“Muslims are the true feminists”: HuffPo lies to itself and its readers

UPDATE: This article appeared on the new HuffPo, and after writing this piece I realized I’d criticized the identical article a year ago, here. Well, so I’ve done it twice. My takes aren’t the same, so if you haven’t read the other one, read this one instead. Better yet, read both, as the earlier piece, which is shorter, has other information about the “feminism” of sharia law.  The piece shows that PuffHo is brain-dead, killed by Toxic Regressive Leftism.


Well, I’m sorry folks, but, like a dog returning to its own vomit, I keep returning to the HuffPo, breaking my vow that I was done with them. The laws of physics dictated otherwise: I could not have done other than write this post. And my also-determined justification for returning to that odious site is that HuffPo may be the premier “clicky” source of news for Lefties, since it is puffier and takes less work to read than, say, the New York Times. Also, the Times is more objective, and even has conservative columnists, so if you’re a Trump-hater or Regressive Leftist who wants confirmation of your biases rather than exercise for your brain, you can reliably find that confirmation at HuffPo.

And here’s their latest, one of the most egregious pieces of doublespeak that I’ve seen, even on that site (click on screenshot to go to the article):

Doesn’t that remind you of headlines like “Assad is the true peacemaker” or “Trump is the true progressive”?

Author Gabby Aossey’s claim is that Muslims are the True Feminists because they choose to respect their bodies by covering them, while Western Feminists disrespect their own bodies by showing their skin. Why, there’s even a Free the Nipple campaign in the West, which according to Aoussey exemplifies the goals of Western Feminists: to show skin. As she says:

As American women, many of us have an idea of what feminists are; freelancing women with all the sexual freedom in the world. But this is exactly the problem with American feminism; it is all about sex and the liberation of our bodies. Certainly, things like abortion and contraception is a part of that freedom, but in today’s society the fight has taken on a much different tone.

Hip Feminist campaigns like Free the Nipple only encourage a gullible behavior of disrespect for our own bodies, leading to everyone else around us disrespecting our bodies as well. If we want to be respected as women and taken seriously in all our endeavors we should look to a new source; Muslim women. Muslim women, as well as Muslim men, see every body as a sacred temple, especially the female body. Opposed to exposing themselves, it is through modesty. When we think of modern feminists we should stray away from the new American trends and start looking to what we have always thought as a contradiction; Muslim feminists.

That’s a gross distortion of feminism in the West, whose goal is, for most, simple equality. While that equality includes the freedom to dress as one will in public, it also includes legal and moral equality: the right to be treated with as much respect as men, and to enjoy the same legal rights.

Now Aossey is willfully ignorant of several things. One, of course, is the fact that Muslim-majority countries, many of them governed by versions of sharia law—which DICTATES that women cover themselves—oppress women. But don’t take my word for it. Observe that in Saudi Arabia, a woman can’t go out with a man who is not her relative, or go out unaccompanied, must wear full covering (not just a hijab) when she does to out, and can’t even drive. In Iran and Afghanistan, women MUST cover themselves, and under sharia law have much more restricted legal rights than men (for one thing, their testimony in court is worth only half of a man’s).

And it’s not limited to those countries. Check out the 2013 Pew Survey of Muslim-majority countries (which didn’t even survey more repressive ones like Iran, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia). Here are some statistics showing the “achievements” of Muslim feminism in the Muslim world:

Even the notion that wearing a veil should be a woman’s choice (in principle, of course!) is universally accepted only in a few Muslim-majority countries, and is widely rejected in Africa and the Middle East (note the absence of Iran and Saudi Arabia):

Here’s true equality!:

Women’s oppression is codified in most instantiations of sharia law. Here are the data on those who favor such a law for everyone in Muslim-majority lands. Feminism my tuchas!

To buttress her flawed argument, Aossey calls up the image of Khadija, Muhammad’s first wife, by all accounts a powerful and independent woman. But that was fourteen hundred years ago! Are women in Saudi Arabia and Iran allowed to have such power now? Are they allowed to say whatever they want? You know the answer. Pointing to historical figures whose personalities may be largely fictional is no way to justify Muslim women as feminists today. That much is obvious.

And what happens to Muslim women who become liberals, leave the faith, or speak out against Islam’s oppression of women: liberals like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Asra Nomani, or Sarah Haider? Are they heroes, like Khadija? You know the answer. They’re vilified—vilified for opposing the legal and cultural inferiority of women under Islam. People like Aossey ignore this in their mush-brained desire to claim that Muslim women are feminists.

And then there’s the small matter of the hijab. Here’s Aossey’s take:

. . . it’s no surprise to see Muslim woman today modeling themselves after these prominent female figures. Muslim girls look towards these instances of strength for guidance in this scary, patriarchal society. These modern women are not afraid to go against the grain in the name of their belief like wearing the hijab to covey their religious devotion. Hijab is the headscarf that is worn by Muslim woman and no; it is not supposed to be forced on them by their fathers and husbands. Wearing or not wearing the Hijab reflects a Muslim woman’s own a personal choice.

What nonsense! In several countries wearing the hijab (or more covering) is the law, not personal choice, and if you refuse, the morality police will beat some sense into you. In other places, including the U.S. and Europe, social pressure by family and peers ensures that veiling is far from a personal “choice”. I’ve written before about what women’s dress was like in places like Egypt, Afghanistan, and Iran before veiling was either common or mandatory. Answer: women didn’t veil as much, and showed a lot more skin. See my posts here, herehere, and here. These days, women must go on websites like My Stealthy Freedom to covertly doff their veils, for they don’t want to wear them!

And remember why veiling exists: it’s based on the presumption that women have to cover themselves to avoid exciting the uncontrollable lust of men, men who would rape them if they saw a knee or even a stray wisp of hair. It puts the onus on women, not men, to prevent sexual assault, and that’s not feminism. In fact, feminists always make the point, correctly, that it’s not women’s responsibility to quash male lust, and they’re right. “Feminist” Aossey, however, has bought into the oppression side:

With all of the pressures in our American society to have a certain physical allure; to have long, luscious hair, a skinny yet curvy body, flawless facial beauty, woman go through hell. With this, we succumb to the pressures that we generally think we are free of; we oppress our natural womanhood with constant worry about how we look to others around us. We do not have the courage to stand up to this societal critique and say ‘my body is not to be ogled at’.

For many Muslim women however, they strive to achieve just that. In this way, they liberate themselves from these everyday pressures. They actually have the courage to say hey, I am not an object of pleasure, I am a woman that commands only respect for who I am and not how I look. They have the power to self-liberate as well as the courage to diverge from the American norms. And they do not get attention from showing off their figure, but they get attention by how they present themselves. Muslim woman get respect and are looked at beyond aesthetics; they are actually taken seriously in their communities.

Isn’t this what feminism should be? Don’t women deserve consistent respect and to actually be listened to without drools or criticisms over our bodies and looks?

That is what the results of feminism should be, but veiling doesn’t achieve that result. Read two articles (this and this) to see how covering a woman does not prevent sexual assault. As Grania said when she saw Aossey’s piece (which, by the way, doesn’t allow readers’ comments):

It’s the woman’s responsibility to protect her temple from the assault of the eyes of evil men who are such dogs that they cannot be trusted. What I want to know is why these candidates for a brain donation aren’t arguing for the full-on niqab? Surely that is the logical next step.

Indeed! Aossey finishes her piece with more nonsense, as if repeating lies makes them more credible:

I realized we have been conditioned to think that American women are the free and that Muslim women are the suppressed, but this is twisted to me. I finally understood who is really oppressed by a patriarchal society and it is us. Woman who wear hijab have freed themselves from a man’s and a society’s judgmental gaze; the Free the Nipplers have not. They have fallen deep into the man’s world, believing that this trend will garner respect.

So I urge my Free the Nipple gal pals to take a look at your Muslim sisters and collaborate with them to create a feminism that treats the female body as a temple and not as a toy. Let us see feminism in a different light—through modesty and the courage to savor our sugar. Let us call on the Muslim feminists of the world.

The female body is not a temple, nor is the male’s. It’s the product of natural selection—the same selection that made us desire members of the other sex.

And can Aossey go out alone, or have an unchaperoned date, or drive? I think so, for she lives in America, not Saudi Arabia. Can she wear anything she wants in public? I think so, for she lives in America, not Iran or Afghanistan. Is her testimony equal in value to a man’s in a court of law? Yes, because she lives in America, not the Middle East. By equating feminism with “modesty”—a modesty forced on women by MEN, often against women’s will—Aossey manages to at once misconstrue and devalue the kind of feminism that calls for simple freedom and equality for women.

I wonder why Aossey doesn’t move to Saudi Arabia, where she must wear a sack so she isn’t oppressed by the “patriarchy.” She’s made the HuffPo look even more stupid and regressive than it already is, and that’s a feat!

h/t: Patrick, Grania


  1. Griff
    Posted May 16, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    “see every body as a sacred temple, especially the female body”

    So women experience different expectations than men.

    And that’s feminist?

    • kirbmarc
      Posted May 16, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      What’s absurd is that in Muslim countries it’s men who want to preserve women’s bodies as sacred temples, i.e. ensure that they’re married and don’t have sex outside marriage, and they cover up to protect themselves from attractive the attention of men who aren’t their husbands.

      One of the tried and tested methods to preserve most of the Sacred Temples of Femininity is to whip them once in a vile if they misbehave too much, or to stone them if they sully their Sacred Temples by sleeping with men they’re not married with.

      • Posted May 16, 2017 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        Also to chop off something from the woman’s body that could make her naughty if left in place.

  2. kirbmarc
    Posted May 16, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    “To buttress her flawed argument, Aossey calls up the image of Khadija, Muhammad’s first wife, by all accounts a powerful and independent woman.”

    She might as well have brought up Aisha, Muhammed’s last wife, by all accounts one he had sex with when she was nine year old.

    • nicky
      Posted May 16, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Aisha also pointed out that Mohammed’s revelations were particularly self serving. She clearly believed he just made them up. Wonder how that got through in the scriptures. One of the few reasons to believe that there actually was a Mohammed (and Aisha) more or less as described in the Trilogy.

    • Posted May 16, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      That’s a little unfair, considering Mohammed was kind enough to spare Aisha from being gang-raped by his son and soldiers (who Mo sent off to gang-rape the rest of Aisha’s womenfolk.)

    • somer
      Posted May 16, 2017 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      So powerful and independent.

  3. Posted May 16, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    The “New Feminists” have proven themselves to be the real racists of our time, ignoring or excusing the oppression and inequality of Muslim women and the perpetrators of these human rights violations (men, society, Islam)and blaming western white nonMuslim males for everything that is wrong in the Muslim (and Hindu) world. This is Black Privilege, or brown or whatever tint you choose. It is a permanent full time moral pass for men of color regardless of their crimes. Its provenance is the Marxist left, which had the equal audacity to blame U.S.
    “imperialism” for Islamic terrorism. Every female student who parrots this racist pap is complicit in the new left authoritarianism. For them equality is, as Orwell wrote, a condition in which some people are more equal than others. The conservatives may be taking advantage of this stupidity for their own purpose, but it is deplorable to see how few
    liberals and believers in real equality will defend universal human rights and our Constitution. In truth THEY are the new
    reactionaries and the right wing, more closely aligned with the far right nationalists in Europe. Both are intent on promoting their own agenda, not on supporting universal principles.

  4. Posted May 16, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Reading the Huffington Post claims is nauseating, considering another aspect: Honour Killing, as Wikipedia notes (emphasis mine):

    The concept of family honor is extremely important in many Muslim communities. The most frequently quoted figure published by the United Nations in 2000 is an estimate of 5,000 killings worldwide each year, most of them in Islamic regions of South Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.[58] The family is viewed as the main source of honor and the community highly values the relationship between honor and the family. Acts by family members which may be considered inappropriate are seen as bringing shame to the family in the eyes of the community. Such acts often include female behaviors that are related to sex outside marriage or way of dressing, but may also include male homosexuality (like the emo killings in Iraq). The family loses face in the community, and may be shunned by relatives. The only way the shame can be erased is through a killing.[55][56] The cultures in which honor killings take place are usually considered “collectivist cultures”, where the family is more important than the individual, and individualistic autonomy is seen as a threat to the collective family and its honor.[59]

    5,000 each year according to the UN. It gets even more sickening considering that this is only the extreme end of a much larger phenomenon. In some regions women are forced to suicide, to evade the law, and a method is alleged “self-immolation”. I really have to throw up a little when I have to read the apologia offered by the Huffington Post. This is still only a tiny fraction of the problem: how much goes on before it is “too late” and the women is outright killed, or driven to suicide? There’s intimidation, violence, disfiguring them with acid and such before the family does the “final” step.

    And of course, it should surprise nobody that Islam is all over the article, in diverse countries with otherwise diverse cultures.

    • nicky
      Posted May 16, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Yes Aneris, a point our host did not even mention, but very pertinent.
      Stronger, if Hindus were a substantial minority in the US, I’m confident Huff-Po would go lyric about Suttee (despite most modern Hindus considering it an evil custom).

    • Kirbmarc
      Posted May 17, 2017 at 2:39 am | Permalink

      It’s almost as if deep down the problem with islam is….Islam! Who would have imagined that?

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 16, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    “Muslims are the true feminists”

    Nice to know the Ministry of Truth still churnin’ out the tropes.

  6. Posted May 16, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Is this whole thing a cunning way to advance Jerry Coyne’s incompatibilist stance on freewill? Given the same input (Hilariously stupid Huffpo article) we get the same output (Outraged Coyne). I think we should be told…

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    … like a dog returning to its own vomit …

    Long as we’re gettin’ all Psalms 26 about it, let’s not forget the part about answering not a fool according to his folly …

  8. Craw
    Posted May 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Speaking as a non-Leftie but … I hope you do continue to excoriate and expose the HuffPo, for otherwise they will define what Left means. No decent Leftist should accept that.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 16, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      No true Leftist does. (No true heteronormative, cis-gendered Scotsperson either, AFAIK.)

      • Craw
        Posted May 16, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        Leftists are all Scotsmen now? Many leftists do alas embrace HuffPo and its style of “debate”. Which is why the serious and honest left above all must fight it.
        Same reason serious and honest conservatives hate Ann Coulter.

        • nicky
          Posted May 16, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          Do they? Kudos to them!

  9. Posted May 16, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  10. dabertini
    Posted May 16, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I love that the good professor has posted the data. I never get tired of looking at it. But I wonder if Aossey understands it? Probably not, for she is writing for Huffpo. In Saudia Arabia, if you are a women out with a man you had better have a marriage license with you that indicates you are married to said man. How is that for muslim feminism? Ouch!!

  11. Posted May 16, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    As Khadija was purportedly the first convert to Islam, her independence, power, and successful business practice all were possible only in a pre-islamic society.

    • nicky
      Posted May 16, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Which belies a common defense by Muslims, that before Islam, women’s position in society was much worse.

  12. nicky
    Posted May 16, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    ‘Muslims are the true feminists’
    ‘Assad is the true peacemaker’
    ‘Trump is the true progressive’
    Some good comparisons, but the list can be easily expanded:
    ‘New agers are the true scientists’
    ‘Apartheid had the true interests of blacks at heart’
    ‘Huff Po is the true unbiased magazine’
    ‘The regressive leftists are the true advocates of free speech’
    ‘FGM is women’s true sexual freedom’
    ‘Death penalty is the true rehabilitation’
    ‘Sharks are the true vegetarians’
    ‘Ostriches are the true intelligent life on Earth’ (yes, I know they do not really stick their heads into the sand, but as a metaphor it should work)
    And we could go on and on.
    (eg. ‘slavery is freedom’ and many other Orwellian dystopian constructs)

  13. nicky
    Posted May 16, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Small detail, Khadija was more like 1500 years ago than 500, -sorry for nitpicking. It is possible she never existed anyway, maybe just a myth.

  14. Kevin
    Posted May 16, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Aossey’s claims do not track well with observation. Most feminists I know hardly mention sexual liberation nowadays.

    Human civilization is moving forward. We are all getting a little smarter, we are all getting less poor and more educated. Science is playing an important role in most everyone’s life, either directly or indirectly.

    Here is my main prediction. Averaged circumstances in every space of life: where one eats, what sports to do, what friends one selects, where to live will be more and more affected just by wearing a head scarf. Not because it has the appearance of choice (it is not), it’s because it implies much more than a restrictive garment.

    The hijab is a gateway to nightmare. Without it, it is a major show stopper to oppression. Without the hijab, opportunities are equal.

    Too many people on this planet are now aware the hijab has a time limit before it’s goes from a pretend requirement of faith to just being boring and unnecessary to laughable.

    [Until this posting I never heard of ‘free the nipple’.]

    • nicky
      Posted May 16, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Until Muslim men start wearing the Hijab, and obligatory in Islamic states, we remain somewhat skeptical.

  15. Heather Hastie
    Posted May 16, 2017 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    The word that always bugs me the most in these types of articles is “modesty”. Who the f%*& do they think they are to decide what modesty is? Why is modesty to be judged solely on a woman’s clothing anyway? How about modesty of opinion, or don’t women’s opinions matter?

    The writer of this article is the one making respect for women all about appearance and dress by insisting that a woman can only be taken seriously if her body and hair are completely covered. Personally, I think whether I’m taken seriously on a particular topic should depend entirely on what I’ve got to say about it. Looks, clothing, age, weight, gender, sexuality, sexual identity, colour, culture etc etc shouldn’t matter.

    This woman thinks women should be judged by what they wear. That is NOT feminism.

    • nicky
      Posted May 16, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Good point Heather, she is in the same league as the ‘Nipples’ there.
      Note that Islam is not exactly modest (modesty is for women, it seems), they have the Truth, and the whole world should become Islamic. That is a tat immodest, I would say (in my modest opinion, of course).

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 16, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        Yes – the usual complete arrogance of religion, with the added bit of “we’re supposed to rule the world and tell everyone else how to behave or we’re allowed to kill them”. The “We’re right and we’re the only ones who know the truth and everyone else is doomed” of most religions is mere child’s play to the extreme Muslim.

        • nicky
          Posted May 16, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

          (BTW when are you going to post a new post on your website? The North Korean one is nearly 2 weeks old)

          • Claudia Baker
            Posted May 16, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

            I was just going to write “ffs”, as is my wont. But you said it much better Heather. Aossey can take her idea of modesty and shove it.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted May 16, 2017 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

            Sorry. I haven’t felt up to writing much lately. I didn’t think anyone would notice. I’ve started writing four. At least one will get done in the next few days. I hope.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted May 21, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

            Hi Nicky. I now have computer problems. My PC and laptop are both being serviced. I don’t know when I’ll get them back. I don’t have everything I need to complete posts on my tablet. I had a post ready to go Sunday NZ time (yesterday), but my laptop died on Saturday night during the Windows 10 upgrade. My PC has been out for a month, and I’ve been at the back of the queue because they knew I didn’t need it. Hopefully things will be back to normal soon!

  16. BJ
    Posted May 16, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    But, but, intersectionalism or something! So it has to be feminist!

    • Kevin
      Posted May 16, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, intersectionalism only protects people who think they are marginalized.

  17. Posted May 16, 2017 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I sometimes wonder if making women cover up for “modesty” isn’t more to titillate men into imagining more beauty is hidden than exists. In other cultures, what you see is what you get (except for enhancing make up and clothing.) And, also, why so many men were enamored of the notion of bare breasted women in Africa and elsewhere. Tahiti, Hawaii and other islands’ women before the missionaries messed it all up by requiring muumuus.

    • Posted May 16, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Someone should tell the author that she is a g*ddamn racist, vilifying the traditional attire of much of Sub-Saharan Africa.

  18. Posted May 16, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    I agree….Huffington Post has gone nuts…

    But i think one misconception is that there’s an expectation that women must maintain a pretty outward appearance but that men don’t have that worry.

    Tell that to all the men buying Rogaine and going to the gym to perfect those pecks and abs. Tell it to the guys buying the trendy clothes to impress the ladies. Men experience the same social pressure to look good (and perform!) that women do. This issue is a lot less sexually polarized than it’s made out to be.

  19. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted May 16, 2017 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m firmly of the opinion that a wife should always obey her husband.

    Unfortunately my wife never gives any weight to my opinions.

    (and sub)

    • somer
      Posted May 16, 2017 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      All the Abrahamic religions have big problems – but Islam combines the most chauvinist elements of Judaism and Christianity.
      “If I were to order anyone to prostrate to anyone else, I would have ordered women to prostrate to their husbands.”
      A hasan sahih hadith, narrated by Tirmidhi, 2/314, in Abwab a-rida
      Tirmidhi is one of the six collections of Sahih (most orthodox and trustworthy) hadiths.

      • somer
        Posted May 16, 2017 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

        Obviously you wouldn’t cut it as a conservative religious 😊

    • Pete Taylor
      Posted May 17, 2017 at 5:08 am | Permalink

      Couldn’t resist this quote:

      “It was all Mrs. Bumble. She would do it,” urged Mr. Bumble; first looking round, to ascertain that his partner had left the room.

      That is no excuse,” returned Mr. Brownlow. “You were present on the occasion of the destruction of these trinkets, and, indeed, are the more guilty of the two, in the eye of the law; for the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction.”

      If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, “the law is a ass — a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience — by experience.”

      ― Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

  20. Drhack
    Posted May 16, 2017 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Prof Ceiling Cat is our “Huff Police”

    • somer
      Posted May 17, 2017 at 12:27 am | Permalink

      Yes, Thank you Professor Ceiling Cat, because HuffPo is painful but it obviously has some influence. In Australia, one woman (can’t remember her name) on accepting an award in connection with International Women’s Day 2017, said that she was inspired by Arianna Huffington as a model of a female entrepreneurship in the service of social justice. Social What? A feminist – phooey!!

  21. Posted May 16, 2017 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    “the same selection that made us desire members of the other sex.” in some cases.

  22. somer
    Posted May 17, 2017 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    we have our version of Islam apologetics along Huffpo lines in Australia. Eg

    based in Greens heartland of Melbourne, Victoria in Australia
    Hana Assafiri was one of those putting pressure on Ayan Hirsi Ali to cancel her speaking tour of Australia. Oh and by the way re her (rightly) deploring Australias rate of domestic violence and death by same – a disproportionate amount of this is of muslim women by muslim men.

    • somer
      Posted May 17, 2017 at 4:35 am | Permalink

      sorry I didn’t think it would embed

  23. ActualLiberal
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    Surely feminism is about choice for women? Not enforcing ‘modesty’? I don’t understand why the new left give Islam such a free pass.

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