Sharia Law, our Catholic Identity, and the soul of Western Civilizaition

Benedict XVI has been engaged in a fight for the soul of Europe, but the scope of the war is far wider.

Catholics have a role to play.

I have often written about what I call Pope Benedict’s "Marshall Plan".  After WWII, the USA helped rebuild Europe so it would be a good trading partner and would be a bulwark against encroaching communism.

Benedict XVI is trying to revitalize our Catholic identity so that we have an effect in the world once again.  This is especially true for Europe… or as Oriana Falaci popularized it "Eurabia".  There is another encroachment going on in Europe.  Pope Benedict has been concerned about the loss of Christian identity in Europe for a very long time.  There is not only a loss of Christian identity – without which Europe is no longer Europe – but also a real threat from without: Islam.

This threat is being realized in the USA.  If it succeeds, the results will be far worse then the mere loss of Europe.

I recently starting reading The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America by former federal prosecutor and terrorism expert Andrew C. McCarthy.  I urge you to think about reading this book.  People in the UK and Europe should read it as well (a link to it on In case anyone thinks that this guy is shooting from the hip, there are 60 pages of end notes!

Now a priest reader, Fr. GR, alerted me to this on Roger’s Rules to which I add my emphases and comments:

Islam vs. the West: What you need to know

Posted By Roger Kimball On July 31, 2010

My college Greek tutor used to tell the story of his college Greek tutor, who would end every class by stepping to the blackboard, writing down two or three points, and saying, “Gentlemen, this is the irreducible minimum you should take away from this class.”

Let me emulate that example and offer the irreducible minimum you should take away from the news today. It’s from the indispensable Andy McCarthy over at National Review Online. His column is called “It’s about Sharia,” and the irreducible minimum I’d like to highlight is this striking proposition:

Islamism is not a movement to be engaged, it is an enemy to be defeated.”

Please, commit that to memory. Think of it every time someone tells you that Islam means “peace” or starts making excuses for the latest chapter in the annals of Islam’s war against the West.

For that’s what were talking about here: Islam’s war against the West. It’s not Islam’s misuse of commercial airliners, its penchant for sawing off the heads of people they disapprove of, or even its profound lack of sympathy for bacon. No, it’s Islam’s fundamental, essential  incompatibility with foundational Western values like free speech, the separation of church and state, and equality under the law. Such things are not simply missing from Islam: they are positively repudiated by Islam, a fact that is ingredient in the very word “Islam,” which, pace the multiculturalists, means not “peace” but “submission,” i.e., submission to the will of Allah.

Many well-meaning  people, I know,  will shudder when they hear this. Islam is “a great religion.” How could it be fundamentally incompatible with all those good things we like to celebrate in the West? Women’s rights, religious toleration, not to mention Chateauneuf-du-Pape and kindred potations. Aren’t we beyond all that hawkish, “divisive” talk about the “conflict of civilizations”? Very possibly — if wishes were horses, which they are not; ergo, etc.  Cf. Matthew 13:43: “He who has ears, let him hear.”

TwitterAndy’s column is a gloss on an important speech that Newt Gingrich delivered at the American Enterprise Institute a few days ago. Newt’s key insight is that we are engaged not in a war against terror but a war against Sharia, i.e., Islamic law. Would that our current masters in Washington had as clear-eyed an appreciation of the nature of the conflict in which we are immersed. “Gingrich,” Andy writes, “is going about the long-overdue business of resetting our understanding of the civilizational jihad that has been waged against the United States for some 31 years.” He continues:

The single purpose of this jihad is the imposition of sharia. On that score, Gingrich made two points of surpassing importance. First, some Islamists employ mass-murder attacks while others prefer a gradual march through our institutions — our legal, political, academic, and financial systems, as well as our broader culture; the goal of both, though, is the same. The stealth Islamists occasionally feign outrage at the terrorists, but their quarrel is over methodology and pace. Both camps covet the same outcome.

Second, that outcome is the death of freedom. In Islamist ideology, sharia is deemed to be the necessary precondition for Islamicizing a society — for Islam is not merely a religious doctrine, but a comprehensive socio-economic and political system. . . .

Sharia, moreover, is anti-equality. [Feminist on the political left are really going to love this part.  Ironic that they are working for this very thing.  True freedom for women – and everyone else – comes only from traditional Judeo-Christian values.] It subjugates women and brutally punishes transgressors, particularly homosexuals and apostates. While our law forbids cruel and unusual punishments, Gingrich observed that the brutality in sharia sanctions is not gratuitous, but intentional: It is meant to enforce Allah’s will by striking example.”

One further point. The main front in the battle between the party of freedom and the party of Jihad is not unfolding in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, or even in the colonized bits of Europe. It is here in the United States. [It is also in Europe.]  The Ayatollah Khomeini used to refer to America as “the Great Satan” not because he thought we America was the embodiment of evil (though he may well have thought that, too) but rather because America epitomized everything about the West that tempted good Muslims to abandon that which made them Muslims: their belief in, and adherence to, Sharia, i.e., a view of the world that embraced the will of Allah as the last word about, well, about everything. There is no “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” in Islam because Caesar, i.e., the secular realm, has no independent claims at all.  Allah is it and Sharia describes the implementation of his law.

Andy McCarthy and Newt are right:

The war is about the survival of Western civilization, [Absolutely.] and we should make no apologies for the fact that the West’s freedom culture is a Judeo-Christian culture — a fact that was unabashedly acknowledged, Gingrich reminded his audience, by FDR and Churchill. To ensure victory in the United States we must, once again, save Europe, where the enemy has advanced markedly.  . . .

Our allies are the Muslims who embrace our freedom culture — those for whom sharia is a matter of private belief, not public mission. Our enemies are those who want sharia to supplant American law and Western culture. When we call out the latter, and marginalize them, we may finally energize the former.”

To which I will only add, Amen. [Do I head an "Amen!"?]


We need to revitalize our Catholic identity.

To this end we need liturgical worship worthy of the name.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. shane says:

    Islamic extremists look upon the West as a den of iniquity, immorality, hedonism, infidelity, and sexual perversion. To be honest, I completely agree with them.

    Western countries abort millions of babies every year. Isn’t that just barbarous?

    Catholicism is the only bulwark against Islamic expansionism. Or any other kind of expansionism. Save a very brief period of post-war Christian Democracy (killed off by the foolish decision to allow the UK to join the European Economic Community – which de Gaulle had rightly resisted), Catholicism has been dead as a political force in most of Europe for two centuries.

    But I don’t buy the idea that Muslims will over-run Europe any time soon.

    Muslims in continental Europe (mostly north African) tend to be far more moderate than Muslims in Britain (who are mainly of Asian extraction). 35% of French Muslims believe homosexual acts are acceptable, half say they find fornication acceptable and the vast majority of French Muslims are non-practicing; Muslims of Algerian descent (the predominant French Muslim demographic) tend to be the most secular (only 6% practice). The Institut National Etudes Démographiques reports that just 23% of Muslims in France join public prayer at least five times a year, which isn’t much different from the proportion of Catholics who attend seasonal high services.

    Islam has no problem with birth control and birth rates in Islamic countries have been steadily declining. Iran now has a TFR of only 1.7 (compared to 6.5 at the Revolution) which is lower than many European countries. ­In the UAE, Tunisia, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Lebanon, the TFRs have already sank to ­near-­European levels. Algeria and Morocco have TFRs of 2.4, but are also quickly dropping to European levels. The UN World Population Prospects Report predicts that TFR in Indonesia (the world’s most populous Islamic country) for the years 2010–15 will drop to 2.02.

  2. Lynne says:

    From Atlas Shrugs


  3. Supertradmum says:

    Thank you, Father, a million times for this posting and the reference to the book. I have been reading Gingrich’s comments over the past few days, which I think are spot-on. If people think there are moderate Muslims, I believe they have been overlooking the fact that any moderate Muslim will not stop or openly criticize terrorism and absolutely will not criticize Sharia Law. Remember the silence of the moderate Muslims after 9-11?

    I have had friends in the past who were either Christian or secular marry men who they thought were highly educated moderate Muslim men, who reverted back to extremists positions. One woman lost her girls when her husband took them back to Saudi Arabia forever, divorced her there, and re-married. He had been a highly secularized Muslim, with a doctorate from a university in Germany. I am afraid also that men who may comment do not understand the horror a Catholic woman feels or senses when studying Sharia Law. No sane woman wants to be a slave.

    Thank you also for referring to the late Oriana Fallaci. God bless her and give her peace and I hope she recognized who Truth was at the end,as she was an atheist (although C. Hitchens did not like her). She was one of the first journalists and writers to see the dangers of Islam in the modern world.

  4. Leonius says:

    The Church needs to stop telling us that everyone is member of the Church and worships the one God in some vague, imperfect but good enough way, nothing has undermined the Catholic identity more than that teaching, we are not all one big happy human family.

  5. Dave N. says:

    shane–“Islamic extremists look upon the West as a den of iniquity, immorality, hedonism, infidelity, and sexual perversion.”

    Yes, I can’t imagine where in the WORLD they got this impression!

    I think one piece of this puzzle is that Islam offers what I would call an “Islamic way of life”: purity rules, strict ideas about daily prayer, strong communal identity, etc. For better or worse, people find this very compelling.

    In contrast, most understandings of Christianity (especially European ones) offer a “Christian way of life” that’s pretty milquetoast by comparison: get your babies baptized, come to church (twice a year if you’re especially pious), pray if you want, drop a few coins in the offering, try to be nice. That’s about it.

    When was the last time you saw a Christian student offering a prayer in the student lounge of a large public university? I see Muslim students doing this every day. I also see students converting to Islam. I think there’s a connection.

    As one of my professors was fond of saying “don’t assume people want their religion easy.”

    And sorry, but I’m pretty skeptical that Newt Gingrich knows much of anything about Islam. But I’ll check it out.

  6. momravet says:

    Most places in the world where islam rules also have endemic slavery. Islam/sharia is totally against everything that citizens of the United States are (used to be) taught. But like everything else in this country – including the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church in the last 50 years – has been watered down or implied that the “former” norms evil/wrong/not inclusidve enough.
    My solution to sharia law in the U.S., in particular, the odious “honor killings” are to try the offenders to the full extent of the U.S. law, execute where allowed, or place in a “Super-Max” prison for the rest of their lives where they have NO contact with the regular prison population. I would deport every one of their family members. I would also do the same to the “American” jihadists.
    We are at war with an enemy who will try to devour us, spiritually and culturally.

  7. Konichiwa says:

    “…we need liturgical worship worthy of the name”
    To this I reply, “Amen!”

  8. Geoffrey says:

    “The Church needs to stop telling us that everyone is member of the Church and worships the one God in some vague, imperfect but good enough way, nothing has undermined the Catholic identity more than that teaching, we are not all one big happy human family.”

    The Church has never taught this. Have some of her members mistakenly assumed this? Yes. I suggest reading “The Catechism of the Catholic Church”.

  9. MWindsor says:

    @Geoffrey – CCC841

  10. Chesterblc says:

    The locals I knew in Afghanistan have easy access to the hard-core porn, and regularly engage in unspeakably perverted activity (+probably about 65% of men engage in pedophilia). Their cellphones are loaded w/ porn clips, beheadings, and other ‘Faces of Death’ -type “entertainment” -v. easily accessible- they can purchase it for v. cheap at just about any corner grocery or electronics shop. They mistakenly believe Americans are even worse b/c of our relative affluence. What they identify as “iniquity, immorality, hedonism etc” in Americans is based upon an immensely distorted conception of what daily life in the states is like. But many actually love to hear about Catholicism. I think for some this is a reflection of their belief that our partaking of any sort of religious discussion is a step toward conversion to Islam–but most of them I think are genuinely receptive.

  11. MWindsor says:

    To be honest, Father, at times it certainly seems that Islam is another Babylonian exile, and that we’ve already put our heads under the scimitar.

  12. Geoffrey says:

    @MWindsor – CCC 843 & 844

  13. Supertradmum says:


    John Paul II himself stated that the Muslims and Catholics worshiped the same God, a viewpoint which is erroneously and naive at best. Allah is not the loving Father God of Judeo-Christian Revelation and obviously, as Islam is a man-made religion and not revealed, as are Judaism and Christianity, one expects heresy and gets it in the Koran.

    John Paul II’s disastrous ecumenical event in Assisi in 1986, an event I was discussing with a seminarian this morning as to why we need the doctrine of infallibility, as Neo-Con Catholics can see no wrong in any of that late Pope’s activities–that Assisi event caused much confusion and underlined, sadly, a positive view of false ecumenism. Allowing the Dalai Lama to place the statue of Buddha on the main altar in Assisi, and stating that Allah is the same god as our God (May of 1999 and other times) is “false teaching”.

  14. Supertradmum says:

    sorry for bad typing..erroneous, not ly form.

  15. Dave N. says:

    “The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth….”

  16. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Dear Supertradmum,

    Because many Jews since the beginning of the Incarnation until today have not seen that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, need not lead us to say too simply or sweepingly something like ‘Judaism is a man-made religion’ and certainly not ‘YHWH is not the loving God of Christian revelation’.

    Similarly, it would not seem necessary to exclude the possibility that Mohammed was a prophet and the Koran revealed, to account for myriad Islamic abuses.

    Something like this I understand to be the case made by the fluent-Arabic-speaking St. Paul of Antioch, Bishop of Sidon in an Arabic letter addressed to Moslem friends, and reissued subsequently in an expanded form in the name of the people of Cyprus in the High Middle Ages. It is apparently argued, for example, that the Koran supports Incarnational and Trinitarian theology and that the Moslems ought to follow this up.

    Unfortunately I have not read any of the existing translations of these works, which are not surprisingly variously controversial, so if I said more it would only be on the basis of scholarly accounts and quotations.

    There is also a modern scholar (not surprisingly writing under a pseudonym) who starts with the consonantal Koran text universally agreed upon by Moslems, but apparently reaches astonishingly different readings, including positive references to the Holy Eucharist by starting from Syriac rather than Arabic in supplying vowels.

    This is not to minimize practical and theological dangers and difficulties, but to aspire to the scrupulous avoidance of jumping to conclusions that may not be warranted.

  17. shane says:

    Modern (rabbinic) “Judaism” is not the Judaism of ancient Israel and is a mixture of divine revelation and human error. Catholicism is the true Judaism. Islam is not a revealed religion but, like Protestantism, contains elements of truth mixed with much error.

    Catholics should necessarily be skeptical of allying with non-Catholics anyway. Islam, Protestantism (of which Enlightenment Liberalism and secularism are daughters) and so-called Judaism are all enemies of the true Gospel. Dave made the point above about a loss in Catholic communal identity. Sadly so many non-Catholics, and indeed so many Catholics, see the Church Church as just another ‘expression’ of “Christianity”, as just one “denomination” in a diverse collective, rather the progenitor of the whole lot. This has lead to the very common practice among Catholics (which goes back before the Second Vatican Council) of referring to Protestants as ‘Christians’ – which, while strictly correct, can also be misleading. Calling Protestants Protestants (and it’s curious how so many Evangelicals disclaim that title) helps impress upon them the novelty of their religion and the comparative antiquity of ours. Ecumenism, aggiornamento, the New Mass, the effective abolition of catechesis, the destruction of devotions, the dropping of Friday fast (along with the other external manifestations of our religion that once visibly distinguished us from our Protestant neighbours) have all contributed to the loss of ‘passport Catholicism’. It’s no wonder that so few Catholics take any pride in their religion when that religion no longer stands for anything unique – and if people are no longer proud in their religion, it’s hard to expect them to remain in that religion. Hence we have so many Catholics converting to Protestant denominations or evangelical Protestantism. Until the 60s, the traffic travelled the opposite direction.

  18. EXCHIEF says:

    I totally agree that Islam is the enemy and needs to be destroyed. Yet we have a president who extols what he considers the virtues of Islam as a “great religion” at every opportunity. My old Jesuit logic courses would lead me to conclude that if we are to defeat Islam’s efforts to take over this country we ought to first defeat the current president and his minions.

  19. Supertradmum says:

    Venerator and shane,

    It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that there are only two revealed religions-the Jewish Religion of the Old Testament and the Catholic (Christian) Religion.

    And, yes, despite some modern theologians, the present Jewish religion is not part of the New Covenant, having rejected Christ.

    I have studied the Koran and commentaries, both Islamic, secular, Christian, and Catholic on the Koran, and the god therein is not Trinitarian. I used to teach a college level course on Islam and studied much to be exact in my presentations. As in another blog here, I recommend Inside Islam: A Guide for Catholics, by Robert Spencer and Daniel Ali, a convert from Islam. Anything by Spencer is great and his books, as well as his site, Jihad Watch, makes for engaging reading.

    Do not be lulled by anyone into thinking that Allah is the God Who revealed Himself to the patriarchs and through His Son and Holy Spirit.

  20. shane says:

    But “the Jewish Religion of the Old Testament” is not the same as the “Judaism” of today.

    “and the god therein is not Trinitarian”

    Neither is the God professed by ‘Jews’. Modern ‘Judaism’ explicitly repudiates the Holy Trinity.

  21. Supertradmum says:

    shane and Venerator,

    Again, sorry about typos. Here is Daniel Ali’s website and the link to Spencer’s:

    I also recommend Father James V. Schall’s (a priest I met and heard, who has great wisdom and scholarship)The Regensburg Lecture, as well as the Pope’s original lecture and Angelus follow-up.

  22. Supertradmum says:

    shane, that is what I said….and I think we know this…that the Jews only believe in one God and not the Trinity…

  23. jlmorrell says:

    “No, it’s Islam’s fundamental, essential incompatibility with foundational Western values like free speech, the separation of church and state, and equality under the law.”

    The separation of church and state, as understood by today’s modern democracies, is not a foundational western value.

  24. Geoffrey says:


    Can we please dispense with the tired old arch-traditionalist SSPX-Lefebvrist anti-JPII arguments regarding Assisi? For a “behind the scenes” look at that historic and obviously misunderstood event, I suggest reading “My Life With Karol” by Stanislaw Cardinal Dziwisz, Venerable Pope John Paul the Great’s personal secretary and the current Archbishop of Krakow.

    I am not an expert on Islam… it is enough of a duty studying orthodox Catholicism! However it is my understanding that there is a view that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam descend from the “one God”. Obviously, each religion views this God very differently. And I do know that “Allah” vs. the Judeo-Christian God is a legitimate debate.

    P.S. I am not a “Neo-Con Catholic”, nor am I a “traditionalist”. I think these labels are useless. I am an orthodox Roman Catholic. No more, no less.

    Ioannes Paule Magne, ora pro nobis!

  25. Agnes of Prague says:

    I have been reading Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s works. She was born in Somalia into Muslim tribal culture. She fled from the prospect of a forced marriage to Holland, where she first went to college and became more interested in Western thought (unfortunately with a big focus on the Enlightenment) and stopped being a Muslim and became an atheist.

    She wrote publicly about the evils of Islam, particularly to women (they are really treated somewhere between as non-persons or as children their whole lives, in most Muslim countries) and became a Member of Parliament there and had her life threatened to a degree that she had to have round the clock bodyguards. The situation got pretty tense and she moved to the US.

    I’ve read two of her books, “Infidel” and “Nomad.” They overlap somewhat in content but not entirely, Infidel goes into more detail about her upbringing and Nomad breaks down the problematic attitudes endemic in Muslim society. It is compelling and sad stuff. I wish that a Catholic would write an answer to her books pointing out the third way, neither Islam nor almost worship of Enlightenment ideals. So much of what she says, though, is not being said by many people, especially former Muslims who have firsthand, lifelong experience.

    She does begin to muse towards the end of “Nomad” (I haven’t quite finished) about seculars who see the dangers of Islam joining forces with the Christian churches of Europe against the pernicious influence of Islam in society.

    OK I won’t go on forever, but I hope someone else has read these books and has a comment.

  26. webpoppy8 says:

    The Muslims will not refer to Allah as Father or a person at all. That’s game over in the ‘same God’ category.

    That said, Islam could certainly be a ‘revealed religion,’ just not revealed by our loving God. I feel there is demonic activity residing in Islam.

  27. Thomas S says:

    Might I suggest we all ask for the intercession of Charles Martel, Jean Parisot de la Valette, and Don Juan of Austria?

    I know they’re not canonized or beatified, but I’d be willing to risk it.

  28. gsk says:

    Another excellent author who writes about this challenge from a Christian perspective is Mark Durie ( When you combine his research with that of Andrew McCarthy you get an accurate assessment. I firmly believe our secular approach combining multiculturalism and constitutional indifference to religion will prove incapable of dealing the Islamicists dedicated to expanding sharia (using our own laws), and that Christians are required to proclaim the very anathema Saint Paul outlined (Galatians 1:9). I beg prayers from readers as I finish a book on this topic (centered on the affront that Islam is to women in particular) since publishers are reluctant to publish on the topic…

    Shane, there is a reasonable path between the worst of the West and the alternative, which exchanges reverence for a personal God with servile fear and oppression — for as always, virtus in media stat.

    MWindsor, I think you’ve nailed it!

  29. shane says:

    “The separation of church and state, as understood by today’s modern democracies, is not a foundational western value.”

    When liberals (whether of the ‘left’ or ‘right’ wing) speak of ‘Western Civilization’ they are almost always referring to the ideals and social effects of the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Glorious Revolution, the French Revolution and (implicitly) the Protestant Reformation.

    Brendan Clifford nailed the cynicism of English liberals who object to the opposition of Islam to modern thought here

  30. S. Murphy says:

    Venerator Sti Lot

    Can you provide a bibliography? I found your comment fascinating, and would like to read more.

  31. Penguins Fan says:

    I wish John Paul hadn’t done the ecumenical “thing” at Assisi. Having said that, I tire of traditionalists who whine about it. John Paul 2 was not an infallible man, nor a very effective administrator. However, I think it is important to remember what his life was like before becoming the Holy Father and view his actions and words in that light. There is no was Karol Wojytla would have viewed Islam in the same light as Nazism or Marxism.

    I’ve said it before. My favorite heroes in history are Pelayo, Queen Isabella and King John Sobieski. Spain is overwhemingly secular now. In the eighth century the Muslims overran the entire Ibeian Peninsula save for a little piece of present day Asturias. Pelayo and a very small number of resisters vowed to retake the country. It took several centuries but they did it. Spainairds have disregarded their history and have done so at their own peril.

    It remains to be seen whether Poland will fall to the stupid wave of secularism that leads to “looking the other way” at Islam. There are relics of the Battle of Vienna in a museum in Warsaw, including a green cord the Muslim general was supposed to hang himself with, as well as some other items.

  32. Leonius says:

    Geoffrey: “The Church has never taught this. Have some of her members mistakenly assumed this? Yes. I suggest reading “The Catechism of the Catholic Church”.

    I am getting it from the catechism, the documents of Vatican II and the teaching of the current priesthood.

  33. Andrew says:

    What kind of “enemy” and what kind of “defeat” are we speaking of? Political?

  34. Roland de Chanson says:

    Mohammedanism is the new Carthage. Rome then knew the solution: Carthaginem esse delendam!

    John Paul the Confused, if not a heretic himself, was an extremely misguided individual. And he misguided many Catholics If he is ever canonized, it will signal the extinction of the Catholic Church.

    If any greater confirmation of the the essential evil of Mohammedanism is required, witness the fanatical reaction to Ratzinger’s Regensburg address. It is a damned defeat that he later prayed in the mosque at Istanbul. He ought to have exorcised Hagia Sophia! Instead he makes his proskynesis to the Ottoman garroter of the Patriarch. Shame.

    St. Louis, priez pour nous et pour l’Eglise couarde.

  35. gsk says:

    Venerator Sti Lot: The Koran repeats over and over that Jesus is not God and that God has no son. Yes, there’s a jumbling of texts from the Meccan and Medinan periods which contradict each other (Allah can contradict himself if he wants — he’s all powerful) but nothing in those scriptures give the faintest hint of nodding to the Incarnation or the Trinity. In fact, every reference to previous prophets (Abraham, Moses, Jesus, etc.) is to say what a good Muslim each was; and of course Miriam (sister of Moses AND mother of Jesus) was a good Muslima as well. The Koran is incoherent at best and insulting to the deposit of Judeo-Christian revelation. I’m not sure what part of their faith tradition the Muslims are to follow up.

  36. Geoffrey says:

    “I think it is important to remember what his life was like before becoming the Holy Father… ”

    Very well said. Venerable Pope John Paul the Great was simply trying very hard to prevent another World War and genocide due to race or religion.

    “John Paul the Confused, if not a heretic himself, was an extremely misguided individual…”

    I find is extremely arrogant to presume to judge a Pope, just because he did something unpopular and misunderstood things.

    “If he is ever canonized, it will signal the extinction of the Catholic Church…”

    Another example of how traditionalists ignore the words of Christ Himself: “Et ego dico tibi: Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo Ecclesiam meam; et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversum eam” (Mt 16, 18).

  37. gsk says:

    Agnes: I have also read Ayaan’s books and they provide an interesting window into African Muslim culture. Unfortunately, for all her gifts and remarkable courage, she has thus far been taken with “enlightenment values” as superior to religious dogmas of any kind. I wish her every blessing, but the scandal of her experience has made her very wary faith in general — which is a distinct possibility for anyone scarred by the way Islam is lived.

  38. Agnes of Prague says:

    gsk I agree with you of course. That’s what I was trying to say, but I am not aware of any person as famous who discusses what she’s discussing with the first-person testimony she has. [Although I haven’t read Immaculee I.’s book, I think she might perhaps] Actually your website does look like the kind of anecdotes Ayaan tells, except yours are about Muslim women who become Christian.

    What I mean is that Ayaan makes a number of arguments pointing out things that are wrong with Islam, but her arguments lump in things like respect for scriptural inerrancy as being un-modern. So I wish someone else would discuss her arguments who agrees with her points about Islam on the whole, but who can *stand up for the Catholic philosophical tradition* – which she really doesn’t engage – and fit that into the picture. She seems to think there was no philosophy in the West until the Enlightenment.

  39. gsk says:

    That’s the scope of the proposed book. I’ll begin with the recent martyrdom of young Fatima al-Mutairi in Saudi Arabia, killed by her family for converting to Christianity and take it from there. I do find it difficult, though, that our episcopacy is [strategically?] silent on the ravaging of Christian communities from the Middle East to Malaysia, perhaps hoping to stave off worse tragedies. Thus, they don’t encourage forthright challenges to Islam, but rather respect (which is rarely, if ever, reciprocated).

    Reminds me of the setting in Europe when the Dutch bishops spoke harshly against Hitler, which led to the arrest and martyrdom of Edith Stein and other Jewish converts. An impossible situation.

  40. boko fittleworth says:

    I used to think that the mohammedan religion was a demonic parody of the One True Faith, whereby the God of Abraham (ie, God) was mischaracterized as, inter alia, not Triune. I recently have read an article which convinced me that “Allah” is not God imperfectly understood, but rather a “moon god” (really a demon) worshipped in Arabia centuries before that fallen angel, posing as Gabriel, spewed his satanic lies to Mohammed. The clincher is the existence of the “satanic verses,” later repudiated by Mohammed, in which Mohammed proposes to allow worship of the “moon god’s” three daughters (also demons) as a compromise with the arabians whom he was trying to convert to his new false religion.

  41. Radagast the Brown says:

    This is a topic of particular frightfulness for myself. I see the muslim threat as a parallel to the trials of Israel. Israel fell into moral decay and was then subjugated by a more powerful foe for many years before finally repenting and finding salvation in a Judge sent by God. Perhaps this muslim threat is meant to be a similar lesson God wishes to teach us. Regardless of what happens to us, western civilization needs to wake up and pull itself out of this terrible hole we seem to have fallen into before we succumb to such an encroaching foe.
    I pray the Lord will protect the righteous and steer the vast numbers of lukewarm and immoral christians onto the right path towards Heaven thus making us witnesses for nonbelievers to follow. Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

  42. Clinton says:

    The West has been exporting vast sums to the oil-producing nations of the Mideast for decades now, and those oil dollars have been
    used to finance the expansion of Sharia. It will only be when the West no longer needs Mideast oil (or those reserves are exhausted)
    that those states and their kleptocrat rulers will begin to slide back into the economic, military and cultural backwater they inhabited
    a hundred years ago.

    I have no idea when we will no longer need foreign oil, but for our sake that day cannot come too soon.

  43. Kerry says:

    One hopes that no one here commenting did not yet watch the AEI video. I think one of Newt Gingrich’s great strengths is his clarity. For example, he said a law could be passed stating that no law anywhere in the U.S. may be passed endorsing sharia, period. And that our laws come from an entirely different tradition that one which says laws are fixed and any disbelief or opposition thereto is apostasy punishable by death. His remarks that sharia specifies not just death for homosexuals, but prolonged, painful death terrifies one. (And should terrify those screaming at the Catholic Church to ‘stop the hate’.) I pray the next administration embraces his viewpoint that we are at war with islamism and have “…not yet begun to fight”, and that we must be resolute and implacable against this enemy. The current occupants of Casablanca are asleep, and at war with vapors, hallucinations, and their own projections. Of course they have nothing at their sticking places but talking points and pointing fingers.

  44. KevinSymonds says:

    My eyebrow raised when I read the article on Western Civilization and equating it with doctrines such as free speech and separation of Church and State.

    Considering the fact that Pope Gregory XVI condemned the latter as an error (yes, even before Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors) in his Encyclical “Mirari Vos,” I can’t help but wonder what are the influences upon the author of the piece.


  45. Sleepyhead says:

    The Archbishop of Canterbury got himself into “a spot of bother” in 2008 because of his thoughts concerning Sharia
    And in full:

  46. Islam will be a scourge that God uses to chastise the totally decadent Western civilization, until they are converted with the help of Our Lady of Fatima and the Great Monarch.

  47. Roland de Chanson says:

    Geoffrey: I find is extremely arrogant to presume to judge a Pope, just because he did something unpopular and misunderstood things.

    By your own words, he who misunderstands is confused. Popes are not above temporal judgement. Papolatry is not only a mortal sin, it is a unthinking fool’s conceit.

    Another example of how traditionalists ignore the words of Christ Himself: …..

    Perhaps a extended period of reading the history of the papacy will cure your mendacious dogmatism. Papolaters do the Church no service; rather they are the agents of the Enemy.

  48. Geoffrey says:

    “By your own words, he who misunderstands is confused…”

    I obviously agree. Those who misunderstand JPII are confused.

    “Papolatry”… the usual argument of the disobedient. And I am well aware of the history of the papacy, thank you.

    And thank you also for labeling me as a “papolater”, a mortal sinner, and an agent “of the Enemy”. With friends like traditionalists, who needs enemies?

  49. dad29 says:

    Islam’s fundamental, essential incompatibility with foundational Western values like…the separation of church and state

    And the Church’s position on the Kingship of Christ differs……

  50. dad29 says:

    It’s also useful to remember that Gingrich is running for President. He has to have Something Scary to address besides Obama-ism.

  51. JonM says:

    Islam will be a scourge that God uses to chastise the totally decadent Western civilization, until they are converted with the help of Our Lady of Fatima and the Great Monarch.

    How true this is, Father Marie-Paul.

    I have believed for some time that the warm hug of secularism, naturalism, and humanism will result in the Lord allowing this monster in our embrace to dager us in the back. Israel was punished for apostasy, and we will be too. It is coming in a big way with the impending economic and geopolitical collapse of the United States as I see it.

    And this brings me to my next point, this business about ‘the trouble with Islam is that they do not respect the separation of relgion and state.’

    No, no, no. And NO.

    This is one of the few things Muslims have right; what they have unfortunately is a false religion yoked to their states. What we need more than ever is a return to the society in which the civil administration office is next to the Cathedral (as in the case of Habsburg New Spain.)

    Law is the product of legislating morality. Period. And so to return to something I have harped on at length…we as Catholics have to actually, gulp, Catholicize our communities. Small and large.


    All due respect, but SuperTradMom is correct. A number of John Paul II’s actions were devistating to practice of the faith. This is not us judging the man; none of us would ever, ever think to do that or want to do that. Rather this is about fairly and in line with the deposit of faith assessing public actions.

    What is a Catholic, taught by insane nuns in the 60s/70s, supposed to think in the 80s/90s when the supreme head of the Church on Earth pals around with the Buddhist leader, allows openly heretical bishops to ensconse homosexuality and non-Catholic teachings, participates in an ‘all faith event’ at Assisi (which was reprised in 2002), kisses the Koran, says that we all worship the same God, etc. etc. ?

    Precisely what one grounded in reality would anticipate: Stop attending Mass and no longer identify as Catholic, at least no more than I might identify as part Scottish.

    Here is an anecdote as to why Islam, secular and otherwise, is overtaking us like a slowly rising flood water:

    I attended a second cousin’s First Communion in New York recently.

    Horror show.

    A number of women were literally dressed for a day at the beach, the Precious Blood was dumped, the ‘homily’ centered around the white dresses and suits the young Catholics donned. Hardly anyone knew the responses (and I caught glares for voicing them.) But every single person sans 1 (me) received (glaring people became like angry projections from the smash hit film Inception)

    As a cherry on top: A month later I saw my cousin’s father at a funeral. There was a debate amongst some attendees, including the aforementioned father, about the next of kin’s live in Jewish girlfriend receiving Communion. I was specifically asked because word was out that I had converted.

    I stated that one must be a Catholic, have a basic understanding that the bread and wine become Christ’s Body, and be in a state of grace to receive. I added that it is generally expected for the host to inform his guest of the rules regarding Communion (NB: the Priest was very orthodox and stated this – and it was prompty ignored.)

    And so, cousin’s father later asked about my conversion and where I was going to Church. He then asked, before I could answer ‘the best parish in Charlotte Diocese!’, which denomination I picked. Puzzled, I thought he must mean Latin vs. Byzantine, etc. I mean, he gave a rousing speach a month ago over the importance of his daughter receiving the Body and Blood of Christ.

    No, he meant Baptist or Born Again or Methodist…or Catholic. I explained that we as Catholics must attend Mass each week and on holy days, that Protestant sects are schismatic and not Churches, etc.

    Immediately I was quized about my opinion on being baptised again; my opinion, I stated, means nothing. What does carry weight is the millenia old teaching of one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I then got lectured on ‘that’s just what the Catholic Church teaches. Born Again is actually following the Bible…’

    My heart sank because this was a perfect example of the state of affairs in the Post Vatican II Church: to so many, they actually do not see a difference between Protestant and Catholic in any meaningful sense.

    And so, when you don’t believe in anything (at least anything that is remotely coherent one week to the next), the next most potent system will come to fill the void.

    To an extent, I think Islam is filling this void, but a greater force has certainly been a revived form of Mammonism merged with a kind of sex cult. Perhaps this is losing out as Globalism and the Federal Reserve System team up to shut off the good life. We will see later this decade I think.

    But I am a solutions kind of guy, not a complainer. So what do we do?

    It is up to us to educate our kids deeply in the faith, to find traditionally-minded communities, and be strong examples. Children mold themselves to the person they see as strong and confident, not waffling and trying to please every passerby.

    So, what are our tools for the mission? I’m working on an at home curriculum in the case the Lord’s timing requires something in place: the substance of it includes:

    – Baltimore Catechism instruction
    – Making prayer a family engagement
    – Latin Mass
    – Archbishop Fulton Sheen tapes
    – Practical help in confronting everyday problems (‘Dad, should I cheat on the test because if I don’t I will be at a disadvantage since most do?’ ‘Dad, why can’t I watch this movie? Jimmy’s parents let him.’ ‘Dad, why does Biology class contradict what I learned from you?’)

    Feel free to add/subtract/opine in the combox.


    Yes, absolutely. Newt Gingrich supported a pro-abortion, pro-homosexual candidate for Representative afterhe had his conversion of heart and was received in the the Church.

    Newt and Tony are two peas in a poisoned pod. The Bishops who received them might want to examine their consciences.

  52. Geremia says:

    Section a1.4 of the top-selling book of Islamic Sharia law says:

    a1.4: The measure of good and bad […] is the Sacred Law, not reason.

    This is totalitarian, diabolic, and irrational, “For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils: but the Lord made the heavens.” (Ps. 95:5). Catholic Christians believe that the natural law,

    written in [even the Gentiles’] hearts,

    Romans 2:16

    “is a participation in us of the eternal law,” of the Divine law (Summa Theologica Iª-IIae q. 91 a. 4 arg. 1). A gloss on this verse says: “‘written in their hearts,’ as to the existence of a God [and that] their reason tells them that many sins are unlawful.” Moral law is founded on reason and perfected by faith; grace builds on nature. Muslims apparently think that Allah and Sharia law is so far above human reason that it can even contradict it. It is no wonder Sharia law also condemns as

    a7.2 Unlawful knowledge […] (2) philosophy […] (5) the science of the materialists […] (6) and anything that is a means to create doubts (n: in eternal truths).

    Of course truth to Muslims must means whatever Allah’s messengers say, a sort of relativism of truth. It is within this context of faith and reason that Pope Benedict so skillfully gave his Regensburg lecture in 2006 which affirmed that the Trinity, ?????, is the God of reason.

  53. Bornacatholic says:

    For over 13 centuries, Islam has been an implacable enemy of The Catholic Church and Christianity. Anybody with a computer can read the texts of Islam online at the University of Southern California:

    As the Old Catholic Encyclopedia notes: (Mohammed and Mohammedism) …In matters political Islam is a system of despotism at home and aggression abroad. The Prophet commanded absolute submission to the imâm. In no case was the sword to be raised against him. The rights of non-Moslem subjects are of the vaguest and most limited kind, and a religious war is a sacred duty whenever there is a chance of success against the “Infidel”. Medieval and modern Mohammedan, especially Turkish, persecutions of both Jews and Christians are perhaps the best illustration of this fanatical religious and political spirit.

    Islam, by its nature, is irreformable; and when he was known as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the great intellect made that known:

    Serge Trifkovic is correct – Mohammed was part John Gotti, part David Koresh.

    A few quotes from the putative words of God from the Koran:

    “Slay the idolaters” Qur’an 9:5

    “The spoils of war belong to Allah and his messenger” Qur’an 8:1

    “I will cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers” Qur’an 8:12

    “You will soon be invited to fight against a nation of mighty prowess. Fight them until they submit” Qur’an 48:16

    “Strike off their heads” Qur’an 8:12

    “Besiege them” Qur’an 9:5

    “Strike off every fingertip of them” Qur’an 8:12

    “Fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah” Qur’an 8:39

    “Fight those who do not believe in Allah” Qur’an 9:29

    “Urge the believers to war” Qur’an 8:65

    “Until they pay the tax, acknowledge superiority, and are in a state of subjection” Qur’an 9.29

    “Permission to fight is given to those upon whom war is made because they are oppressed” Qur’an 22:39

    “Take then captives” Qur’an 9:5

    “So when you battle the unbelievers, then smite their necks until you have overcome them, and then make them prisoners” Qur’an 47:4

    “Fighting is enjoined on you, and it is an object of dislike to you; and it may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you” Qur’an 22:16

    “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and his messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is that they should be killed or crucified, or their hands and feet should be cut off on opposite sides, or they should be imprisoned” Qur’an 5:33

    “Lie in wait for them in every ambush” Qur’an 9:5

  54. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    My apologies for not returning to the discussion until now.

    In case any of you look in again:

    Dear Supertradmum:

    Thank you for the references. Thank you also for your references and remarks on other posts in relation to Islam, from which I have gratefully learned.(I visit Jihad Watch periodically with interest and edification.) It is a while since I last reread ‘Dominus Iesus’ – I have only taken the time to skim it again, now, but I am not sure which passages you are particularly thinking of. Could you cite in more detail? It seems odd to me to describe “the Jewish Religion of the Old Testament and the Catholic (Christian) Religion” as “two revealed religions” as though they were somehow separate, but perhaps you mean to note ‘distinctions’ without ‘separation’.

    When you say “the Jews only believe in one God and not the Trinity” would you be equally ready to say something like “the Jews only believe in the Oneness/Unity without seeing the Threeness/Trinity of the Truly and Eternally Triune Adonai YHWH Elohim”?

    Dear Bornacatholic:

    Thank you for the usc link/references. I do not immediately see what translation of the Qu’ran they give first. I cannot read Arabic and have not read and studied completely any of the three translations I have in book form. I have not yet attempted to look at your quotations in context, comparing translations. I also have not yet read widely in any translation of a collection of the hadith.

    Dear S. Murphy:

    Concerning St. Paul of Antioch, Bishop of Sidon (active somewhere between 1027-1232 AD [!]):

    Herman Teule, “Paul of Antioch’s Attitude Towards the Jews and the Muslims: His ‘Letter to the Nations and the Jews'”, in B. Roggema, M. Poorthuis, P. Valkenberg (eds.), ‘The Three Rings’ (Leuven/Dudley, MA: Peeters, 2005), 91-110 [a very good article, with abbreviated translation of the letter mentioned]

    An edition of his letters with French translation: Paul Khoury, ‘Paul d’Antioch’ (Beirut, 1964) [I have never seen this, and my French probably would not be good enough, if I had]

    A German translation of three disputed treatises Khoury thinks were written by an imitator but Teule thinks authentic: G. Graf, “Philosophisch-theologische Schriften des Paulus al-Râhib […]”, ‘Jahrbuch für Philosophie und Spekulative Theologie’, 20 (1906), 162-72

    Muzammil H. Siddiqi, “Muslim and Byzantine Christian Relations: Letter of Paul of Antioch and Ibn Taymiyah’s Response”, in N.M. Vaporis (ed.), ‘Orthodox Christians and Muslims’ (Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1986), 33-45 [the first thing I read: it was not clear to me that he distinguished between St. Paul’s original letter, and the expanded ‘Cyprus’ version]

    ‘Muslim-Christian Polemic during the Crusades. The Letter from the People of Cyprus and Ibn Abi Talib al-Dimashqi’s Response’, ed. R.Y.Ebied and David Thomas (Leiden: Brill, 2005) [an annotated ed. of the expanded letter, etc.: I ran into an article on internet of which I do not have the details before me by David Thomas about St. Paul of Antioch’s ‘Letter to a Muslim Friend’ which seem learned but hostile to St. Paul of A.]

    Another interesting source is “the earliest connected account of the career of the Prophet, given in an Armenian chronicle written in the 660s and ascribed to Bishop Sebeos”[!] in the words of P. Crone and M. Cook in ‘Hagarism’ (Cambridge UP, 1980 paperback of 1977 ed.), where they translate the relevant passage (pp. 6-7). The whole chronicle is now translated and annotated by Robert W. Thomson, ‘Armenian History Attributed to Sebeos’ (Liverpool UP, 1999), which would allow one to read it in full context, but I have not yet read it, myself.

    ‘Sebeos’, who apparently draws on eye-witnesses for some of his chronicle, and knows all about Moslem persecution of Christians, describes Mohammed as one who “presented himself to them [the Ishmaelites, of whom he was one] as though at God’s command […] and taught them to know the God of Abraham, for he was […] very well-acquainted with the story of Moses. As the command came from on high, they […], abandoning vain cults, returned to the living God who had revealed Himself to their father Abraham.”

    How much of a red-herring it may or may not be, it is worth noting that ‘Allah’ is regularly used by Arabic-speaking and by Indonesian Christians to refer to Our Tiune Lord God and Malayan Christians have been battling in court for the right to go on doing so.

  55. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Dear S. Murphy:

    I forgot to note ‘Christoph Luxenberg’, the pseudonymous Syriac scholar: here is a link to a review:

  56. S. Murphy says:

    Venerator –


  57. DHippolito says:

    If Benedict truly wishes to revitalize European Catholicism vis-a-vis Islam, he should begin with his own Church.

    1. He should discourage, if not end entirely, the practice of diocese and archdiocese selling church property to Muslims (

    2. He should reprimand publicly those bishops and theologians who criticize converts leaving Islam (

    3. He should teach the Church the real meaning of jihad (

    4. He should re-examine the “ecumenical” relationship with Islam (see Alain Becancon’s article in the May 2004 edition of Commentary magazine, “What Sort Of Religion Is Islam?”

    Quoting The American Spectator’s Tom Bethell:

    “Benedict XVI understands that Catholicism is in trouble in Europe, but has not yet shown that he has the courage to do anything about it.”

  58. DHippolito says:

    Moreover, the American bishops should oppose strenuously the building of a mosque at Ground Zero in New York. It is an insult to the innocent dead.

  59. Supertradmum says:

    I found a new interesting site, via Jihad Watch. Worth seeing

  60. Jim of Bowie says:

    I have read the first two chapters. Scary. A must read.

  61. Bornacatholic says:

    Dear V. S. L.

    You write – Thank you for the usc link/references. I do not immediately see what translation of the Qu’ran they give first. I cannot read Arabic and have not read and studied completely any of the three translations I have in book form. I have not yet attempted to look at your quotations in context, comparing translations. I also have not yet read widely in any translation of a collection of the hadith. and so I assume you think the Koran must be read in Arabic.

    I do not think the Koran – the very words of God (accrd to Islam) – makes that demand. Perhaps you can post the relevant Sura for us.

    I do know that online Islmai sources do not insisit the Koran be read in Arabic

  62. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Dear Bornacatholic:

    My apologies for not answering sooner: I have been away!

    My first concern is scholarly: no translation is the same as, or can replace, a text. Where I cannot work with a language at all, I try to approach it through as literal a translation as I can find, or more than one, if possible; if I can puzzle along with a language (such as, in descending order, Latin, Greek, and – almost infinitely farther down the competence scale – Hebrew), I try to combine that with translations. The Hebrew Bible and the Septuagint (LXX) present an interesting case (not all Christians regard the LXX as merely a translation of a/the Hebrew original), but no translation can strictly replace either. (I do not think the Council of Trent claims that the Vulgate does exactly that, but I would have to do some homework to be sure what exactly was said there.) And obviously a native speaker – of Greek or Arabic – or a life-long fluent speaker and reader of Latin – will get more out of LXX, the Koran/Qu’ran, or the Vulgate than I.

    So, I want to get as close as a non-Arabist can to what the Koran says.

    My impression, in general, is that (many? most?) Arabic-speaking Moslems assume things that (as I understand on the statements of scholars) the Arabic text does actually say in so many words.

    As far as I know, it is a disputed point among Moslems whether one can only read the Koran in Arabic, or not. Pickthall, who published the first English translation by a Moslem (albeit a non-native-Arabic-speaking convert), did not think so, and yet also called his translation ‘The Meaning […]’. According to Siddiqi in the article I mention, the hugely influential Ibn Taymiyah did not think so, either. For what it is worth, I would be inclined to agree with them.

  63. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    To give a couple examples of things I wish I knew Arabic to be able to ‘see for myself’:

    Emilio Platti, O.P. says Isaac is mentioned in the Koran 17 times, Ishmael, 12, and has an interesting discussion of the fact that the Koran nowhere explicitly says which of the sons Abraham was about to sacrifice when prevented by the Angel: apparently many early Moslem commentators (e.g., from the 8th, 10th, and 12th centuries AD) were convinced it was Isaac, whereas there is a widespread modern Moslem consensus that it was Ishmael, with editors of the earlier commentaries left to see what they make of that, and some (many?) modern Moslem academics taking the expedient of cheerfully trashing the early commentators as Judaizers, etc., rather than tackling the evidence. (The way I summarize this is my own, not Platti’s.)

    Lous Gardet,O.P. translates a “famous” verse from the fourth Sura “They have neither killed him nor crucified him, but it merely appeared so to them” (my translation of Hiensch’s translation of the French original!)- and then notes a Shi’ite tradition that glosses this “they have not killed his soul, but his body”, adding “but Islam on the whole keeps to a rather docetic exegesis”.

    The whole of ‘Christoph Luxenberg’s’ argumentation.

    In these three cases knowing Arabic would not mean I had no work to do: it would mean I could really do the work of checking the texts and arguments myself.

    If it were a matter of a quotation from Shakespeare, or ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’, or ‘Beowulf’, I could check it out for myself, knowing those phases of the language well enough to work with them. With Arabic, I can only compare what Arabic-speakers say.

  64. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I see in my 12 Aug. at 4:46 pm comment I left out an important ‘not’! For the sake of accuracy:

    It should read “assume things that […]the Arabic text does not actually say in so many words.”

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