Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Taliban Are Unlikely To Reform: Afghan Women's Greatest Fears May Realise even under Taliban 2.0

 Taliban From 1996-2001 until Now: With the RAWA Study, One Might Smell Hypocrisy about Taliban Leaders’ Recent Assurances to Defend Women's Rights

Main Points

1.  Taliban promised that the rights of women would be protected under the framework of "Sharia", but they have not provided any additional details.

2.  From 1996 to 2001, repression was a component of the Taliban's reign, as they imposed several restrictions on women.

3.  The Revolutionary Association of Afghan Women (RAWA) published an “abbreviated” list of 29 restrictions imposed on women and 11 restrictions imposed on all Afghans between 1996 and 2001.

4.   The four schools of Islamic law disagree on the subject of Hijab and Niqab.

5. The only point on which the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence disagreed was whether a woman's hands and face should be covered or left exposed.

6.  Taliban are unlikely to reform and the greatest fears of women in Afghan may come true.


By New Age Islam Staff Writer

31 August 2021


Daily life in Kabul in 1988, one year before civil war broke out. Patrick Robert/Sygma via Getty Images


The Taliban controlled almost three-quarters of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, enforcing a harsh interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law. The Taliban arose as one of the most powerful forces in the Afghan Civil War in 1994, consisting primarily of students (Talib) from Pashtun districts of eastern and southern Afghanistan and had fought in the Soviet-Afghan War. The movement extended throughout most of Afghanistan under Mohammed Omar's leadership. In 1996, the Taliban formed the dictatorial Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, and Kandahar became the new Afghan capital. At its peak, only three countries, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates recognised the Taliban's authority. After being ousted from power in 2001, the Taliban reorganised as an insurgent force to fight the US-backed Karzai administration and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan's war. As a result of the war, thousands of civilians were killed, and millions were displaced. After two decades of fighting, the Taliban have raced to victory in Afghanistan. The group took Kabul on August 15, 2021, capping an extremely quick push across the country. All of this occurred as a result of the US-Taliban peace agreement, in which Taliban leaders have sworn to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorists posing a threat to the West. However, concerns have already been expressed about how the group plans to govern the country, as well as the implications of their rule for women, human rights, and political liberties.

Although the Taliban clearly promised an amnesty shortly after reclaiming control in Afghanistan and stated that women and girls would be permitted to attend school and even work within the framework of "Sharia", they have not provided any additional details. At a news conference, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that women will have rights to education, health care, and jobs and that they will be "happy" under the “Sharia Law”. He added saying “The Taliban is dedicated to ensuring women's rights based on Islam. Women can work in the health sector and other fields where they are required. There will be no discrimination against women”. Suhail Shaheen, another Taliban spokesman, says the group will respect women's and minorities' rights "as per Afghan customs and Islamic values."

Concerns are being raised about how the Taliban would interpret Islamic teachings this time about women’s rights. The last time they were in power from 1996 to 2001, repression was a component of the Taliban's reign. They moved quickly to impose several restrictions on women. Women were unable to attend school, have employment, or leave their houses without the presence of a male relative. Those who disobeyed the Taliban's orders and their interpretation of Islam were subjected to floggings or beatings, which were often cruel and against Islam, according to several other interpretations of Islam.

The Revolutionary Association of Afghan Women (RAWA) published an “abbreviated” list of 29 restrictions imposed on women and 11 restrictions imposed on all Afghans between 1996 and 2001, when the Taliban ruled. After two decades, the Taliban leaders are reported to have said that they would respect women’s rights as per Islamic values and the questions are to be raised about what are the Islamic values they are referring to in their interviews. Are the “Islamic values” of 2021 are going to be different from those of 1996-2001? Since in Islamic Jurisprudence, there is somewhat flexibility and the derivative rules [furu’i masail] might be changed to be adjustable with the need of the time, can we expect so from the Taliban? Another concern is if they will build a new jurisprudence to be known as Talibani jurisprudence, as there are various types of Islamic jurisprudence in the traditional interpretation of Islam; Hanafi, Shafii, Maliki, Hanbali, and Jafari – with each having a different interpretation in the derivative rules of Islam.

For example, on the subject of Hijab and Niqab, the only point on which Muslim jurists of the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence disagreed was whether a woman's hands and face should be covered or left exposed. The four schools of Islamic law disagree on this point. Most Maliki and Hanafi jurists believed that a woman's complete body ought to be covered, except for her face and hands. The Hanbali and Shafii jurisprudence, the two strictest of the four schools, required Muslim women to cover their entire bodies, including their face and hands. As for the Taliban’s Hijab Law, it is unclear at this time, despite Talibani spokespersons recently agreeing to allow women to work in offices, whether there would be a concession in the law of Hijab or if the strictest version of Hijab will be made mandatory for women. Concerns regarding women's rights arise when we consider the Taliban's past, which initially emerged in the public arena twenty years ago as the most radical organisation denying women their rights.

Taliban restrictions and mistreatment of women during its reign from 1996 to 2001, according to RAWA’s report, include the:

1- Complete ban on women's work outside the home, which also applies to female teachers, engineers, and most professionals. Only a few female doctors and nurses are allowed to work in some hospitals in Kabul.

2- Complete ban on women's activity outside the home unless accompanied by a mahram (close male relative such as a father, brother, or husband).

3- Ban on women dealing with male shopkeepers.

4- Ban on women being treated by male doctors.

5- Ban on women studying at schools, universities, or any other educational institution. (Taliban have converted girls' schools into religious seminaries.)

6- Requirement that women wear a long veil (Burqa), which covers them from head to toe.

7- Whipping, beating, and verbal abuse of women not clothed in accordance with Taliban rules, or of women unaccompanied by a mahram.

8- Whipping of women in public for having non-covered ankles.

9- Public stoning of women accused of having sex outside marriage. (A number of lovers are stoned to death under this rule).

10- Ban on the use of cosmetics. (Many women with painted nails have had fingers cut off).

11- Ban on women talking or shaking hands with non-mahram males.

12- Ban on women laughing loudly. (No stranger should hear a woman's voice).

13- Ban on women wearing high heel shoes, which would produce sound while walking. (A man must not hear a woman's footsteps.)

14- Ban on women riding in a taxi without a mahram.

15- Ban on women's presence in radio, television, or public gatherings of any kind.

16- Ban on women playing sports or entering a sports center or club.

17- Ban on women riding bicycles or motorcycles, even with their mahrams.

18- Ban on women wearing brightly coloured clothes. In Taliban terms, these are "sexually attracting colours."

19- Ban on women gathering for festive occasions such as the Eids, or for any recreational purpose.

20- Ban on women washing clothes next to rivers or in a public place.

21- Modification of all place names including the word "women." For example, "women's garden" has been renamed "spring garden".

22- Ban on women appearing on the balconies of their apartments or houses.

23- Compulsory painting of all windows, so women can’t be seen from outside their homes.

24- Ban on male tailors taking women's measurements or sewing women's clothes.

25- Ban on female public baths.

26- Ban on males and females travelling on the same bus. Public buses have now been designated "males only" (or "females only").

27- Ban on flared (wide) pant-legs, even under a burqa.

28- Ban on the photographing or filming of women.

29- Ban on women's pictures printed in newspapers and books, or hung on the walls of houses and shops.”

It further says, “Apart from the above restrictions on women, the Taliban has:

- Banned listening to music, not only for women but men as well.

- Banned the watching of movies, television, and videos, for everyone.

- Banned celebrating the traditional New Year (Nowroz) on March 21. The Taliban has proclaimed the holiday un-Islamic.

- Disavowed Labour Day (May 1st) because it is deemed a "communist" holiday.

- Ordered that all people with non-Islamic names change them to Islamic ones.

- Forced haircuts upon Afghan youth.

- Ordered that men wear Islamic clothes and a cap.

- Ordered that men not shave or trim their beards, which should grow long enough to protrude from a fist clasped at the point of the chin.

- Ordered that all people attend prayers in mosques five times daily.

- Banned the keeping of pigeons and playing with the birds, describing it as un-Islamic. The violators will be imprisoned and the birds shall be killed. The kite flying has also been stopped.

- Ordered all onlookers, while encouraging the sportsmen, to chant Allah-o-Akbar (God is great) and refrain from clapping.

- Ban on certain games including kite flying which is "un-Islamic" according to Taliban.

- Anyone who carries objectionable literature will be executed.

- Anyone who converts from Islam to any other religion will be executed.

- All boy students must wear turbans. They say "No turban, no education".

- Non-Muslim minorities must distinct badge or stitch a yellow cloth onto their dress to be differentiated from the majority Muslim population. Just like what did Nazis with Jews.

- Banned the use of the internet by both ordinary Afghans and foreigners.

And so on...”

Rawa further says that The Special Rapporteur's attention has been called to the Ordinance on the Women's Veil, which has allegedly been issued by a nine-member professional committee of the High Court of the Islamic State of Afghanistan and which reads as follows:

"A denier of the veil is an infidel and an unveiled woman is lewd".

"Conditions of wearing a veil:

1. The veil must cover the whole body.

2. Women's clothes must not be thin.

3. Women's clothes must not be decorated and colourful.

4. Women's clothes must not be narrow and tight to prevent the seditious limbs from being noticed. The veil must not be thin.

5. Women must not perfume themselves. If a perfumed woman passes by a crowd of men, she is considered to be adulterous.

6. Women's clothes must not resemble men's clothes.

"In addition,

1. They must not perfume themselves.

2. They must not wear adorning clothes.

3. They must not wear thin clothes.

4. They must not wear narrow and tight clothes.

5. They must cover their entire bodies.

6. Their clothes must not resemble men's clothes.

7. Muslim women's clothes must not resemble non-Muslim women's clothes.

8. Their foot ornaments must not produce sound.

9. They must not wear sound-producing garments.

10. They must not walk in the middle of the streets.

11. They must not go out of their houses without their husband's permission.

12. They must not talk to strange men.

13. If it is necessary to talk, they must talk in a low voice and without laughter.

14. They must not look at strangers.

15. They must not mix with strangers."

Source: http://www.rawa.org/rules.htm

After considering the findings of the RAWA survey as well as the recent vows of Taliban spokespersons to protect women's rights, one would infer that the Taliban are unlikely to reform and that Afghan women's worst fears may come true. 

URL:   https://www.newageislam.com/islam-women-feminism/taliban-afghan-women-reform/d/125299

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Modern Education, Taliban and the Muslim World


By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

31 August 2021

Muslims Have Always Been Uncomfortable With Modern Education; The Taliban Is Just An Extreme Example Of This Fallacious Rationality

Main Points:

•        Taliban’s interim higher education minister Abdul Baqi Haqqani stated that co-education and anti-Islamic aspects will not be part of the new Afghan curriculum.

•        Men will not be allowed to teach women students which will effectively means that they will be forced out of schools and colleges.

•        Sadly, this ideological opposition to modern education is not just limited to the Taliban but is shared widely across the Islamic world.


The Taliban 2.0 is trying hard to present a moderate, more acceptable face to the world. Desperate for international support, it initially made reconciliatory noises about the education of women. But then the recent statements and actions of some of its leaders can only mean that it will be very difficult to change what has been hardwired into them. The Taliban are the products of the Deobandi madrasas who have traditionally sought to interpret Islamic teaching in very orthodox ways. The foundational philosophy with which the Deoband was established in the Indian subcontinent is premised on the rejection of what they call as the western knowledge system.

Like everything else in Islam, this rationality too was a product of diagnosing why Muslims had lost power to the British after being ‘rulers’ for many centuries. They had tried everything else: from inviting Abdali to invade India and finally rising against the British in 1857. It was only after the failure of such attempts that Deoband was established to resist the British hegemony in terms of ideas and intellect.


Daily life in Kabul in 1988, one year before civil war broke out. Patrick Robert/Sygma via Getty Images


The political inspiration for the establishment of Deoband had come from a powerful idea present in Shah Waliullah’s writings. He differentiated between Zahiri (external) and Batini (internal) Khilafa (caliphate/zone of power) and argued that even through the Zahiri caliphate cannot be enforced as Muslims had lost political power, the Ulama can become champions of the inner caliphate through teaching and education. So, although outwardly colonized by the British, the inner selves of Muslims would always be answerable to Islam, as interpreted by Deoband. The Madrasa therefore, is more than an educational institution; it is fundamentally a political institution, designed to resist western hegemony.

The Taliban are true to their teaching when its interim higher education minister, Abdul Baqi Haqqani, stated that anything which is antithetical to Islamic teachings will not be part of the Afghan curriculum. He criticized the present educational system as drawn by the ‘international community’ (read western powers) and as failing to ‘adhere to Islamic principles’. Thereafter, he said, ‘every item against Islam in the educational system will be removed’. This Islamic curriculum will be governed by the sharia and ‘men and women will not be allowed to mix’.

Now, it is well within the right of any country to devise its own educational curriculum which should reflect the national concerns and commitments. However, this should not mean that this exercise should hamper the development of any section of the population. The Taliban, by making it clear that they will be guided by the sharia, have positively endangered the educational future of its women. Consider the statement from the Taliban that ‘men will not be allowed to teach women’ as it will violate the sharia laws. This is only possible when there are sufficient numbers of women teachers at all levels of education which is simply not the case. The only effect of this policy will be to drive women out from education, thus negating whatever little gains they have made.

This should not surprise us because they are just being true to their own philosophy. After all, Deoband never thought that education of women was necessary and some of the leading Deobandis were positively hostile to such an idea. Indian Muslims, while criticizing the Taliban, singularly fail to criticize the Deoband for similar views.

Again, it was one of Deoband’s founders, Qasim Nanotvi, who said that there was no merit in learning the western sciences unless it is done for the sole purpose of refuting it. The Taliban’s insistence that nothing in the educational system should be against Islam is simply reiteration of this idea. Unfortunately, the Taliban are not the only group to have such views. In fact, not only are such views widely shared by Muslim groups, there hasn’t even been a serious challenge to such ideas. Consider the Boko Haram for example. Millions are members of this movement which is built around a single idea: the rejection of western education.

If we think that these are extreme examples, then let us see the so called mainstream Muslim groups. In India, one might argue that Deobandis are ‘traditionalists’ and therefore are uncomfortable with modern western education. But we should not forget that the founder of Jamat e Islami, Maududi, held similar views and even dubbed institutions like the MAO College as ‘slaughterhouses of the Muslim mind’. Today, they run a network of schools which imparts modern education but the emphasis is still on learning in an ‘Islamic way’. What might this Islamic way of learning entail? Much like the Taliban, co-education is shunned and girls are told to cover up from a very young age. A student graduating from such a school might know about the theory of evolution, but then would not believe it because the ‘Islamic way of learning’ would tell him/her that it is Allah who created all living beings for the express purpose that they worship him. Needless to say, such schools will produce technicians like engineers and doctors but will hardly give any encouragement to become fundamental researchers or scientists.

It is this limiting of the Muslim mind because of hegemonic Islam which explains why across the Muslim world, we hardly have any institute which is dedicated to cutting edge fundamental scientific research, either in the pure sciences or social sciences. The likes of Pervez Hoodbhoy have argued that this amounts to the perversion of not just science but also of Muslim mind, who at one point were leaders of the scientific world.

The Taliban is but a weirder example of what majority of the Muslim world believes and adheres to. I simply fail to understand how one can criticize the Taliban without pointing out that the same malaise has gripped the wider Islamic world. What stops us from pointing out that when it comes to modern education, there is not much of a difference between the Taliban and our next door Deobandi.

There is a fundamental problem in understanding any science as Islamic or western. Take for example the numeral zero. The development and usage of this concept owes much to Indians but also to the Arabs and the Europeans. How should we then classify the number zero: Indian, Arabic or European? Muslims who pride themselves on the ‘golden age of Islam’ forget that they were in fact extending the knowledge system bequeathed to the world by the Greeks. 

The wider world has already understood that knowledge is a pool which can benefit all of humanity. I have never heard a Jain or a Jew argue that they should have an educational system which should be exclusively their own. Why is it that only Muslims insist that they should have their own knowledge system?


Arshad Alam is a columnist with NewAgeIslam.com

URL:    https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-society/education-taliban-muslim/d/125298

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Monday, August 30, 2021

Beauties of Islam - Defaced by the Terrorists and Militants


By Arman Neyazi, New Age Islam

30 August 2021

The Essence of Islamic Beauty Must Be Preserved To Maintain Peace and Tranquillity In The World

Main Points:

1.    Islam cannot be a religion of terrorists and militants or hypocrites.

2.    Allah created man embedded in the beauty of wisdom, intellect, love, compassion, inclusivity and the power to think and take decisions.

3.    It is the beauty of Islam that it continued to send prophets to every region and community and continued the process untill it was completed with Prophet Muhammad's Deen. (Peace be upon him)

4.    Allah sent His messengers in a quest to make men understand and accept His Oneness (توحید) and His signs so that they may understand.



Photo courtesy/ Twitter, Muslim Pro @MuslimPro


Islam means ’peace. Peace is a beautiful word. Peace is embedded with all that is beautiful. Islam is a religion that advocates religious peace and inclusivity on the earth. The religion that says: ‘…whoever slays a soul, it is as though he slew all men; and whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept alive all men  - (Al-Ma’idah: 32)’ cannot be a religion of terrorists and militants or hypocrites.

Human beings are the most peaceful and the most beautiful creature of this universe. In all that the Almighty Allah created, He created human beings the best. Allah created them embedded in the beauty of wisdom, intellect, love, compassion, inclusivity and the power to think and take decisions based on their parameters. It is the beauty of Islam that it sent prophets from among us to guide the rest of us on the righteous path. It is the beauty of Islam that it continued to send prophets to every region and community and kept the process continued till it was completed with Prophet Muhammad Pbuh's Deen.

The human being takes birth will innocence and purity of heart and beauty of wisdom. Can anyone imagine anything more peaceful and beautiful than a newly born baby? We have to notice the innocent smiles and beauty of their thoughts to understand the beauty of the Creator’s trait with which we all are born.

 Allah the Most Gracious and the Most Benevolent is in the peaceful beauty of the children looking at the wonders of the world, silently praising the Almighty Creator for His gift of peace and tranquillity and beauty bestowed upon the human being.

Looking at the world we witness beauty in everything that we see. The beautiful blue sky is embedded with beautiful twinkling stars and a big bright moon sprinkling parts of the world with milky white light having the power of spiritual enlightenment. Moonlit nights fill the hearts of the poets, Sufis and Saints with the essence of heavenly beauty. Looking around the world as far as we could we find peace, be it the fields, the mountains, the fountains or the birds and animals. Allah the Most Compassionate created the universe with the traits of peace, love and compassion. He arranged the days and nights, the nature and environment and all the living beings in a manner that are made for each other if the human being maintains peace and tranquillity among all the creations of Allah. The human being must maintain peace as He has bestowed upon them all that is humane and beautiful. Allah says in the Holy Quran:

 “He Who has made everything which He has created most good (beautiful: al-Husn): He began the creation of man with (nothing more than) clay” - (As-Sajdah: 7)

And say, "[All] praise is [due] to Allah. He will show you His signs, and you will recognize them. And your Lord is not unaware of what you do."  (An-Naml: 93)

It is one of the beauties of Islam that Allah the Almighty never forced religion on His creation and said in the Holy Quran, ‘For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.’ And contrary to this to make people understand the righteous path He sent more or less 1, 2400 prophets as His messengers in a quest to make men understand and accept His Oneness (توحید) and His signs so that they may understand.

Quranic Verses Describing the Beauty of Islam:

In matters of faith, He has laid down for you [people] the same commandment that He gave Noah, which We have revealed to you [Muhammad] and which We enjoined on Abraham and Moses and Jesus: 'Uphold the faith and do not divide into factions within it'-... —Quran: 13

Allah the Most Compassionate asks the human beings: ‘Could the reward of Beneficence be anything other than beneficence?’ - (Ar-Rahman: 60)

The beauty of the above-mentioned verse from the Holy Quran is that it says Allah has laid down for His people the same commandments that He laid down for Prophet Nuh, Abraham, Moses and Jesus along with the Holy Prophet Muhammad Pbuh. The above-mentioned verse establishes man being ‘one of the finest creations of Allah’.

…“And speak of goodness to people.”… (Al-Baqarah - 83)

Indeed We already created man in the fairest stature; - (At-Tin - 4)

“Though their beauty pleases you.” (33: 52)

No indeed, (but) you prefer the present life, (Literally: the lowly life, i.e., the life of this world). - (Al-A'la -17)

Muslims Who Betrayed Their Religion

We all human beings are born embedded with the virtues of everything good created by Allah.

Somehow, some among us harnessed the evil of supremacism and sectarianism and have defaced the values of our spiritual essence. The ugliness that has crept into our thoughts and behaviour is needed to be defeated to recreate the peace and beauty of Islam.

Somewhere in between, we, the human being lost our spiritual essence and fell prey to the devilish designs of the devil (Shaitan).

We the human being are born alike. No one among us is good or bad by birth. Allah has created us and Allah has created the evils (Shaitan) as well so that we use our wisdom and keep ourselves safe from their evil designs. But the evil forces defeat the inborn virtues of some among us and govern their ego that ultimately instigate others to tread the wrong path. Allah, the Most High says in the Holy Quran:

Let there be no alteration in the creation of God. That is the upright religion; however, most people realize it not” (Ar-Rum: 30)

As the above mentioned Ayat says, ‘most people realize it not’, we are surrounded by such people who are not realising their mistake and are unknowingly killing their brethren, injecting brutalities on women and children and are unjustly making the Muslims their slaves.

Consider the following beautiful verse of the Holy Quran that makes it clear that there is no compulsion in religion hence any struggle in the name of establishing the rule of Islam is unfound and against the essence of Islam.

 “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And God heareth and knoweth all things.” [Al-Qur’an 2:256]

Door to Forgiveness Are Open

It is the beauty of Islam that He never closes the door to ‘forgiveness’ rather has continuously revealed verses in all His Books mentioning how Allah forgives the seekers of forgiveness. All those who have in the name of establishing Islamic State have betrayed with their religion and their brethren need not be depressed as ‘depression is a form of Kufr’, as the doors to forgiveness are open. Consider the following Ayat and Ahadees on forgiveness.

Quranic Verses Describing the Beauty of Repentance

And O ye Believers! Turn ye all together towards God, that ye may attain Bliss. — (Al-Noor: 31)

O ye who believe! Turn to God with sincere repentance, in the hope that your Lord will remove from you your ills and admit you to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow ... —(Al-Tahrim: 66)

Surely God loves those who turn much (to Him), and He loves those who purify themselves. —(Al-Baqara:  222)

God accept the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent soon afterwards; to them will God turn in mercy: For God is full of knowledge and wisdom. Of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil, until death faces one of them, and he says, "Now have I repented indeed;" nor of those who die rejecting Faith: for them have We prepared a punishment most grievous. — (An-Nisa: 17–18)

Prophetic Traditions on Repentance

Allah's Apostle said, "Every son of Adam sins, the best of the sinners are those who repent." —Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Hadith no. 2499

In Sahih al-Bukhari, Anas ibn Malik narrates: Allah's Apostle said, "Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than anyone of you is pleased with finding his camel which he had lost in the desert." —Sahih al-Bukhari, 8:75:321

Famous historian De Lacy O’Leary wrote about Islam being a religion of peace and beauty in the following words:

“History makes it clear, however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims, sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.”

Those among us who keep themselves engaged in Zikr (remembrances) keep safe and those who fall prey to worldly attractions get misguided. Remember, ‘Let there be no compulsion in religion’ and maintain the sanctity of Islam, the religion of peace and beauty. The essence of Islamic beauty has to be preserved to maintain peace and tranquillity in the world.

And Allah Knows the Best.


Arman Neyazi is a columnist with NewAgeIslam.com.


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