Is the Islamic State Islamic?

ISIS Removes Cross. Source: Shumoukh Al-Islam forum, March 16, 2015.

Graeme Wood’s popular article of recent days gave ample evidence of the Islamic character of the Islamic State. Wood interviewed many of the founders of the Islamist movement and allowed their own words to reveal the true nature and motivation of those involved in ISIS. Read more. A key take-away from Wood’s article was a response to President Obama’s recent claims that to associate ISIS with Islam is a lie because “religions do not kill, maim, and enslave people.” Wood’s point was that unless we recognize the religious elements in ISIS ideology, we will be hindered in our ability to halt its advances in the Middle East and beyond.

The following article by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi and Amarnath Amarasingam is a follow-up to Wood and other articles on the Islamic nature of ISIS. It discusses in part the view that although the ideology of ISIS is not “normative” in Islam it is certainly Islamic. A key statement in the article concludes:

Of course it is inaccurate to say that ISIS is Islam en bloc, but to label the movement un-Islamic is to take a normative, and ultimately self-defeating, stance. It is an argument which ignores some very basic evidence regarding the movement and its history, and impedes proper understanding of what they believe and where they are heading.

I have written previously of where ISIS might be found in Bible prophecy and Daniel 11:36-41 is my insertion point. Read more. The success of ISIS we have witnessed of late is quite clearly the type envisioned in Daniel 11:40-43 NASB. In the end, the prophecy takes a turn that seems possible in the modern-day, as threats from the east (Iran) and the north (Turkey??) will alarm him. Daniel 11:44. If Iran is the east and Turkey the north, there is much still yet to develop in the Middle East before certainty can be gained in fulfillment. However, if Daniel 11:36f is the correct insertion point, the initial success of the prophesied end-of-days kingdom, “will come to his end and no one will help him.” Daniel 11:45 NASB.

Jesus come quickly.

American Voices Gone Silent at Al Qaeda

Adam Gadahn  identifies himself as Assam the American FBI file photo

Adam Gadahn identified himself as “Assam the American”
FBI file photo

A drone need not know the name of the face it has targeted to be effective. One of the latest faces is Adam Gadahn, a senior al Qaeda operative who had a $1 million bounty (State Department – National Counterterrorism Center) on his head. On April 23, 2015, the White House announced that Gadahn had been killed inadvertently in a U.S. drone attack in January in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. Only 36 at his death, Gadahn had risen within the ranks of al Qaeda to be responsible for al Qaeda’s internet production house known as “As Asab.” Video here.

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Forty-three Shias gunned down on Pakistan bus by their Sunni “brothers”

Daniel 2:41-43 (NASB) “In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. 42 “As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. 43 “And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery.

The divided kingdom continues to fill the headlines, this time from Pakistan:

Motorcycle gunmen kill 43 in bus attack in Pakistan’s Karachi: police

Wed May 13, 2015 5:23am EDT

Gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on a bus in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi on Wednesday, killing at least 43 people, police said, …

“There were six attackers. They boarded the bus and carried out the shooting,” Police Superintendent Najib Khan told Reuters. He said all the passengers were from the Ismaili community, a minority Shi’ite Muslim sect in majority-Sunni Pakistan. A splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban called Jundullah claimed responsibility. … “These killed people were Ismaili and we consider them kafir (non-Muslim). We had four attackers. In the coming days we will attack Ismailis, Shi’ites and Christians,” spokesman Ahmed Marwat told Reuters. …

In March, suicide bombings outside two churches in Lahore killed 14 people and wounded nearly 80. Days later, a bomb after Friday prayers wounded 12 people outside a minority Bohra mosque in Karachi. In February, 20 people were killed in an attack on a Shi’ite mosque in the northeastern city of Peshawar, and 60 were killed in a January attack on a Shi’ite mosque in the southern province of Sindh.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi "Caliph Ibrahim"

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
“Caliph Ibrahim”

In Islam, there are common threads that appear regularly in news alerts. One sect attacks another, yet both sects consider themselves Muslims, i.e., they both affirm the Islamic creed, the Shahada, that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger; and the Qur’an was revealed through him. Ismailis, the victims in the latest attack, are Shias. Shias are the minority sect (10-15%), the weaker sect in Islam. They have been persecuted by Sunnis, the majority sect, for hundreds of years. Shias combine through the blood-line of Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad. Within Shiism there are many branches, each of which are like tribes; however, each tribe is formed, not based on family relations, but upon a particular Imam considered to be the legitimate spiritual leader following the death of Muhammad in 632 AD.  Legitimacy is determined based on “Nass” or Designation (appointment) by the sole prerogative of the prior Imam who appoints his successor from among his male descendants before death. Ismailis are also referred to as “Seveners” because of the particular Imam they consider legitimate (as opposed to “Fivers,” or “Twelvers,” each of which follow a different Imam considered by their sect to be the legitimate spiritual leader).

Sunnis consider Ismailis to be unbelievers, i.e., “kafirs.” Hence, they should be eliminated. Jundallah, the Sunni militant sect in the latest atrocity, are a branch of the Taliban operating in Pakistan.

The deaths of the 43 in Karachi are another in the long line of fulfillments of Daniel 2:41-43 NASB. Islam is a divided kingdom, Sunnis and Shias (Daniel 2:41 NASB). It has a stronger and weaker sect (or brittle, broken), Sunni (85%), the stronger, and Shias (15%), the brittle (Daniel 2:42 NASB). It also has a sect that combines in the “seed of men,” i.e., Shias, who combine in the bloodlines of descent through Ali, cousin and son-in-law to Muhammad (Daniel 2:43 NASB). Lastly, even from within each sect, they will not adhere to one another, like feet “partly of iron and partly of clay” (Daniel 2:43 NASB). In Shiism, there are Fivers, Seveners, and Twelvers, each branch separate from the other. In Sunnism, branches are not as numerous, but they are there. Al Qaeda, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Wahhabbis of Saudi Arabia, most of whom consider themselves to be the only pure form of Sunni Islam (of course, to all, Shias are kafirs.)

Jesus come quickly.



The Valley of Jehoshaphat – Are we nearing the Day of Judgment?

The Kidron Valley (Valley of Jehoshaphat)

The Kidron Valley
(Valley of Jehoshaphat)

The Valley of Jehoshaphat — stretching from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, east of Jerusalem between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives, and referred to by this name only since the 4th century AD. Before the 4th century AD, the Valley of Jehoshaphat was known as the Kidron Valley (2 Kings 23:4, 6, 12). Biblically, it is found only in Joel 3:2, 12, and there metaphorically referred to as the “valley of decision” (Joel 3:14). “Jehoshaphat” literally means the “Lord has judged.” Serving as the dividing valley between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives, the Valley of Jehoshaphat is of keen interest to Bible interpreters. It was on the Mount of Olives that Ezekiel had his vision of the Lord and the flying cherubim above it (Ezekiel 11:22-23). Jesus, no doubt, was overlooking the Jehoshaphat when He gave His Olivet discourse on the signs of the end-of-days. (Matthew 24:1-51). The same could be said when He descended the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem (Luke 19:28-44) riding a donkey, all the while Palm Branches (John 12:13) were waved in triumph. Lastly, the Garden of Gethsemane is located on the Mount of Olives. It was here that Jesus sweat drops of blood (Luke 22:44) as He prayed with His inner three disciples just before His arrest (Luke 22:39-46). In Jesus’ day, the Valley of Jehoshaphat was a critical place. It will be the same in the end-of-days: Joel 3 pinpoints the valley as the location of God’s judgment of the nations; those nations that have struck His people and divided His land. It is a time of the Lord’s vengeance. How close are we to the “Day of the Lord”? Joel 3:12.

The ever-present Valley of Jehoshaphat, literally, “Yahweh has judged,” had to be a constant reminder to Jesus of the reason why He came — that sin and the devil be judged (John 12:27, 31). It was seen as a place of judgment and a frequent burial ground where souls would one day meet the Lord. Further, Zechariah 14:4-5 prophesies that the Lord will split Olivet so that on the Day of the Lord, Jews might have a way of escape from Jerusalem.

Certainly, Joel 3 could not apply to any period prior to the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. We make this conclusion because Peter quotes Joel 2:28 as being fulfilled at Pentecost (Acts 2:17-21). An important hint of the time of application is that Joel 3:1 states that the fortunes of the Jews have been restored. The scattering of the Jews occurred from 70 AD – 1948 AD. Thereafter, the Jews had no homeland. They were exiles throughout the world and were persecuted by nearly everyone they lived among. In fact, the Church labeled Jews “Christ-killers,” and persecuted them both before and after the Crusades.1 The restoration of Israel’s fortunes could be said to have begun in 1948, by action of the United Nations, giving Jews a homeland following World War II.  Jews claimed Israel as a state ever since but not without Arab opposition from the very beginning. We might say that the fortunes were more completely restored in 1967 in the Six-Day-War when Israel regained control even of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula. As we have seen, historically, Israel’s “possession” of the land is not the same thing as title deed. The United Nations considers Israel to be an “occupier” of the land; the Palestinians liken Israel’s presence (and wall) in the land to that of Hitler and the Berlin wall.

The West Bank and Gaza Strip in green; Palestinian areas

The West Bank and Gaza Strip in green; Palestinian areas

The second identifier in Joel 3:2 relates to the dividing of the land. The nations of the world have been pressing Israel since the 1967 Six-Day-War to withdraw from lands it won in the 1967 War. In May, 2011, President Obama gave a very important speech wherein he outlined his administration’s policy for much of the discord in the Middle East. Among those topics mentioned was the dividing of the land of Israel based on its 1967 borders. To quote the President:

The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.

The inserted map identifies those areas that America considers to be up for negotiation for Israel’s withdrawal. The land would  be divided into two states, the state of Palestine (in green) and the state of Israel. Israel has refused to withdraw from the land. It seems however, that based upon Joel 3:2 alone, the land will be divided at some point in the future. The passage specifically states, “… and they have divided up my land.” That is past tense. Since Israel became a state in 1948, its land has not been divided – in fact, Israel has only added to the land it was given in 1948 (with the exception of treaty areas such as the Sinai Peninsula which have been exchanged). If Joel 3:2 speaks of the dividing of the land in the past tense, then the dividing will occur at some time — but in the future. As of now, the dividing of the land is a piece of Israel’s prophecy puzzle that has not been placed. We might also look at it another way — until the land is divided, the end-of-days battle described in Joel 3 (when God judges Israel’s enemies) cannot take place; that battle can only take place after the land is divided.

Islam is in Joel 3:4, “…what are you to me, O Tyre, Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you rendering Me a recompense?…” Those nations/groups currently occupying the lands of Trye, Sidon, and Philistia are the Palestinian Arabs in Southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. All of these countries are Muslim. Psalm 83 further supports that the sons of Ishmael are the attacking force in Joel 3. Psalm 83:4 specifically mentions the need for “recompense” (Joel 3:4, 7):

Psalm 83:3-8 (NASB) They make shrewd plans against Your people, And conspire together against Your treasured ones. 4 They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more.” 5 For they have conspired together with one mind; Against You they make a covenant: 6 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites; 7 Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; 8 Assyria also has joined with them; They have become a help to the children of Lot.

The Arabs of the Middle East have long “conspired against your treasured ones.” Psalm 83 specifically names the “tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, … Philistia, …Tyre.”2

I know which side of the line I want to be on– the side of Israel. The Ishmaelite side is the wrong side. Surprisingly, the only Arab nation traditionally allied with Israel in the modern-day is Egypt. Notice what Joel 3:19 states:

Joel 3:19 (NASB) Egypt will become a waste, And Edom will become a desolate wilderness, Because of the violence done to the sons of Judah, In whose land they have shed innocent blood.

If you want to know whose side you want to be on in the end-of-days just find Egypt. Egypt is defeated in every prophecy passage in Scripture (Daniel 11:42-43, Zechariah 10:11, Ezekiel 29:10-11, Isaiah 19). Align on the side opposite Egypt; that opposite-side will be the side of Israel.

My prayer is that the rapture will be quicker than the fulfillment of Joel 3; and, yes, my interpretation of Scripture has it so.

Jesus come quickly.




Footnotes to post:
  1. Antisemitism in the Church could be said to have begun with  Bishop Ignatius of Antioch (an Apostolic Church Father) who was martyred around 110 AD. Ignatius separated “Judaism” and “Christianism,” and forbade Christians from retaining any Jewish practices in their worship, including worshiping on Saturday rather than Sunday. See and the references contained therein. []
  2. In my view, Iran is in Psalm 83:8, “Assyria.” The Assyrian empire included much of modern-day Iran in the height of its power. []

Texas Shooters don’t fit the mold for Radicals – Is it possible that Islam is not a religion of peace?

everybody_draw_muhammed_day_2013_by_ziggyman-d65y7dxTwo men who opened fire outside a contest for Prophet Mohammed cartoons in a Dallas suburb were shot dead by police Sunday night, authorities said. The event “Draw the Prophet,” was sponsored by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, in an effort to protect the 1st Amendment. The event offered a $10,000 prize and was said to be in response to the January 2015 attacks on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. The event was located in Garland, Texas in the same location as a Muslim group held a “Stand with the Prophet” conference in January. A security officer was wounded and the two Islamists were killed, Nadir Soofi, and Elton Simpson. CNN reports the following about Simpson and Soofi, the two radicals:

Moments before the shootout, Simpson posted an ominous tweet with the hashtag #texasattack: “May Allah accept us as mujahideen.”

The tweet also said Simpson and his fellow attacker [Soofi] had pledged allegiance to “Amirul Mu’mineen,” which means “the leader of the faithful.” CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank said that probably refers to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

In 2011, Simpson was convicted of making a false statement involving international and domestic terrorism. Prosecutors said he told FBI agents that he had not discussed traveling to Somalia to engage in “violent jihad” — when, in fact, he had, according to an indictment. …

[Simpson’s attorney in the 2011 case, Kristina Sitton, stated], “He was a very devout Muslim,” said Sitton, who sensed Simpson was trying to convert her and her staffers but never saw him as a threat. “… I can tell you with absolute certainty that I didn’t observe anything that had anything to do with radicalization.” … “He was a very kind-hearted, respectful young man,” the lawyer added. “He always treated me with respect.”

That view was seconded by the president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, where both Simpson and Soofi worshiped. … Simpson “was a gentle person,” Shami said. “He always had a good attitude, a good demeanor.” Like others at the mosque, Shami said he was stunned to hear about the attack Sunday night. “They didn’t show any signs of radicalization or any signs of even thinking about those things in that manner,” he said. “So when that happens, it just shocks you. ‘How good did you know these people?’ That’s the question that people ask themselves.”

Simpson nor Soofi fit the profile for a “radical” Islamist. Soofi’s background is as peaceful as that of Simpson:

“He was raised in a normal American fashion,” Sharon Soofi said. “Yes, he was very politically involved with the Middle East. Just aware of what’s going on. I don’t know if something snapped or if Elton Simpson was just working on him.” Soofi’s father is Pakistani, and his mother is American, a source with knowledge of the family told CNN. After his parents divorced, Soofi and his brother moved to the United States in 1998 to live with their mother and gradually lost touch with many of their friends in Pakistan, the source said. In the 1990s, Soofi attended a prestigious private school in Islamabad. … Unlike Simpson, who had been convicted of a terror-related charge, Soofi was relatively unknown to federal investigators, a law enforcement official told CNN.

It seems that Soofi and Simpson were in Texas (they were roommates in Arizona) that day to protect the prophet Muhammad from the entrants in the cartoon contest who depicted Muhammad in visual images. The Qur’an contains no proscriptions of a visual image of the messenger; but there are hadiths (sayings of key Muslim scholars) which explicitly prohibit Muslims from creating visual depictions of their messenger.1 Anyone who depicts an image of the Muslim messenger is deemed to have committed a sacriledge worthy of death. In defense of the event, organizer Pam Geller is reported to have stated at the event:

“Enough is enough,” she explained. “They’re just cartoons. We’re holding this exhibit and cartoon contest to show how insane the world has become — with people in the free world tiptoeing in terror around supremacist thugs who actually commit murder over cartoons. If we can’t stand up for the freedom of speech, we will lose it — and with it, free society.”

The two radicals don’t fit the profile. They were not violent, angry, Muslims. They were not radicalized as recent converts. Both had been Muslims for years. So how do we explain their actions? One of them, Simpson, a peaceful, respectful man. The other, Soofi, a loving father. There is but one explanation for their actions: they followed the Qur’an and the hadith, the sacred writings of the “religion of peace.”

Islam is not a religion of peace. In fact, it is the cloak under which the antichrist covers in the end-of-days. The problem is that many of it’s own adherents do not see satan’s plan, much less the society so intent on protecting Islam. There may be many Muslims who are people of peace; but the Qur’an, the book upon which Islam is founded is not.

Jesus come quickly.



Footnotes to post:
  1. Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith: 7.834, 7.838, 7.840, 7.844, 7.846 []

The deaths of Christians reveal the Antichrist Empire — Islam

Revelation 12:17 (NASB) So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

Daniel 7:25 (NASB) ‘He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.

Journalist James Foley about to be beheaded by Islamist, REUTERS Media

Journalist James Foley about to be beheaded by Islamist, REUTERS Media

Scripture is clear. Revelation 12 prophesies that beginning with the birth of the Only Begotten One, a great war will ensue against those who follow the “commandments of God” (true Judaism, perhaps the remnant of Romans 9:27 NASB) and also those who “hold to the testimony of Jesus.” Revelation 12:17 NASB. This Scripture is of great importance. It tells us that the one characteristic that will identify the hand of satan is to identify the party on the “other side of the line.” Identify the empire that wages war against Jews and Christians and you will identify the antichrist empire.  It is not Rome in any fashion whether the political European Union or the religious Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Church has historically martyred those it considered to be heretics. It did so to eliminate those it considered a threat to its view of Scriptures. Rome labeled Jews as “Christ-killers” based upon the church fathers’ interpretation of Matthew 27:25. This resulted in the persecution and death of many Jews over the years of Christianity, particularly during the Inquisitions of the Middle Ages. Martin Luther, the father of the protestant reformation, took the same approach to Anabaptists. Luther stated:

[Anabaptists] are in no case to be tolerated. … These are thieves and murderers of whom Christ spoke in John 7, persons who invade another man’s parish and who usurp another man’s office. … They must neither be tolerated nor listened to, even though they seek to teach the pure Gospel, yes, even if they are angelic and simon-pure Gabriels from heaven. … “If he refuses [to keep his mouth shut] … consign the scamp into the hands of his proper master. … Luther, then, advocated that Anabaptists be hung for heresy, the only proper punishment for a treasonous wretch. There was no other option for the radicals for they were a threat not only to society; but to Christianity in general.1

Rome has not done to Christianity (or to Judaism) what Islam has. Rome will not be the manifestation of antichrist in the end-of-days, in fact, the Roman Catholic Church is the world’s most public advocate for Christ (although the method of worshiping God is quite different from that of many of the Protestant viewpoint).  Rome is “different” but so is Islam. Islam is like the opposite side of the “different” characteristic of Daniel 7:19, Daniel 7:23-24. Interpreters must determine which side is the dark side. In my view, there is not even a question of which is the dark side.

Here is an example of the dark side of Islam as recently reported by Christianity Today:

This time, the approximately 28 men targeted by the Libya affiliate of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (also known as Daesh) were Ethiopian Christians. In February, the killing of 21 mostly Egyptian Christians drew widespread horror and fears of future massacres, but also led to Egypt’s largest Bible outreach. … The New York Times reports more details on the video, as doesCNN. Regarding how Mosul Christians were told to convert to Islam or pay a protection tax, the speaker in the video says, “The Christians never cooperated.” Read more.

As we all know, I could give many more examples of the violence that ISIS has waged against Christians for no other reason than they are Christians. The same could be stated for Jews. Islam throughout the world is intent on annihilating Israel from the face of the earth. Psalm 83 prophesies of the endless war of the sons of Ishmael and Esau against the sons of Jacob:

Psalm 83:2-7 (NASB) For behold, Your enemies make an uproar, And those who hate You have exalted themselves. 3 They make shrewd plans against Your people, And conspire together against Your treasured ones. 4 They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more.” 5 For they have conspired together with one mind; Against You they make a covenant: 6 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites; 7 Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; …

It is so simple it is difficult. Find the empire that wages war against Jews and Christians and you will find the antichrist empire. Rome is a religious empire and so it satisfies the “different” characteristic of Daniel 7; but it does not satisfy the waging war characteristic of Revelation 12. Islam does. It is a religious kingdom, it is different. It has also waged war against Jews and Christians since its inception in the 7th century and continues to do so in the modern-day.

ISIS is more than it appears to be. It is an identifier of the antichrist, and Islam is simply the cloak under which satan covers. It has done that for the last 1400 years. In the process, Christianity has been all but decimated from the land that Jesus once walked.

Jesus come quickly. May you come sooner than later.



Footnotes to post:
  1. See Islam the Cloak of Antichrist and references there, page 47 []

Atonement: Muslim vs Christian Understanding

lamb.kevinGod-saves or do-it-my-way? God-salvation or self-salvation, which will it be? Perhaps we might say “grace” or “pay-your-own-way?” How is there even a choice? Christ or Muhammad? Son of God or son of Quraysh?

The Bible teaches that sin is universal (Isaiah 53:6). All sin, and everyone falls short of God’s standard of righteousness (Romans 3:23). Mankind’s sinfulness acts as a separator between man and God (Isaiah 59:2), a barrier that removes humanity from God, and renders relationship with holy God, impossible.  Hence, humanity is “out-of-relationship” with God, and in need of being reconciled.  Atonement is the doctrine whereby God and mankind are made “at-one-ment,” that is, God and mankind are reconciled, and the nature of this new reconciled relationship is eternal and without end.

Since all have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard of righteousness, humanity cannot make amends for acts of sinfulness, nor can humanity’s righteous acts “offset” unrighteous acts.  Isaiah 64:6 puts it this way: “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like filthy garments.”  Man’s best efforts at righteousness are likened to filthy rags.  How then can humanity ever make amends for unrighteous acts if our righteous acts are likened to filthy rags?  Likewise, how then can “filthy rags” offset unrighteous acts?  Quite the opposite occurs.  Mankind is dismally separated from God and can do nothing to make things right.  It is as if humankind has an incurable illness; an illness that will keep him eternally separated from a holy God.

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