Latest Analysis and Commentary

Hate Crimes: US Lynches the Facts

by Douglas Murray  •  March 5, 2015 at 5:00 am

The police are now under serious pressure -- as they were in the cases of Trayvon Martin and "Ferguson" -- to attribute the crime to causes other than those they may actually think to be the case.

There are many difficulties with "hate crimes" legislation. But one of the worst is that it turns the law from being blind into being a tool that can be used not only to drive home a political vision, but one that can be used to ignore and even lobby to change facts.

While a lot of people seem not to want to recognize when Jews are killed as Jews, the truth is that a very great number of people appear to want Muslims or Blacks, when they are killed, to have been murdered because they were Muslims or Blacks.

This is the disturbing trend that seems to have fed into these moments of Presidential blindness.

Which is a hate crime, and which is "random folks"? Left: Survivors of the terrorist attack on the kosher Hyper Cacher supermarket in Paris flee the store, as police move in. Right: The three victims who were murdered by their neighbor in Chapel Hill.

Which racial or religious "hate crimes" do you choose to identify? And which do you not? That is a question with which the U.S. government and wider society seem to be struggling. In the process, they are revealing far more about their own worldview than they can possibly intend.

Since the beginning of this year, we have had, alongside the usual violence aimed at the Jewish state, the targeting of Jews in Brussels, Paris and Copenhagen. In all instances, the sites were targeted because they were likely to have Jews.

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Britain Funding Separateness, Not Integration

by Samuel Westrop  •  March 5, 2015 at 4:00 am

Increasingly, segregated religious communities receive state funds in order to remain separate. That extremists would gain a foothold seems inevitable.

"We believe that single faith schools will mean more discrimination and a greater stranglehold of the most conservative, anti-women and communal individuals over our children's education and our communities as a whole." — Spokesperson for South Asian Women in London, 2002.

"Instead of greater integration, this political creed [multiculturalism] has promoted separatism by emphasising differences and encouraging minority ethnic groups to cling to the customs of their homeland. In Birmingham, this has resulted in the rejection of western values by the governing bodies of too many Muslim-dominated schools." — Manzoor Moghal, British Muslim writer and activist.

Britain's multicultural doctrine was introduced with good intentions. Its failures, however, have outweighed its benefits.

Small Heath School and its head teacher, Shanaz Khan.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the British education watchdog, Ofsted, has placed yet another British school "in special measures... with its head and governors likely to be removed."

Small Heath School, which has a majority of Muslim pupils, is one of a number of Birmingham schools censured by Ofsted after investigations found a "narrowing of the curriculum."

The journalist Andrew Gilligan suggests that concerns over Small Heath School have sparked fears of a "resurgence of the 'Trojan Horse' plot," a concerted attempt by Islamist groups to infiltrate and Islamize British schools. The plot was first uncovered in 2013. A government report into the accusations, published in 2014, concluded that there had been a "co-ordinated, deliberate and sustained action to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamist ethos into some schools in the city."

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The White House Must Respond to Netanyahu's Important New Proposal

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  March 4, 2015 at 11:00 am

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before the U.S. Congress, March 4, 2015. (Image source: C-SPAN video screenshot)

I was in the House gallery when Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a logical and compelling critique of the deal now on the table regarding Iran's ambitions to obtain nuclear weapons. He laid out a new fact-based proposal that has shifted the burden of persuasion to the White House.

His new proposal is that "If the world powers are not prepared to insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal is signed, at the very least they should insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal expires." His argument is that without such a precondition, the ten-year sunset provision paves, rather than blocks, the way to an Iranian nuclear arsenal, even if Iran were to continue to export terrorism, to bully nations in the region and to call for the extermination of Israel.

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"Britain Is the Enemy of Islam"
One Month of Islam in Britain: January 2015

by Soeren Kern  •  March 4, 2015 at 5:00 am

"Contrary to popular misconception, Islam does not mean peace, but rather submission to the commands of Allah alone. Therefore Muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression, as their speech and actions are determined by divine revelation and not based on people's desires." — Anjem Choudary, British Islamist.

"Britain is the enemy of Islam." — Mizanur Rahman, Muslim cleric at Palmers Green, north London.

"Brothers and sisters, we would not be here had it not been for the fact that the kafir [non-Muslims] had gone to our lands and killed our people and raped and pillaged our resources... Stop putting freedom on this pedestal." — Aysh Chaudhry, Muslim trainee lawyer at London-based law firm, Clifford Chance.

"The firm is committed to establishing an inclusive culture where people with diverse backgrounds and views work effectively together and feel confident to develop their potential." — Spokesperson for Clifford Chance law firm.

Oxford University Press warned its authors not to mention pigs or sausages in their books, to avoid causing offense to Muslims.

Tarek Kafala, the head of BBC Arabic, said that the term "terrorist" was too "loaded" to describe the actions of the men who killed 12 people in the attack on the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo.

"We know that acts of extremism are not representative of Islam; but we need to show what is." — Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, in a letter to 1,000 imams across Britain, asking for their help in fighting extremism.

The British government has decided to close the Christian Durham Free School, after a student gave the wrong answer when inspectors asked him what a Muslim was. (Image source: Durham Free School)

Following is a brief summary of some of the main stories involving Islam and Islam-related issues in Britain during January 2015, categorized into three broad themes: 1) Islamic extremism; 2) British multiculturalism; and 3) Muslim integration into British society.

1. Islamic Extremism

On January 7, the British-born Islamist Anjem Choudary defended the jihadist attacks on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. In an opinion article published by USA Today, Choudary wrote:

"Contrary to popular misconception, Islam does not mean peace but rather means submission to the commands of Allah alone. Therefore, Muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression, as their speech and actions are determined by divine revelation and not based on people's desires.

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Is Turkey's Erdoğan in Decline?

by Veli Sirin  •  March 4, 2015 at 4:00 am

Fréderike Geerdink, a Dutch journalist, was indicted by a Turkish prosecutor for "terrorist propaganda" because of her writing on Kurdish affairs. The raid at her home took place on January 6, the very day that the Netherlands' Foreign Minister, Bert Koenders, was in Ankara. She faces a possible sentence of five years in prison.

Erdoğan has sought to dampen criticism of his behavior by accusing Western Europe of persecuting Muslims.

Dutch newspaper journalist Fréderike Geerdink (left) was indicted this month by a Turkish prosecutor for "terrorist propaganda," because of her writing on Kurdish affairs. Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (right) insists that Turkey is a state of law and a defender of freedom of expression.

Turkey's Islamist president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, may have entered a decline after 11 years of increasing national political command.

Erdoğan proclaims Turkey to be a state of law and a defender of freedom of expression, even though its record in the persecution of journalists is among the world's worst, according to such international media monitors as Freedom House, in its 2014 survey, Democracy in Crisis: Corruption, Media, and Power in Turkey.

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"Arab Joint Force": A Vote of No Confidence in the West

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  March 3, 2015 at 5:00 am

The general feeling in Cairo and other Arab capitals is that the US and the Western world are not serious when it comes to confronting the threat of Iran, the Islamic State or other terrorist groups in the Middle East.

Thanks to President Sisi's new and bold approach, there is a real chance that Arabs will lead the fight against extremists and terrorists.

This is a development that should be welcomed and backed by the US and the rest of the international community.

"The conference [on Countering Violent Extremism, in Washington] did not give birth to a global strategy on terror, and served instead to underline differences between various points of view, especially those of Cairo and Washington." — Ahmed Eleiba, political analyst.

"The US still sees political Islam as a present and legitimate player, not a synonym for extremism. The US Administration also differentiates between extremist Islamists and moderate Islamists and believes that the moderates can be effectively integrated in politics as part of an acceptable political system." — Gamal Abdel Gawad, Professor of Political Science, American University in Cairo.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, visiting Riyadh for urgent talks, is greeted by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, March 1, 2015. (Image source: Al-Arabiyya video screenshot)

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has launched an initiative to form a "Joint Arab Force" to counter the rising threat of radical Islam, especially in wake of the recent atrocity perpetrated by the Islamic State terrorist group against Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya.

However, for such an initiative to succeed, it also needs the backing of the US, EU and other international parties.

But the general feeling in Cairo and other Arab capitals these days is that the US and the Western world are not serious when it comes to confronting the threat of Iran, the Islamic State and other terrorist groups in the Middle East.

There is especially a growing concern in the Arab world, particularly the Gulf, about the indifference in Washington and EU capitals toward the Iranian threat to stability in the Middle East.

As the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram noted this week,

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"Top Secret" Turkey

by Burak Bekdil  •  March 3, 2015 at 4:00 am

Most recently, a jihadist from Islamic State [IS] implicated Turkey in delivering stockpiles of weapons and military hardware to IS fighters in Syria.

Also leaked were U.S. transition plans in Syria; Washington had shared these only with its allies: Turkey, Britain, France and Germany.

The crates of weapons had markings in the Cyrillic alphabet. One of the drivers testified that, "We carried similar loads many times before."

Turkish security forces inspect a truck that was smuggling weapons to Syria, Jan. 19, 2014.

In 2013, Turkey hosted about a dozen conferences on cyber security and new technologies to counter cyber threats. In a speech at the end of the year, Colonel Cengiz Özteke, commander of the military General Staff's division for electronic systems and cyber defense, said that the Turkish military now considered cyber security as the country's "fifth force."

The colonel could not know that slightly over a year later, Turkey would become everyone's joke when the words cyber and security came together.

On Jan. 19, 2014, the Turkish Gendarmerie command searched three trucks in southern Turkey, heading for Syria. Accompanying the trucks were Turkish intelligence officers, and the trucks had a bizarre cargo: In the first container, 25-30 missiles or rockets and 10-15 crates loaded with ammunition; in the second, 20-25 missiles or rockets, 20-25 crates of mortar rounds and anti-aircraft ammunition in five or six sacks. The crates had markings in the Cyrillic alphabet.

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Hero of the Middle East: King Abdullah II of Jordan

by Bassam Tawil  •  March 2, 2015 at 5:00 am

King Abdullah II is not like U.S. President Barack Obama, who is afraid to fight Islamic terrorism and afraid of an Iran that aspires to be nuclear, even as it threatens all of us, including the U.S.

What does President Obama, leader of the greatest power on earth, think Iran is building intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) for? Iran does not need them to strike Israel, or ISIS or the Sunni countries of the Middle East. It can already do that without ICBMs. Yet His Majesty King Abdullah ibn Hussein, king of one of the smallest countries in the world, is ready to fight heroically to protect his people.

ISIS sleeper cells are in place throughout Jordan. It is now clear to Jordanian security officials that because of religious and ideological ties, the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan is now ISIS's fifth column.

Unlike other Arab leaders, who are afraid to act openly against the Islamist terrorist organizations, and some of whom finance them, Jordan's King Abdullah II, a descendant of Muhammad (S.A.A.W.), has shown genuine leadership and courage, both in the air and on land, to halt the spread of ISIS toward other Arab states. He is also worthy of being in the small pantheon of Middle East heroes who give Arabs and Muslims real hope for change.

Public opinion polls in the West Bank show that if Israeli security forces withdrew from it, Hamas would immediately take over the West Bank the way it took over the Gaza Strip. Within a short time, rockets and mortar shells would be launched into Israel.

A historic change is slowly shifting the attitude of the Muslim world away from Islamist terrorism.

As a devout Muslim, I know that Allah created us to live for him, not to die.

King Abdullah II of Jordan (center) pays a condolence call to the family of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh, who was murdered by ISIS. (Image source: al Ghad video screenshot)

The burning alive in a cage of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh, at the hands of ISIS, was yet another tragic example of how Muslim Brotherhood disciples in the various terrorist organizations around the world implement the idea of takfir (excommunication; declaring that someone is no longer a Muslim, but instead an infidel) in order to hurt millions of innocent Muslims around the world.

As far as the Muslim Brotherhood and the even more radical Salafist-jihadi movements are concerned, takfir means that every single Muslim who opposes their ideology, regardless of nationality, ethnic group or specific school of belief, is an "unbeliever" who should be put to death as rejecting Islam (murtad). Needless to say, the same is true for people of any other religious affiliation, such as Jews, Christians, Buddhists, etc.

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ISIS Sets Sights on the Mediterranean

by Peter Martino  •  March 2, 2015 at 4:00 am

The failed state of Libya has become easy prey for ISIS. The terrorist organization has announced that it is planning to use Libya as a gateway to Europe.

From Sabratha and Sirte, ISIS is able to launch attacks on Italy and Malta.

There is also the threat of attacks on maritime targets, such as cruise liners on the Mediterranean.

The Office of Migration in Rome confirms that there could be as many as half a million people in camps waiting to come to Italy.

ISIS terrorists prepare to murder 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya, February 2015.

Last week, Toto Martello, a spokesman for the fishermen of the Italian island of Lampedusa, sounded the alarm. "The Mediterranean is becoming the world's powder keg," he said. He demanded that the Italian government declare a state of emergency in Lampedusa and Linosa, two islands halfway between Italy and Libya. "We are frightened of our boats being boarded by terrorists," Martello said.

Last month, the Islamist terror organization ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) gained a foothold near Sirte, and shocked the world with video footage of the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians against the background of the Mediterranean Sea. The atrocity provoked Egyptian air strikes on Derna, another ISIS stronghold along the Libyan coast. This unilateral Egyptian action prompted the terror-supporting state of Qatar to recall its ambassador from Cairo.

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Netanyahu, Churchill and Congress
Trying to Avert War

by Richard Kemp  •  March 1, 2015 at 3:30 pm

There are striking similarities between the objectives of Churchill's speech nearly 75 years ago and Netanyahu's today; both with no less purpose than to avert global conflagration. And, like Churchill's in the 1930s, Netanyahu's is the lone voice among world leaders today.

There is no doubt about Iran's intent. It has been described as a nuclear Auschwitz. Israel is not the only target of Iranian violence. Iran has long been making good on its promises to mobilize Islamic forces against the US, as well as the UK and other American allies. Attacks directed and supported by Iran have killed an estimated 1,100 American troops in Iraq in recent years. Iran provided direct support to Al Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks.

Between 2010 and 2013, Iran either ordered or allowed at least three major terrorist plots against the US and Europe to be planned from its soil. Fortunately, all were foiled.

Iran's ballistic missile program, inexplicably outside the scope of current P5+1 negotiations, brings Europe into Iran's range, and future development will extend Tehran's reach to the US.

It is not yet too late to prevent Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons. In his 1941 speech to Congress, Churchill reminded the American people that five or six years previously it would have been easy to prevent Germany from rearming without bloodshed. But by then it was too late.

This vengeful and volatile regime must not in any circumstances be allowed to gain a nuclear weapons capability, whatever the P5+1 states might consider the short-term economic, political or strategic benefits to themselves of a deal with Tehran.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of U.S. Congress on May 24, 2011. (Image source: PBS video screenshot)

In a few days, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the US Congress for the third time. The only other foreign leader to have had that privilege was Winston Churchill. Like Churchill when he first spoke to Congress in December 1941, Netanyahu is taking a risk.

For Churchill the risk was to his life -- he had to make a hazardous transatlantic voyage aboard the battleship HMS Duke of York through stormy, U-boat infested waters. For Netanyahu the risk is to his own political life and to his country's relationship with the United States, given the intense presidential opposition to his speech.

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Legitimizing Iran as a Threshold Nuclear Power?

by Yaakov Lappin  •  March 1, 2015 at 5:00 am

The essential problem with the would-be deal is that it will leave Iran with an enhanced ability to enrich uranium -- an ability that can lead Iran to nuclear weapons production in a relatively short time.

The purpose of an agreement is to push Iran away from the ability to make nuclear weapons.

According to reports surfacing from the talks, the proposed arrangement will likely leave a good portion of Iran's known centrifuges, which enrich uranium, intact.

Such a deal fails to provide any guarantee that this same infrastructure will not later be used to get Iran quickly to the nuclear weapons production stage.

An agreement that would be acceptable to Israel is one in which Jerusalem would have sufficient time to respond in case Iran violates its agreement.

Under the terms of what seems to be the current agreement, however, the amount of time needed might not be adequate -- meaning that Israel may not be able to consider itself bound by the agreement.

Israel does not oppose the idea of an agreement, but it opposes the particular one apparently being advanced in the diplomatic talks.

Meanwhile, Iran continues to develop its arsenal of ballistic missiles, which could carry these nuclear warheads.

Iranian officials boast of controlling four Arab capitals.

The Arak heavy water reactor, in Iran, is capable of producing plutonium. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

The emerging Iran nuclear deal spells trouble.

For the past several months, Israeli security officials have privately been expressing concern over the emerging deal between the Obama Administration and the Iranian regime over Tehran's nuclear program.

Defense officials familiar with the complex threat posed by Iran's nuclear ambitions have sought to stay clear of political statements, instead offering straightforward explanations as to why the deal, as it appears to be forming, will pose an extremely serious problem for the security of Israel and other Middle Eastern states in the path of Iran's seemingly hegemonic aspirations.

Leaving aside the many technical details that are part of the wider picture of Iran's nuclear activities, the essential problem with the would-be deal is that it will leave Iran with an enhanced ability to enrich uranium -- an ability that can lead Iran to nuclear weapons production in a relatively short time.

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Reports: Raif Badawi may be facing the death penalty

March 1, 2015 at 4:00 am

Raif Badawi may now be facing the death penalty for apostasy in Saudi Arabia, according to reports that are surfacing.

Background on Raif Badawi:

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Being "Protected" in Turkey

by Burak Bekdil  •  March 1, 2015 at 3:00 am

You wonder why rape has become a malady in Turkey? Ask your government deputy and he will explain: Popular Turkish soap operas!

Last November, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tasked shop owners with "protecting their neighborhoods and the country themselves." A shopkeeper in Istanbul stabbed a journalist in the chest and killed him because a snowball had hit his window. A few hours earlier, the journalist had bought cat food from the shop.

Imagine a country where taking public transport or merely going to school (especially for young women) or playing with snowballs in the street can be categorized as sports of extreme danger.

Turkish members of parliament in a violent brawl, February 17, 2015. (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)

If Turkey were a person instead of a country, law enforcement authorities would probably require it to have psychiatric therapy. Pundits are asking: "What has become of us?" Good question. No one has offered a good answer.

Earlier this month about 70 members of parliament spoke at a special parliamentary session. Each speaker, from government or opposition seats, condemned the widespread violence against women in the country. The audience applauded every speaker, from government or opposition seats. There was peace in the house. Three hours after the session closed, the deputies gathered to debate a controversial security bill. Chaos ensued as a brawl broke out. The session ended after five MPs were hospitalized.

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Europe Without Jews?

by Guy Millière  •  February 28, 2015 at 5:00 am

Even if many Muslims came to Europe seeking economic opportunity, they are often defined as victims of racism and oppression. So, the thinking goes, if you are a victim of racism and oppression, how can you be racist yourself?

The Palestinians repeat almost daily that they would like to kill the Israelis, while the Israelis say they would like peace. What follows are usually bitter, politically-motivated denunciations of Israel by Europe, masquerading as human rights.

Despite the increasingly savage state of the world and an openly genocidal Iran -- soon to be nuclear, if it is not already -- Israeli leaders remain the ones Europeans love to accuse, hate and demonize.

The terrorist attacks are denounced by journalists and political leaders, but their denunciations always sound sanctimonious and thin, condemning the "anti-Semitism" they themselves have been encouraging.

In Europe today, slandering Israel is widely conveyed by European Muslims, and if a political leader or journalist does not agree with what they say, he must be a racist.

There are now 44 million Muslims in Europe.

World leaders link arms at the Paris anti-terror rally on January 11, 2015. Guy Millière writes that had it been only Jews that were been killed, there probably would have been no rally at all. (Image source: RT video screenshot)

In Europe, evoking the memory of Auschwitz has become difficult; tomorrow, it may be impossible.

The ceremony marking the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp was held on January 27 -- and will likely be the last commemoration of its kind. The Nazis wanted a Europe without Jews. They killed six million, but in their ultimate goal, they failed.

Three hundred survivors were invited; all were more than eighty years old. Although filmed testimonies will remain, there may be no more direct witnesses.

While European political leaders speak of Auschwitz with the solemn formula of "never again," it increasingly seems meaningless. Surveys show that in most European countries, including Germany, a growing number of people want to turn the page, and say they want forget about the Holocaust in a way they do not say they want to forget about, for instance, the Crucifixion.

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Austria Passes Reforms to 1912 Islam Law

by Soeren Kern  •  February 27, 2015 at 5:00 am

The new law, which the Austrian government says could serve as a model for the rest of Europe, seeks to reduce outside meddling by prohibiting foreign funding for mosques, imams and Muslim organizations in Austria. It also stresses that Austrian law must take precedence over Islamic Sharia law for Muslims living in the country.

The Turkish government has expressed outrage at the financing ban, which it says amounts to "Islamophobia."

"Countries cannot have their own version of Islam. Islam is universal and its sources are clear. ... [E]fforts taken by state leaders to create a version of Islam that is particular to their own countries are futile." — Mehmet Görmez, Head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate.

The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible. In Vienna, Muslim students already outnumber Catholic students at middle and secondary schools and are on the verge of overtaking Catholics in elementary schools.

At the same, time Austria has emerged as a major base for radical Islam.

Mehmet Görmez (left), head of the Turkish government's Religious Affairs Directorate, denounced Austria's new law and said that Austria should instead "make an effort to remove anti-Islamic sentiments and Islamophobia." Johann Rädler (right), speaking for the Austrian People's Party, said the law "guarantees Muslims more rights, and on the other hand it serves to counteract undesirable developments."

The Austrian parliament has approved controversial reforms to the country's century-old Islam Law (Islamgesetz), governing the status of Muslims in the country.

The new law, which was passed on February 25, is aimed at integrating Muslims and fighting Islamic radicalism by promoting an "Islam with an Austrian character."

Among other changes, the new law seeks to reduce outside meddling by prohibiting foreign funding for mosques, imams and Muslim organizations in Austria. It also stresses that Austrian law must take precedence over Islamic Sharia law for Muslims living in the country.

The Austrian government says the new law is a milestone and could serve as a model for the rest of Europe. But Muslim groups say it is discriminatory and have vowed to challenge it in court.

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