Muslim Hate for Sweden
Sweden mulls new laws banning jihad combat, travel
Stockholm restaurant torched as riots spread
23 May 2013
Three police officers were hurt as rioters threw stones and directed laser pointers at emergency services.
The unrest began on Sunday in the deprived, largely immigrant suburb of Husby, to the north-west of the city.
Days earlier the police had shot dead an elderly man who had allegedly threatened to kill them with a machete.
The worst of the latest rioting has been in the south of the city.
Stockholm police spokesman Kjell Lindgren said the rioters were a "mixture of every kind of people".
Activists in the Husby area have accused police of racist behaviour - an accusation greeted with scepticism by the police themselves.
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has said everybody must take responsibility for restoring calm in Stockholm.
"It's important to remember that burning your neighbour's car is not an example of freedom of speech, it's hooliganism," he said on Wednesday.
It is unclear how many cars have been burnt since Sunday as a result of the rioting, Mr Lindgren told the BBC.
But on Wednesday night 10 attacks were reported in the north-western suburbs while between 20 and 30 were burnt in southern parts of Stockholm.
Firefighters struggled to contain the fire at the restaurant in the southern suburb of Skogas, where young people pelted them with stones, the spokesman said.
Groups of rioters, as small as five people and as large as 100, have been seen this week, Mr Lindgren said.
They have typically waited for emergency services to attend a fire before attacking them.
Green laser pointers have also been shone in the eyes of the emergency services, according to Mr Lindgren.
No arrests were made on Wednesday night because the police's priority was to disperse mobs and ensure access to fires for the fire brigade, he said.
Overall, five people have been arrested since Sunday.
'Very young people'
The Stockholm police spokesman said rioting had occurred in both deprived parts of the city and parts that would be considered "normal".
"My colleagues say the people on the streets are a mixture of every kind of people you can think of," he added.
"We have got Swedes, we have got very young people, we have got people aged 30 to 35. You can't define them as a group.
"We don't know why they are doing this. There is no answer to it."
In Husby, more than 80% of the 12,000 or so inhabitants are from an immigrant background, and most are from Turkey, the Middle East and Somalia.
Rami al-Khamisi, a law student and founder of the youth organisation Megafonen, told the Swedish edition of online newspaper The Local this week that he had been insulted racially by police. Teenagers, he said, had been called "monkeys", fuelling resentment.
The Stockholm police spokesman said he was aware that prosecutors were investigating complaints, and the behaviour of one police officer in particular.
But he added that he could "hardly believe" all the complaints being made were true.
"We have never had this kind of riots before in Stockholm, not this amount of riots and not this number of hot areas," said Mr Lindgren.
200 violence-prone Islamic extremists in Sweden
December 16, 2010
Some 200 possibly violent Islamic extremists live in Sweden, according to an intelligence report released Wednesday after the country's first-ever suicide bombing narrowly missed Christmas shoppers.
"The group of active members ... consists of just under 200 individuals," the Säpo intelligence agency said in its 126-page report, based on data from 2009 and scheduled to be published before the weekend's attack in central Stockholm.
Saturday's bomber, named as Taymour Abdelwahab, a Swedish national who became an outspoken supporter of violent jihad while living in Britain, did not figure among the 200 people on Säpo's radar, and it remained unclear if any possible accomplices were on the list.
"We are currently putting enormous resources into assessing his contacts, his whereabouts, his profile, and to see how his radicalisation process began and how it developed," Malena Rembe, the chief analyst at Säpo's counter-terrorism unit, told AFP.
"I can say we are studying very, very carefully to ... be able to assess the risk or the threat," she said, adding it still remained to be seen if the bomber had helpers.
The report showed that the number of violence-promoting Islamists in Sweden has remained stable in recent years.
While the so-called radicalisation process generally happens among men aged 15 to 30, the average age in the group is 36, the report showed.
Rembe explained that while members of other violent, radical groups, like rightwing extremists, tended to drop out when they started families, the radical Islamists "don't leave when they get older," making prevention work at an early age vital.
The report showed "most of them were born or grew up in Sweden, and it is here that they come into contact with violence-promoting ideologies and groups."
Some "80 percent of the 200 can be linked to each other," Rembe told a press conference, adding however that the connection tended to be loose, through friendship and acquaintances, and not as part of one big network.
Around 30 out of the 200 have in recent years traveled abroad to take part in violent combat or terrorist training camps, she said.
"Most of these networks focus on action and propaganda against foreign troops in Muslim countries and against governments they see as corrupt and not representing what networks consider to be the only true interpretation of Islam," Saepo said.
It explained in the report that the extremists focus on areas such as Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
But while most of Sweden's radical Islamists did not yet consider the Scandinavian country a legitimate target, Rembe pointed out that a recent rise of the far-right and increased anti-Muslim rhetoric could alter that.
"What we've seen in other countries where you have a more polarised debate, where you have more open xenophobia or Islamophobia, is that it tends to push people into movements because they feel isolated in their own society and they feel included in these extremist environments ...
"So it is a potential negative outcome," she told AFP.
She added however that Sweden today has "a fairly open dialogue and communication ... It is extremely important to ensure a nuanced discussion."
Abdelwahab, known for his outspoken views in favour of violent jihad, blew himself up on Saturday evening minutes after his car exploded, injuring two people, near a crowded pedestrian street in Stockholm.
He killed himself before he could carry out what, according to the lead prosecutor on the case, appeared to have been a mission to murder "as many people as possible."
Jews reluctantly abandon Swedish city amid growing anti-Semitism
The Muslim population in Malmo lives in segregated conditions that seem to breed alienation and anger directed at Israeli policies.
By Donald Snyder, The Forward
July 11, 2010
MALMO, SWEDEN — At some point, the shouts of “Heil Hitler” that often greeted Marcus Eilenberg as he walked to the 107-year-old Moorish-style synagogue in this port city forced the 32-year-old attorney to make a difficult, life-changing decision: Fearing for his family’s safety after repeated anti-Semitic incidents, Eilenberg reluctantly uprooted himself and his wife and two children, and moved to Israel in May.
Sweden, a country long regarded as a model of tolerance, has, ironically, been a refuge for Eilenberg’s family. His paternal grandparents found a home in Malmo in 1945 after surviving the Holocaust. His wife’s parents came to Malmo from Poland in 1968 after the communist government there launched an anti-Semitic purge.
But as in many other cities across Europe, a rapidly growing Muslim population living in segregated conditions that seem to breed alienation has mixed toxically with the anger directed at Israeli policies and actions by those Muslims — and by many non-Muslims — to all but transform the lives of local Jews. Like many of their counterparts in other European cities, the Jews of Malmo report being subjected increasingly to threats, intimidation and actual violence as stand-ins for Israel.
“I didn’t want my small children to grow up in this environment,” Eilenberg said in a phone interview just before leaving Malmo. “It wouldn’t be fair to them to stay in Malmo.”
Malmo, Sweden’s third-largest city, with a population of roughly 293,900 but only 760 Jews, reached a turning point of sorts in January 2009, during Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. A small, mostly Jewish group held a demonstration that was billed as a peace rally but seen as a sign of support for Israel. This peaceful demonstration was cut short when the demonstrators were attacked by a much larger screaming mob of Muslims and Swedish leftists who threw bottles and firecrackers at them as police seemed unable to stop the mounting mayhem.
“I was very scared and upset at the same time,” recalled Jehoshua Kaufman, a Jewish community leader. “Scared because there were a lot of angry people facing us, shouting insults and throwing bottles and firecrackers at the same time. The sound was very loud. And I was angry because we really wanted to go through with this demonstration, and we weren’t allowed to finish it.”
Alan Widman, who is a strapping 6-foot-tall member of parliament and a non-Jewish member of the Liberal Party who represents Malmo, said simply, “I have never been so afraid in my life.”
The demonstrators were eventually evacuated by the police, who were not present in sufficient numbers to protect their rally. But some participants complained that the police’s crowd-control dogs remained muzzled.
The Eilenbergs are not particularly religious, but they have a strong Jewish identity and felt unable to live in Malmo as Jews after this episode. Eilenberg said he knows at least 15 other Jewish families that are thinking about moving away.
Anti-Semitism in Europe has historically been associated with the far right, but the Jews interviewed for this article say that the threat in Sweden now comes from Muslims and from changing attitudes about Jews in the wider society.
Saeed Azams, Malmo’s chief imam, who represents most of the city’s Muslims, is quick to disavow and condemn violence against Malmo’s Jews. Recently, he, along with Jewish leaders, have been participating in a dialogue group organized by city officials that seeks to address the issue. But Azams also downplayed the seriousness of the problem, saying there were “not more than 100 people, most under 18 years old,” who engage in violence and belong to street gangs.“There are some things I can’t control,” he said.
There are an estimated 45,000 Muslims in Malmo, or 15% of the city’s population. Many of them are Palestinians, Iraqis and Somalis, or come from the former Yugoslavia.
But the problem is not just Muslims, and not just Malmo’s.
A European Problem
A continentwide study, conducted by the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence at the University of Bielefeld in Germany, released in December 2009, found that that 45.7% of the Europeans surveyed agree somewhat or strongly with the following statement: “Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians.” And 37.4% agreed with this statement: “Considering Israel’s policy, I can understand why people do not like Jews.”
“[There is] quite a high level of anti-Semitism that is hidden beneath critics of Israel’s policies,” said Beate Kupper, one of the study’s principal researchers, in a telephone interview with the Forward, citing this data and a tendency to “blame Jews in general for Israel’s policies.”
Kupper said that in places where there is a strong taboo against expressions of anti-Semitism, such as Germany, “Criticism of Israel is a great way to express your anti-Semitism in an indirect way.”
According to Bassam Tibi, professor emeritus of international relations at the University of Goettingen in Germany, and author of several books on the growth of Islam in Europe, Muslims form a significant subset of this problem. “The growth of the Muslim diaspora in Europe is affecting the Jews,” Tibi said. Among some Muslim populations in Europe — though not all — “every Jew is seen as responsible for what Israel is doing and can be a target.”
In Malmo, this population’s role in the problem is seen as significant. Most of Malmo’s Muslims live in Rosengard, the eastern part of this de facto segregated city, where the jobless rate is 80%. Satellite dishes dot the high-rise apartments to receive programming from Al-Jazeera and other Arabic-language cable networks that keep Malmo’s Muslims in constant touch with the latest Arab-Israeli developments.
Sylvia Morfradakis, a European Union official who works with the chronically unemployed, those who have been without work for 10 to 15 years, said that the main reason that 80% to 90% of Muslims between the ages of 18 and 34 can’t find jobs is that they can’t speak Swedish.
“Swedish employers insist workers know Swedish well, even for the most menial jobs,” Morfradakis said. She added, “The social welfare concept for helping without end does not give people the incentive to do something to make life better.”
But Per Gudmundson, chief editorial writer for Svenska Dagbladet, a leading Swedish newspaper, is critical of politicians who blame anti-Semitic actions on Muslim living conditions. He said that these politicians offer “weak excuses” for Muslim teenagers accused of anti-Semitic crimes. “Politicians say these kids are poor and oppressed, and we have made them hate. They are, in effect, saying the behavior of these kids is in some way our fault,” he said.
According to Gudmundson, some immigrants from Muslim countries come to Sweden as hardened anti-Semites.
The plight of the Jews worries Annelie Enochson, a Christian Democrat member of the Swedish Parliament. “If the Jews feel threatened in Sweden, then I am very frightened about the future of my country,” she said in an interview with the Forward.
A Chabad rabbi’s experience
Because he is the most visible Jew in Malmo, with his black fedora, tzitzit and long beard, Malmo’s only rabbi, Shneur Kesselman, 31, is a prime target for Muslim anti-Jewish sentiment. The Orthodox Chabad rabbi said that during his six years in the city, he has been the victim of more than 50 anti-Semitic incidents. An American, Kesselman is a soft spoken man with a steely determination to stay in Malmo despite the danger.
Two members of the American Embassy in Stockholm visited him in April to discuss his safety. From Keselman’s account, they had good reason to worry.
The rabbi recalled the day he was crossing a street near his house with his wife when a car suddenly went into reverse and sped backward toward them. They dodged the vehicle and barely made it to the other side of the street. “My wife was screaming,” the rabbi said. “It was a traumatic event.”
Local newspapers report that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Malmo doubled in 2009 from 2008, though police could not confirm this. Meanwhile, Fredrik Sieradzki, spokesman for the Malmo Jewish community, estimates that the already small Jewish population is shrinking by 5% a year. “Malmo is a place to move away from,” he said, citing anti-Semitism as the primary reason. “The community was twice as large two decades ago.” The synagogue on Foreningsgatan, a fashionable street, has elaborate security. Reflecting the level of fear, the building’s glass is not just bullet-proof, Jewish communal officials say; it’s rocket-proof. Guards check strangers seeking to enter the synagogue.
Some Jewish parents try to protect their children by moving to neighborhoods where there are fewer Muslims in the schools so that confrontations will be minimized. Six Jewish teenagers interviewed recounted anti-Semitic abuse from Muslim classmates. According to their families, though the incidents were reported to the authorities, none of the perpetrators was arrested, much less punished.
One victim was Jonathan Tsubarah, 19, the son of an Israeli Jew who settled in Sweden. As he strolled through the city’s cobble-stoned Gustav Adolph Square on August 21, 2009, three young men — a Palestinian and two Somalis — stopped him and asked where he was from, he recalled.
“I’m from Israel,” Tsubarah responded.
“I’m from Palestine,” one assailant retorted, “and I will kill you.”
The three beat him to the ground and kicked him in the back, Tsubarah said. “Kill the Jew,” they shouted. “Now are you proud to be a Jew?”
“No I am not,” the slightly built teenager replied. He said he did this just to get them to stop kicking him. Tsubarah plans to go to Israel and join the army.
Weak government response
Many Jews fault Swedish police for not cracking down on anti-Semitism. Most hate crimes in Malmo are acts of vandalism, said Susanne Gosenius, head of the newly created hate crime unit of the Malmo Police Department These include painted swastikas on buildings. According to Gosenius, police do not give priority to this type of crime. “It’s very rare that police find the perpetrators,” she said. “Swedes don’t understand why swastikas are bad and how they offend Jews.” According to Gosenius, 30% of the hate crimes in the Malmo region are anti-Semitic.
Members of Parliament have attended anti-Israel rallies where the Israeli flag was burned while the flags of Hamas and Hezbollah were waved, and the rhetoric was often anti-Semitic—not just anti-Israel. But such public rhetoric is not branded hateful and denounced, said Henrik Bachner, a writer and professor of history at the University of Lund, near Malmo.
“Sweden is a microcosm of contemporary anti-Semitism,” said Charles Small, director of the Yale University Initiative for the Study of Anti-Semitism. “It’s a form of acquiescence to radical Islam, which is diametrically opposed to everything Sweden stands for.”
A dialogue initiative
The situation has generated some points of potential light. Recently, Ilmar Reepalu, the mayor of Malmo, convened a “dialogue forum” that includes leaders of the Jewish and Muslim communities, as well as city officials, to improve social relations in the city and the city government’s response to conflicts.
During an interview in his office, Imam Saeed Azams said it was wrong to blame Swedish Jews for Israel’s actions. The wheelchair-bound Azams stressed the importance of teaching young Muslims to stop equating the Jews of Malmo with Israel. But this seemed to include an assumption that Jews, in turn, should not permit themselves to be seen as pro-Israel.
“Because Jewish society in Sweden does not condemn the clearly illegal actions of Israel,” he said, “then ordinary people think the Jews here are allied to Israel, but this is not true.”
The imam is an advocate of dialogue with Jewish leaders, and welcomed the creation of the dialogue forum. Reepalu, Malmo’s mayor, has appointed Bjorn Lagerback, a psychologist, to take charge of the newly formed forum. And Sieradzki, the Jewish community leader, was optimistic about its prospects to eventually improve relations.
Reepalu created the forum in the wake of last year’s violence against the Jewish demonstrators and his own controversial remarks that angered Jews. Saying that he condemned both Zionism and anti-Semitism, Reepalu criticized Malmo Jews for not taking a stand against Israel’s invasion of Gaza. “Instead,” he said, “they chose to arrange a demonstration in the center of Malmo, a demonstration that people could misinterpret.”
Interviewed at Malmo’s city hall, Lagerback acknowledged an “awful situation” in Rosengard, where fire trucks and ambulances are often stoned by angry Muslim youth when the emergency vehicles go there. But like the imam, he hastened to add that those engaging in violence were a small number of young people. He attributed such behavior to living conditions of poverty, overcrowding and unemployment, as well as to cultural differences.
Swedish experts agree that integration of Muslims into Swedish society has failed, and this undermines the development of a more diverse society. Many pupils in heavily Muslim schools reject the authority of female teachers.
“We are Swedish but second- or third-class citizens,” said Mohammed Abnalheja, vice president of the Palestinian Home Association in Malmo. The organization teaches children of Palestinian descent about their bond to a Palestinian homeland. “We have a right to our country, Palestine,” he said. “Palestine is now occupied by Zionists.”
Abnalheja was born to Palestinian parents in Baghdad and came to Malmo with his parents in 1996. He has never been to the place he calls Palestine.
Meanwhile, 86-year-old Judith Popinski says she is no longer invited to schools that have a large Muslim presence to tell her story of surviving the Holocaust.
Popinski found refuge in Malmo in 1945. Until recently, she told her story in Malmo schools as part of their Holocaust studies program. Now, some schools no longer ask Holocaust survivors to tell their stories, because Muslim students treat them with such disrespect, either ignoring the speakers or walking out of the class.
“Malmo reminds me of the anti-Semitism I felt as a child in Poland before the war,” she told the Forward while sitting in her living room, which is adorned with Persian rugs and many paintings.
“I am not safe as a Jew in Sweden anymore,” a trembling Popinski said in a frail voice. But unlike others, she intends to stay in Sweden. “I will not be a victim again,” she said.
Sweden threatened with jihad
Videos show men training with
explosives, Sweden threatened with 'suffering in the name of Allah'; former
ambassador to Sweden says potential for terror infrastucture exists
A group using the name of Iraqi jihad group Ansar al-Sunnah has released videos showing what it claims are members training for terror attacks in the Swedish countryside.
In one video, dated August 8 2005, the group says that viewers are about to see a “demonstration of the high explosives device, that we will use in the name of Allah.”
“This was recorded somewhere in Sweden,” says a message on the video in yellow letters against military camouflage colors.
A large explosion is then seen in a heavily wooded area. While it is not possible to verify the location of the explosion, the scenery does appear to be northern European.
A second video by the group, which is dated August 29, contains images of men with blurred out faces setting off mock suicide explosives and roadside car bomb attacks.
The video begins with a message which reads: “Demonstration of real high explosives device, that is filled with gas instead of ammoniate nitrate.” It goes on to show men standing in a clearing in a forest. They are seen pulling chords attached to devices, and setting off explosions of white smoke around themselves. In the same video, a red vehicle is seen driving along a forest path, before suddenly being engulfed in an explosion of white smoke.
The videos are available for download on infovlad.net , which frequently posts videos of jihad shooting and bomb attacks from around the world, along with documents containing bomb making manuals.
'Suffer in the name of Allah'
One user on the site, who identified himself as 'Dehex,' warned that “Sweden will suffer in the name of Allah.”
Referring to a well known Swedish reverend, Runar Soogard, who is reported to be under police protection after offending Muslims with a speech about Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, Dehex wrote: “Runar Soogard had a very bad and nasty speech about our greatest prophet Mohamed.”
“It's because he doesn't wan't to apologyze to the Ummah Nation on at least television. Thats why they are giving out this videos as a warning! There will be one more warning, if he dosen't apologize on television…” wrote the user, in an ominous warning.
'Sweden has a problem'
Speaking to Ynetnews, Israel’s former ambassador to Sweden, Zvi Mazel, said he was not surprised by the presence of jihad movements in the Scandinavian country.
“Sweden is scene to violent demonstrations by radical Muslims, who are often joined by the far left,” said Mazel.
“In the middle of a talk I was giving in Stockholm, we were suddenly told by security personnel that there was an Islamist anti-Israel demonstration, in which members of the crowd were smashing windows with iron bars.”
“The Swedish press says that Sweden has immunity from terror due to its anti-Israel stance,” added Mazel.
The former ambassador also painted a grim picture of the situation for Sweden’s Jewish community. “There are harassments and physical attacks against Jews in Sweden,” he said. “There are many complaints about anti-Semitism among the Jewish community there.”
“There is a big problem in Sweden. Jihadist
organizations certainly have a potential infrastructure there,” he added.
Sweden struggles to integrate Muslim immigrants
Jul 16, 2007
Sweden has welcomed immigrants with open arms for decades but now it is grappling with how to integrate them into society, especially in the southern town of Malmoe amid a massive influx of refugees.
Once a thriving industrial town with full employment, Malmoe has seen many of its plants shut down since the 1990s. That, combined with a never-ending stream of foreigners arriving, has led to rising juvenile delinquency and rampant unemployment.
Of the town's 280,000 inhabitants, a third are foreigners and 60,000 are Muslims.
"We are an open city. We see these immigrants as a resource for our society," Malmoe's Social Democratic mayor Ilmar Reepalu told AFP.
"The problem is that we have welcomed too many immigrants at the same time," he said, pointing out that last year Malmoe took in more Iraqi asylum-seekers than Germany, Spain, France and Italy combined.
Reepalu said 5,000 refugees a year seek asylum in Malmoe, Sweden's third largest city behind Stockholm and Gothenburg, though it is really only able to take in 1,500.
The result is many overcrowded apartments as refugees flock to immigrant-heavy areas and an employment rate that has dropped to around 50 percent.
Swedish Integration Minister Nyamko Sabuni -- a Muslim who came to Sweden when she was 12 and the first African to become a member of government in the country -- insists that the only way for immigrants to integrate into society is to learn the language and get a job.
"It is crucial that immigrants get in contact with the labour market as soon as possible after receiving their residence permit. This has to be combined with language courses," she told AFP.
While immigrants to Sweden in the late 1950s and 1960s came as much-needed labourers, the trend has in recent decades shifted toward political refugees, according to Yves Zenou, an economics professor at Stockholm University specialised in integration problems.
"Immigrants to Sweden have become political refugees. First there were people from South America, then Iran, Afghanistan and now Iraq," he said.
"They come seeking asylum and not work," he said.
He recalled the Scandinavian country's generous humanitarian policies which provide immigrants with everything they need once they arrive.
"The famous welfare state takes care of everything on a social level. But that's the limitation of the system -- the country cannot provide any solution when it comes to jobs, which is the key to integration," he said.
And the situation risks getting worse.
New arrivals tend to settle where they already have friends and family members, leading Swedes to desert some areas, such as Malmoe's southeastern neighbourhood of Rosengaard.
"When a lot of people from one ethnic group concentrate together, you always see the same phenomenon everywhere: they become marginalised, with high unemployment and crime rates," Zenou said.
"That's the case in the United States, France and Britain and now in Sweden, although at different levels," he stressed.
If nothing is done, he said, the situation in Sweden could explode within 10 or 20 years, as it already has in other parts of Europe.
Immigrants in Sweden follow a well-established pattern, he explained. Children grow up seeing their parents unemployed and socially excluded and inherit their frustration.
Compared to slums and projects in France or the US, Rosengaard looks like a nice community. But it stands out in a Swedish context.
On a recent visit, veiled women walk behind the men, casting quick glances at their husbands before refusing to speak to AFP's reporter. At the local mall, more Arabic is heard than Swedish and 28 of the 30 shopkeepers are immigrants.
The neighbourhood is clean, with plenty of greenery providing a nice backdrop for the modern brick buildings. But sprouting from every balcony or rooftop is a satellite dish, broadcasting programs for faraway countries.
For the time being, crime levels in Rosengaard are manageable, Malmoe police spokesman Lars Foerstell said.
"We do have a problem with youth criminality, with young people who commit different kinds of crimes," citing minor robberies, assaults, gang fights or rocks thrown at police cars.
"But it doesn't happen everyday."
However, the neighbourhood is stigmatized and even the slightest of incidents is reported in the press.
"The media often make it sound very much worse than it is," he said.
Meanwhile, Bejzat Becirov, the head of Malmoe's Islamic Centre and mosque, Scandinavia's first when it opened in 1984, continues to spread his message of tolerance and integration, as he has for 45 years.
"We have accepted a part of this country, we have accepted its rules and we want to be a part of it," he said, echoing Sabuni's insistence that integration comes through the language.
Discrimination is not a serious problem, he said.
Rather, "the biggest enemy of integration is the satellite dishes which broadcast TV programmes from countries where some children were even not born."
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