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Jesus in Islam


 

“Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter, he is of those nearest to Allah”;

By: Sadullah Khan
Islamic Center of Irvine* –

“Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter, he is of those nearest to Allah”; [Qur’an 3:45]

Belief in Prophets (May Allah’s Peace be upon all of them)

Islam emphasizes the universality of the institution of prophethood. According to the Qur’an, there is not a single nation in the world to which a prophet has not appeared sometime in history: “There is not a people but a warner has gone among them” [Q35:24]. And again: “For every nation there is a messenger” [Q10:47]

The Qur’an mentions about 25 of the Biblical Prophets by name [Q4:163] and we are further told that there have been prophets besides those mentioned in the Qur’an: “And We sent messengers We have mentioned to thee before, and messengers We have not mentioned to thee” [Q4:164] .

 It is an Islamic article of Faith to believe …

 in all Prophets; from Adam through Abraham, Moses, Jesus to Muhammad (peace be upon them) [Q2:184] 

 all Prophets were models of excellence who were commissioned to guide humankind [Q2:213]

 the mission of Prophets was to establish justice for all [Q57:25] 

 that Prophets were the embodiments of Righteousness; 

“And Zachariah, John, Jesus and Elijah;

all of these were of the most Righteous.” [Q6:85] 

It is an accepted fact in Islam that the struggle and legacy of the prophets (peace be upon them) serve as universal guides, excellent examples and as sources of hope and inspiration. 

Status of Maryam/Mary

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a prominent figure in Islam and the only woman mentioned by name in the Qur’an. The Qur’an upholds Mary as one of the four perfect examples of womanhood [Q66:12] . Mary is mentioned more times and more biographical information about her is contained in the Qur’an than in the entire New Testament.

The birth of Jesus Christ is described in twice in the Qur’an – chapter 3 and chapter 19. Reading from the beginning of his birth, we come across the story of Mary, and the esteemed position which she occupies in the House of Islam, before the actual annunciation of the birth of Jesus is made.

The Qur’anic account of Mary includes the pregnancy of her mother, Mary’s birth and the annunciations of the coming birth of Jesus: “Remember how she preserved her chastity, into whom We breathed a life from Us, and made her and her son a token for humankind” [Q21:91]. The Qur’an teaches that Mary is to be revered because she completely submitted herself to God’s will, even though it meant that her own family would accuse her of unchastity when it was discovered that she was pregnant [Q19:16-21] .

 The mother of Jesus (peace be upon them) is accorded highest respect and considered as among the most noble in the estimation of Allah. [Q3:33] Behold! the angels said: O Mary! Allah has chosen you and purified you, chosen you above the women of all nations.” [Q3:42] 

 The entire chapter 19 titled Maryam/Mary in the Qur’an and another (chapter 3) is titled Al-‘Imran after the family of Mary.

 Jesus /’Isa referred to 9 times in the Qur’an as ‘Isa and 16 times as ‘Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus son of Mary)

 Mary is considered chaste, virtuous, receiver of God’s spirit, a testimony to the veracity of God’s message and piously obedient [Q66:11] 

 Jesus (pbuh) himself is recorded as saying about his respected mother, 

Uniqueness of Jesus (pbuh)

Virgin birth -The Qur’an gives an account of the birth of Jesus in chapter 3. Mary is described as being a virgin, chosen by God, and considered with great honor. “Behold! the angels said: O Mary! Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary.” [Q3:45] . Verse 47 relates the response of and to Mary, “She said: O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me? He said: ‘Even so: Allah creates what He wills: When He has decreed a plan, He merely says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is!” The Qur’an thus affirms and Muslims believe that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. The birth is seen as a sign (ayah) of Allah’s power and as a miraculous event. And Muslims have a high regard also for Mary. However, the Qur’an presents Jesus as the son of Mary and not as the Son of God, a significant point particularly emphasized.

 Like Adam (pbuh) -Though the unique birth of Jesus with one parent is no indication of divinity just as Adam’s creation was without any parentage [Q3:59] . 

Messiah -It is obvious that Jesus holds an exalted place within Islam. Some of the honorable epithets of Jesus (pbuh) mentioned in the Qur’an are … prophet / nabi, messenger of God / rasul, of the Righteous / min-as-salihin, word of Allah / kalimatu-Llah), spirit from God / ruhun mina’ Llah, positive sign/symbol for humanity / aayatun lin- naas, mercy from God / rahmatan minna, the son of Mary / ibne Maryam, eminent in this world and the next / wajihan fid-dunya wal-aakhirah, and most unique of all… the Messiah / masih. 

 Miracles -The Qur’an speaks of Jesus possessing intellect and eloquence in childhood [Q19:30] and documents some of Jesus’ miracles, including curing the sick, restoring the sight of the    blind and reviving the dead, with God’s permission [Q5:110] . 

The Qur’an specifically mentions two miracles which the Bible does not contain; 

1. The Qur’an records Jesus as an infant verbally defending Mary’s innocence [Q19:27-35]. In Surah 19:27-34, Jesus speaks from the cradle to state his mission. Jesus said, “I am indeed a servant of Allah Who has given me revelation and made me a prophet.” 

2. The Qur’an [Q5:110] also reports that Jesus formed a bird out of clay, and blew into it, and it came to life and flew away.

This last miracle is not recorded in the canonical New Testament but does appear in the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas.

It must be remembered that all miracles / mu’jizah performed by prophets (pbuh) are done through the agency of the prophets but by the power and authority of God. Jesus’ miracles too are considered basically in the line of his being a prophet and in God’s enabling and permitting him to do so. The Qur’an thus stresses the fact that the miracles of Jesus were performed by the permission and power of God [Q5:110] .

No Easter Commemoration

Millions of Christians commemorate the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus (pbuh), and this begs the question that if Jesus is important to Muslims, why do Muslims then not commemorate Easter. Though Muslims accept Jesus (pbuh) as a great prophet, revere his exemplary mother Mary, and believe that Jesus is the Messiah; Muslims do not accept the major concepts that are central to the commemoration of the Easter weekend. Among these concepts are…

Divine Incarnation and Trinity [Q4:171][Q112:1-4] -Allah is ONE in an absolute sense, no one shares in His Lordship nor in His divinity; nothing is equal or comparable to God. This is in keeping with the command, “and Jesus answered him, the first of all the commandment is, Hear, O Israel; The LORD our God is One LORD.” [Mark 12:29]. In promoting a great human such as Jesus (pbuh) to divinity, does not elevate Jesus as much as it minimizes the concept of the divine; is not making the finite infinite as much as making the perfect imperfect; not an elevation of Jesus, but rather a devaluation of the Divine.

Crucifixion -Christ, according to Muslim belief, did NOT die on a cross [Q4:157] but was rather elevated by Allah and saved from being killed [Q4:158].

Resurrection -Not having died, Jesus could NOT have been resurrected [Q4:156].

Inherited Sinfulness [Q2:285] -Babies are born pure and no one is born bearing the sin of any one and no one bears the burden of another [Q17:15] . 

Redemption / Atonement -Muslims do not believe in the doctrine of Original Sin, so there is no theological need for the all-atoning sacrifice of Jesus through his crucifixion and resurrection. Muslims further believe that each person will be held accountable before God for his/her own actions and thus responsible for their own salvation. Therefore, we will not be able to rely upon anyone else, not even Jesus or Muhammad, to save us from our sins. Sins are those acts we deliberately incur by our choice of actions, we are responsible and hence personally accountable. In Islam there is no notion of redemption for one’s sin by another. Each one is accountable for himself/herself [Q99:7-8] and for each person according to his/her personal striving [Q2:286] .

Jesus is …

Jesus denied by some as a fictional character, accused of being an illegitimate child by some, misconceived as divine by many; considered as a Prophet and Messiah in Islam. People do have differing perspectives on Jesus’ life and teachings, but his spiritual legacy, as a righteous and principled guide, his mission as a Prince of Peace offers an alternative opportunity for people of faith to recognize their shared religious heritage. 

Allah bears testimony to the truthfulness of Jesus; his mission, character, status and his very being. “Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: a statement of truth, about which people dispute.” [Q19:34]. 

All sincere ones would do well to reflect on the verse in the Quran reaffirming Islam’s eternal message of spiritual unity: “Say: ‘We believe in God and the revelation given to us and to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and message given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to all Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and it is unto Him that we surrender ourselves.” [Q2:136]

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2007 in Articles

 

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Ten commandments from the Bible and Quran

By: Majd Arbil
IslamiCity* –

The Ten Commandments
(Exodus 12: 1-17 & Deuteronomy 5: 6-21)
The Quran
(Chapter: Verse)
1. Thou shall not take any God except one God. 1. There is no God except one God (47:19) 
2. Thou shall make no image of God.  2. There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him (42:11) 
3. Thou shall not use God’s name in vain.  3. Make not God’s name an excuse to your oaths (2:224) 
4. Thou shall honor thy mother and father.  4. Be kind to your parents if one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not a word of contempt nor repel them but address them in terms of honor. (17:23) 
5. Thou shall not steal. 5. As for the thief, male or female, cut off his or her hands, but those who repent After a crime and reform shall be forgiven by God for God is forgiving and kind. (5:38 – 39) Note
6. Thou shall not lie or give false testimony.  6. They invoke a curse of God if they lie. (24:7) Hide not the testimony (2:283) 
7. Thou shall not kill. 7. If anyone has killed one person it is as if he had killed the whole mankind (5:32) 
8. Thou shall not commit adultery.  8. Do not come near adultery. It is an indecent deed and a way for other evils. (17:32) 
9. Thou shall not covet thy neighbors wife or possessions.  9. Do good to your parents, relatives and neighbors. (4:36) Saying of the Prophet Muhammad (P) “One of the greatest sins is to have illicit sex with your neighbors wife”. 
10. Thou shall keep the Sabbath holy. 10. When the call for the Friday Prayer is made, hasten to the remembrance of God and leave off your business. (62:9)

Similarities between the Quran and the Bible

There are a number of similarities between the Quran and the Bible. Some critics of Islam contend that the former has been copied from the latter. In fact the similarities gives evidence that both of them are based on a common source from which all divine revelations came from – the one Universal God.

There are four revelations of God that have been mentioned by name in the Quran: Taurah, Zaboor, Injeel and Quran.

  • Taurah was reveled to Moses .
  • Zaboor was reveled to David .
  • Injeel was reveled to Jesus .
  • Quran was reveled as the final and complete message to Muhammad .

It is an article of faith for every Muslim to believe in all the Prophets of God and all revelations of God.

The present day Bible has the first five books of the old Testament attributed to Moses and the Psalms attributed to David .

The New Testament or the four Gospels of the New testament are not the Taurah, the Zaboor or the Injeel, which the Quran refers to.

The original texts of the New Testament were written in Koine Greek by various authors after c. 45 AD and before c. 140 AD. Its books were gradually collected into a single volume over a period of several centuries. They include a collection of books and letters about Jesus’ life. It begins with the four gospels, accounts of Jesus’ life from four different points of view. They are followed by an account of the earliest church (Acts of the Apostles), and then 21 letters, (13 of which are attributed to Paul) and the Revelation of John.

According to Islamic belief, these books of the present day Bible may partly contain the word of God but these books are not the exact revelations that were reveled to Moses, David or Jesus . The following two verses of the Quran address this issue.

And, behold, among the followers of earlier revelation there are indeed such as [truly] believe in God, and in that which has been bestowed from on high upon you as well as in that which has been bestowed upon them. Standing in awe of God, they do not barter away God’s messages for a trifling gain. They shall have their reward with their Sustainer – for, behold, God is swift in reckoning! (Quran 3:199)

And, behold, there are indeed some among them who distort the bible with their tongues, so as to make you think that [what they say] is from the bible, the while it is not from the bible; and who say, “This is from God,” while it is not from God: and thus do they tell untruths about God, being well aware [that it is false]. (Quran 3:78)

The Quran refers to all the different Prophets of God as belonging to one single brotherhood. All the prophets had a similar mission and the same basic message.

The Prophet believe in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers; they all believe in God and His Angels and His Books and His Prophets. Say, We make no difference between any of His prophets. And they say: We hear, and we obey: (We seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys. (Quran 2:285 )

Because of this, the fundamental teachings of the major faiths cannot be contradictory. The differences which exist between various religions are not because the Prophets preached a different message, but it is because the followers of these Prophets, over a period of time, forgot part of what they had been taught, and furthermore, misinterpreted the scriptures.

Reference:

Is the Quran God’s Word – Part 6 By Dr. Zakir Naik

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2007 in Articles

 

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Muhammad in the Bible

Those who follow the Apostle, the unlettered Prophet, Whom they find mentioned in their own Scriptures, in the Torah and the Gospel… (Holy Qu’ran: VII – 157; Translation: Yusif Ali)

BIBLE PROPHECIES ABOUT THE ADVENT OF MUHAMMAD

Abraham is widely regarded as the Patriarch of monotheism and the common father of the Jews, Christians and Muslims. Through His second son, Isaac, came all Israelite prophets including such towering figures as Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon and Jesus. May peace and blessings be upon them all. The advent of these great prophets was in partial fulfillment of God’s promises to bless the nations of earth through the descendents of Abraham (Genesis12:2-3). Such fulfillment is wholeheartedly accepted by Muslims whose faith considers the belief in and respect of all prophets an article of faith.

BLESSINGS OF ISHMAEL AND ISAAC

Was the first born son of Abraham (Ishmael) and his descendants included in God’s covenant and promise? A few verses from the Bible may help shed some light on this question;

  1. Genesis 12:2-3 speaks of God’s promise to Abraham and his descendants before any child was born to him.

  2. Genesis 17:4 reiterates God’s promise after the birth of Ishmael and before the birth of Isaac.

  3. In Genesis, ch. 21. Isaac is specifically blessed but Ishmael was also specifically blessed and promised by God to become “a great nation” especially in Genesis 21:13, 18.

  4. According to Deuteronomy 21:15-17 the traditional rights and privileges of the first born son are not to be affected by the social status of his mother (being a “free” woman such as Sarah, Isaac’s mother, or a “Bondwoman” such as Hagar, Ishmael’s mother). This is only consistent with the moral and humanitarian principles of all revealed faiths.

  5. The full legitimacy of Ishmael as Abraham’s son and “seed” and the full legitimacy of his mother, Hagar, as Abraham’s wife are clearly stated in Genesis 21:13 and 16:3. After Jesus, the last Israelite messenger and prophet, it was time that God’s promise to bless Ishmael and his descendants be fulfilled. Less than 600years after Jesus, came the last messenger of God, Muhammad, from the progeny of Abraham through Ishmael. God’s blessing of both of the main branches of Abraham’s family tree was now fullfilled. But are there additional corroborating evidence that the Bible did in fact foretell the advent of prophet Muhammad?

MUHAMMAD: The Prophet Like Unto Moses

Long time after Abraham, God’s promise to send the long-awaited Messenger was repeated this time in Moses’ words.
In Deuteronomy 18:18, Moses spoke of the prophet to be sent by God who is:

  1. From among the Israelite’s “brethren”, a reference to their Ishmaelite cousins as Ishmael was the other son of Abraham who was explicitly promised to become a “great nation”.

  2. A prophet like unto Moses. There were hardly any two prophets ,who were so much alike as Moses and Muhammad. Both were given comprehensive law code of life, both encountered their enemies and were victors in miraculous ways, both were accepted as prophets/statesmen and both migrated following conspiracies to assassinate them. Analogies between Moses and Jesus overlooks not only the above similarities but other crucial ones as well (e.g. the natural birth, family life and death of Moses and Muhammad but not of Jesus, who was regarded by His followers as the Son of God and not exclusively a messenger of God, as Moses and Muhammad were and as Muslim belief Jesus was).

THE AWAITED PROPHET WAS TO COME FROM ARABIA

Deuteronomy 33:1-2 combines references to Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. It speaks of God (i.e. God’s revelation) coming from Sinai, rising from Seir (probably the village of Sa’ir near Jerusalem) and shining forth from Paran. According to Genesis 21:21, the wilderness of Paran was the place where Ishmael settled (i.e. Arabia, specifically Mecca).

Indeed the King James version of the Bible mentions the pilgrims passing through the valley of Ba’ca (another name of Mecca) in Psalms 84:4-6.

Isaiah 42:1-13 speaks of the beloved of God. His elect and messenger who will bring down a law to be awaited in the isles and who “shall not fail nor be discouraged till he have set judgement on earth.” Verse 11, connects that awaited one with the descendants of Ke’dar. Who is Ke’dar? According to Genesis 25:13, Ke’dar was the second son of Ishmael, the ancestor of prophet Muhammad.

MUHAMMAD’S MIGRATION FROM MECCA TO MEDINA: PROPHECIED IN THE BIBLE?

Habakkuk 3:3 speaks of God (God’s help) coming from Te’man (an Oasis North of Medina according to J. Hasting’s Dictionary of the Bible), and the holy one (coming) from Paran. That holy one who under persecution migrated from Paran (Mecca) to be received enthusiastically in Medina was none but prophet Muhammad.

Indeed the incident of the migration of the prophet and his persecuted followers is vividly described in Isaiah 21:13-17. That section foretold as well about the battle of Badr in which the few ill-armed faithful miraculously defeated the “mighty” men of Ke’dar, who sought to destroy Islam and intimidate their own folks who turned -to Islam.

THE QUR’AN (KORAN) FORETOLD IN THE BIBLE?

For twenty-three years, God’s words (the Qur’an) were truely put into Muhammad’s mouth. He was not the “author” of the Qur’an. The Qur’an was dictated to him by Angel Gabriel who asked Muhammad to simply repeat the words of the Qur’an as he heard them. These words were then committed to memory and to writing by those who hear them during Muhammad’s life time and under his supervision.

Was it a coincidence that the prophet “like unto Moses” from the “brethren” of the Israelites (i.e. from the lshmaelites) was also described as one in whose mouth God will put his words and that he will speak in the name of God, (Deuteronomy 18:18-20). Was it also a coincidence the “Paraclete” that Jesus foretold to come after Him was described as one who “shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak (John 16:13)

Was it another coincidence that Isaiah ties between the messenger connected with Ke’dar and a new song (a scripture in a new language) to be sang unto the Lord (Isaiah 42:10-11). More explicitly, prophesies Isaiah “For with stammering lips, and another tongue, will he speak to this people” (Isaiah 28:11). This latter verse correctly describes the “stammering lips” of Prophet Muhammad reflecting the state of tension and concentration he went through at the time of revelation. Another related point is that the Qur’an was revealed in piece-meals over a span of twenty three years. It is interesting to compare this with Isaiah 28:10 whichspeaks of the same thing.

THAT PROPHET- PARACLETE- MUHAMMAD

Up to the time of Jesus (peace be upon him), the Israelites were still awaiting for that prophet like unto Moses prophecied in Deuteronomy 18:18. When John the Baptist came, they asked him if he was Christ and he said “no”. They asked him if he was Elias and he said “no”. Then, in apparent reference to Deuteronomy 18:18, they asked him “Art thou that Prophet” and he answered, “no”. (John 1: 1 9-2 1).

In the Gospel according to John (Chapters 14, 15, 16) Jesus spoke of the “Paraclete” or comforter who will come after him, who will be sent by Father as another Paraclete, who will teach new things which the contemporaries of Jesus could not bear. While the Paraclete is described as the spirit of truth, (whose meaning resemble Muhammad’s famous title Al-Amin, the trustworthy), he is identified in one verse as the Holy Ghost (John 14:26). Such a designation is however inconsistent with the profile of that Paraclete. In the words of the Dictionary of the Bible, (Ed. J. Mackenzie) “These items, it must be admitted do not give an entirely coherent picture.”

Indeed history tells us that many early Christians understood the Paraclete to be a man and not a spirit. This might explain the followings who responded to some who claimed, without meeting the criteria stipulated by Jesus, to be the awaited “Paraciete”.

It was Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who was the Paraclete, Comforter, helper, admonisher sent by God after Jesus. He testified of Jesus, taught new things which could not be borne at Jesus’ time, he spoke what he heard (revelation), he dwells with the believers (through his well-preserved teachings). Such teachings will remain forever because he was the last messenger of God, the only Universal Messenger to unite the whole of humanity under God and on the path of PRESERVED truth. He told of many things to come which “came to pass” in the minutest detail meeting, the criterion given by Moses to distinguish between the true prophet and the false prophets (Deuteronomy 18:22). He did reprove the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment (John 16:8-11)

WAS THE SHIFT OF RELIGIOUS LEADERSHIP PROPHESIED?

Following the rejection of the last Israelite prophet, Jesus, it was about time that God’s promise to make Ishmael a great nation be fulfilled (Genesis 21:13, 18)

In Matthew 21:19-21, Jesus spoke of the fruitless fig tree (A Biblical symbol of prophetic heritage) to be cleared after being given a last chance of three years (the duration of Jesus’ ministry) to give fruit. In a later verse in the same chapter, Jesus said: “Therefore, say I unto you, The Kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruit thereof” (Matthew 21:43). That nation of Ishmael’s descendants (the rejected stone in Matthew 21:42) which was victorious against all super-powers of its time as prophesied by Jesus: “And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (Matthew 21:44).

OUT OF CONTEXT COINCIDENCE?

Is it possible that the numerous prophecies cited here are all individually and combined out of context misinterpretations? Is the opposite true, that such infrequently studied verses fit together consistently and clearly point to the advent of the man who changed the course of human history, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Is it reasonable to conclude that all these prophecies, appearing in different books of the Bible and spoken by various prophets at different times were all coincidence? If this is so here is another strange “coincidence”!

One of the signs of the prophet to come from Paran (Mecca) is that he will come with “ten thousands of saints” (Deuteronomy 33:2 KJV). That was the number of faithful who accompanied Prophet Muhammad to Paran (Mecca) in his victorious, bloodless return to his birthplace to destroy the remaining symbols of idolatry in the Ka’bah.

Says God as quoted by Moses:

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. (Deuteronomy 18:19)


About the author:

Dr. Jamal Badawi was born in Egypt where he completed his undergraduate education. He completed his Ph.D. from the Indiana University and subsequently joined the faculty of Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada. 

In addition to teaching in his formal field of education (Management), he has been teaching a course on “Islamic Religious Tradition” which is part of the offerings of the Religious Studies department at the same university.

Dr. Badawi has also taught a course on Islam at Stanford University (USA) and gave a series of lectures on the Quran at Oxford University (UK).

Dr. Badawi is the author of several works on Islam, the last of which is ‘Gender Equity in Islam’. He also researched, designed and presented 352 half hour TV programs on Islam broadcasted from several local cable stations and radio stations in the US and Canada, in addition to their use in several countries overseas. Audio and video copies of these programs were made available to users in nearly 35 countries around the world. Sets of these programs are included in the library collections of several universities.

Dr. Badawi is a member of the Consultative Council of North America, a member of the Juristic Council of North America and the founder/chairman of the Islamic Information Foundation, a non-profit educational foundation registered in Canada and the US.

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2007 in Articles

 

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