to redefine “racial discrimination”. Furthermore, according to the OIC, defamation “seeks to incite a particular civilization against another” — that is, speaking out is considered “incitement”, so that silence is being demanded under threat of violence. Also, defamation “ultimately lead[s] to terrorism”. That is: a citizen who stands up for his own viewpoint can be considered to have incited terrorism against himself and his culture.
This shifts responsibility for acts of violence from the perpetrator to the victim.
The word “calumny” used in the above extract must be understood as it is defined in Islamic law. The insistence that “the international community must counter campaigns of calumny against Islam and Muslims” constitutes a state-sponsored policy to demand that non-Muslim jurisdictions implement Islamic legal doctrine on “slander” (see below).
Consider the final communiqué of the Third Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Summit Conference in 2005. Once again, since this was a summit, it consisted of the heads of state for the OIC. The excerpt below is from Section II, “In the Political Field”:
The Conference underlined the need to collectively endeavor to reflect the noble Islamic values, counter Islamophobia, defamation of Islam and its values and desecration of Islamic holy sites, and to effectively coordinate with States as well as regional and international institutions and organizations to urge them to criminalize this phenomenon as a form of racism. [emphasis added]
This prompts a series of questions:
|1.||What is “regional”? Does that mean the European Union?|
|2.||What is “international”? Does that mean the United Nations?|
|3.||The OIC urges the criminalization of “defamatory” speech as “racism”, but in what jurisdictions?|
|4.||And what is the relation between “defamation” and “racism”?|
A summary document from the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in Bamako, Republic of Mali, was published in June, 2001. Section 10 of this document refers to the Report of the Secretary General on the Defamation of Islam:
Defamation of religions
5. The World Conference considers that the defamation of an individual’s religion provides the basis of, legitimises and inevitably leads to the manifestation of racism, including in their structural forms, such as Islamophobia against the adherents of that religion. Furthermore, the defamation of religions, including its denial is a primary source of both the persistence and mutation of racism. UN organs and specialized agencies should therefore strengthen their collective efforts together with the relevant intergovernmental organizations, such as the OIC, to implement programmes and undertake initiatives to combat the defamation of religions and manifestations of this in any form. [emphasis added]
In other words, “defamation” is equivalent to racism, and the “defamation of religions” means “Islamophobia”.
Now we must consider what the OIC mean by “racism”. In the same document from 2001, under the subhead “Contemporary Forms of Racism”, Sections 3 and 4 are particularly relevant to this question. Many documents about “racism” from sources other than the OIC seem to resonate with Section 4 but not with Section 3. Yet Section 4 cannot be understood without first understanding Section 3:
3. Contemporary forms of racism are based on discrimination and disparagement on a cultural, rather than biological basis. In this content, the increasing trend of Islamophobia, as a distinct form of xenophobia in non-Muslim societies is very alarming.
Note that “racism” as defined here by the OIC falls under the category “Contemporary Forms of Racism”. Without having read that first, one might not draw the same conclusions about what is said in Section 4:
4. The Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Commission on Human Rights along with its subsidiary bodies and mechanisms, have an important guiding role in the elimination of the contemporary forms of racism. …
Based on the definition in Section 3, when Section 4 refers to “contemporary forms of racism”, it has nothing to do with biology or race. Section 4 continues:
…All governments should cooperate fully with the Committee and the Special Rapporteur on the Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance with the view to enabling them to fulfill their mandates and to examine the incidents of contemporary forms of racism, more specifically discrimination based on religion, including against Islam and Muslims.
In summary, contemporary forms of racial discrimination are actually discrimination based on religion, especially Islam. Once again, “defamation” is held to be equivalent to racism, and the “defamation of religions” means “Islamophobia”. These are extraterritorial claims: the OIC is calling on non-Muslim nations to pass laws that are specifically designed to implement Islamic law.
As mentioned above, at the Third Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Summit Conference in 2005, the OIC implemented a ten-year plan “to meet the challenges facing the Muslim Ummah”. As an extraordinary summit, it was attended by the heads of state of Muslim countries. There is no political or legal level higher than this in the Islamic world; this summit could be reasonably seen as speaking authoritatively for the entire Ummah, as classically defined in Islamic law.
Section 1 of the ten-year program covers “Intellectual and Political Issues”, and under category VII, “Combating Islamophobia”, we read this:
1. Emphasize the responsibility of the international community, including all governments, to ensure respect for all religions and combat their defamation. [emphasis added]
“All religions” seems inclusive and multicultural, and thus worthy of general support. However, the next item singles out Islam for special attention:
2. Affirm the need to counter Islamophobia, through the establishment of an observatory at the OIC General Secretariat to monitor all forms of Islamophobia, issue an annual report thereon, and ensure cooperation with the relevant Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in order to counter Islamophobia. [emphasis added]
The OIC proposes to monitor the internal jurisprudence of non-Muslim nations to discover whether they are in compliance with its rule.
3. Endeavor to have the United Nations adopt an international resolution to counter Islamophobia, and call upon all States to enact laws to counter it, including deterrent punishments. [emphasis added]
In other words, the OIC requires that the United Nations, the European Union, and the member states of the European Union pass laws criminalizing Islamophobia. This is a direct extraterritorial call to submit to Islamic law, and to implement Shari’ah-based crime and punishment. It is not a call to “respect all religions”, but for other nations to pass laws making “Islamophobia” a punishable crime.
Islamophobia consists of “defamation of religion”, as defined under Islamic law. “Defamation of Islam” is not the same as “defamation” as the word is understood in the Western sense. For the OIC, Islam is the only religion to which “defamation applies, and its focus is solely on Islamophobia. It is demanding that the West implement Shari’ah crime and punishment in violation of the legally- and constitutionally-protected rights to free speech.
For the United Nations, the resolution would nullify the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
‘Umdat al-salik wa ‘uddat al-nasik, or The reliance of the traveller and tools of the worshipper is commonly referred to as Reliance of the Traveller when cited in English.
We cite the Revised Edition (published 1991, revised 1994), subtitled “The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law ‘Umdat al-Salik by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (d. 769/1368) in Arabic with Facing English Text, Commentary, and Appendices”, edited and translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller. The publisher is listed as amana publications in Beltsville, Maryland.
This an authoritative source on Sunni Islamic law, certified as such by Al-Azhar University in Cairo. There is no higher authority on Sunni Islamic doctrine than Al-Azhar; it is the closest equivalent to the Vatican that can be found in Islam. It has also been certified as authoritative by the governments of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.
The OIC’s proposed laws against “defamation of religion” derive from Reliance of the Traveller, Book R. “Holding one’s Tongue”, § 2.0, “Slander (Ghiba),” r2.2: 
Slander and talebearing are two of the ugliest and most frequently met with qualities among men, few people being safe from them. I have begun with them because of the widespread need to warn people of them.
And a little further on in r2.2: 
Slander (ghiba) means to mention anything concerning a person that he would dislike…
Then r2.3: 
As for talebearing… it consists of quoting someone’s words to another in a way that worsens relations between them.
This is obviously not the Western understanding of slander. According to this definition, to slander someone is to say something about him that he would not like.
Continuing with “Evidence of Prohibition”, r2.4: 
The above define slander and talebearing. As for the ruling on them, it is that they are unlawful by consensus…of Muslims.
This means that the legal ruling is absolute. There is no disagreement about it among Muslim scholars.
Quoting the prophet Mohammed for the point of law, r2.6: 
The Prophet… said:
(1) The talebearer will not enter paradise.
This is an indication of the seriousness of the crime.
Next comes: 
(2) Do you know what slander is?” … “It is to mention of your brother that which he would dislike. (3) The Muslim is the brother of the Muslim. He does not betray him, lie to him, or hang back from coming to his aid. All of the Muslim is inviolable to his fellow Muslim: his reputation, his property, his blood.
Therefore, if a non-Muslim says something about Islam that is true, but which Muslims do not want infidels to know, he is still guilty of slander under Islam. This is far different from a Western understanding of slander.
Every rule must have its exceptions, and slander under Islam is no different. There are six reasons for permitting slander, but I will list only one of them, “Permissible Slander,” r2.16: 
Slander, though unlawful, is sometimes permissible for a lawful purpose, …the legitimating factor being that there is some aim countenanced by sacred law that is unattainable by other means.
So if a Muslim cannot advance sacred law except by deceiving someone, he is allowed to deceive that person.
The heart of the matter is here: “Talebearing (Namima)”, § r3.0 and r3.1: 
In fact, talebearing is not limited to that, but rather consists of revealing anything whose disclosure is resented… The reality of talebearing lies in divulging a secret, in revealing something confidential whose disclosure is resented. A person should not speak of anything he notices about people besides that which benefits a Muslim…
This bears no resemblance to a European understanding of what slander or defamation mean. And all Muslims everywhere are legally bound by this rule.
Furthermore, there is r3.1(1): 
Anyone approached with a story who is told, “So and so says such and such about you,” must do six things… (3) hate him for the sake of Allah…
Once again, this is obligatory. All Muslims are required to obey this rule.
The above passages from Islamic law form the basis for “defamation of religion” as understood by Muslim scholars and jurists. Anything that insults the Prophet Mohammed is by definition slanderous and unlawful. It is this definition of slander which the OIC seeks to impose upon non-Muslim nations.
From the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), concerning the Danish Mohammed cartoon crisis:
The angry reaction in the Muslim world… is mainly due to the premeditated and deliberate attack on the revered person of the prophet, whose holy position, message and teachings were maliciously and calculatingly sacrileged by the so called defenders of freedom.
H.E. Prof Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the OIC
Bahrain Tribune Daily, January 29 2006 
From the Supreme Islamic Council (on IslamOnline), also concerning the cartoon crisis:
The SIC condemns in the strongest possible terms the publishing of such offensive cartoons. These caricatures do no good for Muslims, Christians or even atheists, but will only shake that national unity to its foundation. Editors should not take free speech as an excuse to insult a certain religion; otherwise they risk an extremist response from the offended, which carries grave consequences.
Mohammad Hamdan, Head of the Supreme Islamic Council
Arab News, January 13th, 2006 
A theology professor at al-Azhar University in Cairo said:
“Those cartoons are very offensive to every Muslim feeling, and to Islam as a religion. Do you expect Muslims to remain silent or rise and defend their religion?”
Moeti Bavoumi, Theology Professor, al-Azhar University
Arab News, December 9, 2005 
A report on what the Imam of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah said:
He said many people in the past had tried to defame the Prophet: “They were thrown in the dustbin of history and nobody remembers them.”
(Saudi) Sheikh Ali Al-Hudaify
Arab News, January 28, 2006 
The Chairman of the Saudi Foreign Affairs Committee in the Majlis al Shura (Consultative Council):
[The Saudi government] does not accept anything that harms Islam and the Prophet or that destroys the friendly relations that link the Muslim world and the West, under any pretext.
Dr. Bandar al Ayban
Asharq Al-Awsat (London) January 27, 2006 
This language is reasonably clear: it attempts to make defamation of Islam a crime, with “defamation” being defined by Islam. Its aim is to deny non-Muslims the right to talk about Islam. This is not defamation as defined in Western terms. Defamation under Western law still allows for freedom of speech, unless speech is taken to an extreme. But when Muslims accuse a non-Muslim of defamation, they mean that he does not have the right to talk about Islam.
The OIC wants Western governments to enforce its version of defamation within their jurisdiction.
|1.||Article 6, Charter of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference|
|2.||VII “Combating Islamophobia,” Ten-Year Programme of Action to Meet the Challenges Facing the Muslim Ummah in the 21st Century, Third Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Conference, Makkah al Mukarramah — Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 5-6 dhul qa’dah 1426h 7-8 December 2005, at URL: http://www.oic-oci.org/ex-summit/english/10-years-plan.htm.|
|3.||Speech of His Excellency Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, at the Thirty-Fifth Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Kampala — Republic of Uganda, 18-20 June 2008, OIC/CFM-35/2008/SG-SP. Cited hereafter as “Speech of OIC Sec Gen Ihsanoglu.”|
|4.||The Third Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Summit, Makka Almukarama, Organization of the Islamic Conference, 7-8 December 2005, at http://www.oic-oci.org/ex-summit/english/10-years-plan.htm. Cited hereafter as OIC, Third Extraordinary Session — Ten-Year Progamme.|
|5.||OIC, Third Extraordinary Session — 10 Year Plan OIC, Third Extraordinary Session — Ten-Year Progamme.|
|6.||OIC International Conference on Terrorism: Dimensions, Threats and Countermeasures — Concluding Observations from the Chair, 15-17 November 2007, Tunis, at 2, at URL: http://www.oic-oci.org/english/article/terrorism_conference_concl-en.pdf.|
|7.||“Political Field,” Final Communiqué of the Third Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Conference “Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century, Solidarity in Action, Makkah al-Mukarramah, 5-6 Dhul Qa’Adah 1426H (7-8 December 2005), URL: http://www.oic-oci.org/oicnew/english/conf/is/ex-3/fc-exsumm-en.htm.|
|8.||“Defamation of Religions,” Reports of the Secretary General on the Legal Affairs Submitted to the Twenty-Eighth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, Bamako, Republic of Mali, 4-8 Rabi-ul-Thani, 1422H (25-29 June, 2001) at http://www.oic-oci.org/oicnew/english/conf/fm/28/28-ICFM-SG-Rep-en/28-ICFM-LEG-D-en.htm. Cited hereafter as “Twenty-Eighth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, Bamako.”|
|9.||“Contemporary forms of Racism,” Twenty-Eighth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, Bamako.|
|10.||“Contemporary forms of Racism,” Twenty-Eighth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, Bamako.|
|11 .||VII “Combating Islamophobia,” Ten-Year Programme of Action to Meet the Challenges Facing the Muslim Ummah in the 21st Century, Third Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Conference, Makkah al Mukarramah — Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 5-6 dhul qa’dah 1426h 7-8 December 2005, at URL: http://www.oic-oci.org/ex-summit/english/10-years-plan.htm.|
|12.||Keller, Reliance of the Traveller, at § r2.2|
|13.||Keller, Reliance of the Traveller, at § r2.2|
|14.||Keller, Reliance of the Traveller, at § r23|
|15.||Keller, Reliance of the Traveller, at § r2.4|
|16.||Keller, Reliance of the Traveller, at § r2.6|
|17.||Keller, Reliance of the Traveller, at § r2.6|
|18.||Keller, Reliance of the Traveller, at § r2.16|
|19.||Keller, Reliance of the Traveller, at § r3.1|
|20.||Keller, Reliance of the Traveller, at § r3.1|
|21.||“OIC Condemns Publication of Cartoon of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH),” IRNA (Iranian Republic News Agency), Tehran, 31 January 2006, at http://www.workablepeace.org/Cartoons/oic.pdf|
|22.||Ahmad Maher, “Norwegian Muslims Blast Magazine Over Prophet Cartoon,” 11 January 2006, at http://www.islamonline.net /English/News/2006-01/11/article05.shtml|
|23.||Jan M. Olson, “Muslim Reaction to Danish Cartoons of Prophet Muhammad Remind some of Rushdie’s Experience,” Associated Press, 10 December 2005, at http://www.nctimes.com/special_reports/religion/article_362349a2-7bcc-5e01-965c-695f659f6e09.html|
|24.||P.K. Abdul-Ghafour, “Imams Back Call for Danish Boycott in Cartoons Row,” Arab News, 28 January 2006, at http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1§ion=0&article=76941&d=28&m=1&y=2006|
|25.||Turki al-Suheil, “Saudi Arabia Recalls Envoy in Danish Row,” Asharq Alawsat, 27 January 2006, at http://aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=1&id=3571.|
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