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Dawah and Interfaith

10 Ways American Muslims Can Help Save the World




By Junaid Subzwari

The world, it appears, has completely lost its mind.  It seems that our tiny planet is staged for a complete disaster with the West and Muslim world as the co-stars.  What’s sad is that all of these problems are based on misunderstandings and lies spread by hate mongers with one interest: growing their bank accounts.  To add insult to injury, citizens from the West and the Muslim world are starting to detest each because they feel the other side is this Great Evil trying to enslave them.  Then there are those caught in the middle: the American Muslims, aka, you and I.  We’re blessed with the conundrum of being, both, Muslims and Americans.  We know that Islam is not about killing the innocent, but, also know that reality tv is not the reality of Western culture.  So what’s a brother/sister to do?

A crucial problem American Muslims should understand is that the people in this country are learning Islam from the evening news.  Those profiting from spreading hate have hijacked the media and stifled the truth.  The result is that people listen to Mike Savage and never our side of the story. Hence, it becomes our job as American Muslims to pick up the slack. Because many of us are born here or have lived here since childhood, we know the language and culture of our communities.  With the help of knowledge, technology, and personality, we can touch the people around us and show that Islam prescribes many of the same values the West cherishes. Here are a few simple things that every American Muslim can do to help save the world.

1. Practice your Islam: Continue to pray, make dua, wear hijab, fast, etc.  Only by staying close to Allah (swt) and asking for His help can we accomplish anything.

2. Educate yourself: Spend time learning about Islam especially the most misunderstood parts.  You’ll be surprised how much you don’t know and you’ll be better prepared to help others understand.  People can sense whether you know what you’re talking about.  So spend time with your Imam and local scholars learning more about this deen.

3. Smile: The Prophet (saw) said that even a smile is charity.  By being polite and smiling, people will feel more comfortable around you even when your sporting a hijab or a 1 ft. beard. So when FOX news reports that Muslims are blood thirsty murderers, the image of your award winning smile will make them think twice.

4. Be friendly with your neighbors: Make friends with your neighbors and coworkers/classmates and talk to them like normal human beings about everyday stuff.  It can be from spending a few minutes talking on the driveway to being involved with them in the school’s PTA.  By making friends with them, you’ve bridged the gaps of communication.  So when they hear lies against Islam, they’ll feel more comfortable to come talk to you about it.

5. Stand up for others: If you hear someone dropping the N-bomb or any other racial slurs about any racial/ethnic/religious group, don’t be afraid to stand up for what’s right.  Many people complain that Muslims (and other minority groups) only care about themselves.  Islam demands from us to defend the rights of everybody, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.  If we stand up for others, our neighbors will be more likely stand up for us.

6. Volunteer, Volunteer, Volunteer: The best way to show people the mercy of Islam is to help others around you.  There are plenty of homeless shelters, safehouses, foodbanks, etc to get involved in.  Volunteer with non-Muslims and show them that Muslims do care about problems in this society.  If you can, start a Muslim-based organization that addresses a problem in your community. It could be anything from distributing blankets in the winter to standing outside your local grocer and collecting cans for a food pantry.  There are no shortages of problems this society has and no shortages of answers in Islam.  Show people that Muslims care.

7. Highlight the good things about the West: Sure this country has many problems.  What country doesn’t?  The fact is that Western culture has many good things about it.  So don’t be afraid to tell your family and friends back on the farm about the good things of this society.  Our brothers and sisters across the ocean need to understand that the majority of Americans are not blood thirsty adulterers but are peace loving individuals that share many of the values we cherish.

8. Be active on the internet: Internet technology has enabled us to communicate with others around the globe in more ways then we can imagine.  There are tons of websites, blogs, etc., out there that promote Islam and defame it.  Get involved in the internet community and spread the truth.  Go to a newspaper website and comment on all articles there, whether it’s Muslim related or not.  The internet can be our biggest advantage and our biggest threat.  What it becomes depends on how we use it.

9. Be a model citizen: Follow the law, clean up after yourselves, don’t speed in a school zone, etc.  By being a role model citizen, you show everyone around you that Muslims do respect the law of the land and can live peacefully within its boundaries, with the assumption that none of those laws contradict the laws of Islam.

10. Be a human being: If you see a mother of 5 struggling to get her groceries to the car, help her with the bags.  When you’re coming off a plane, help the old lady ahead of you find her way to the baggage claim.  Show compassion for others and they’ll be more likely to show compassion towards you.  The hatemongers have tried to demonize Muslims as bomb carrying barbarians.  By showing our Non-Muslim friends otherwise, we help to dispel that image.

Easy enough?  Some of the naysayers might be snickering about how could a smile save the world.  Remember the problem statement.  The West see Muslims only as what is shown in the media.  They see “Muslims” blowing up innocent civilians and the “scholars” justifying the attacks with Islam.  By us living within the manners and values of Islam, we have the unique ability to help stop the violence and show this country’s citizens that Islam truly is a beautiful way of life that cherishes equal rights, justice, and mercy for all humanity. With knowledge comes compassion and understanding.  These are the key elements to help end the bloodshed.  We just need to lead the way.



  1. Avatar

    Shuaib Mansoori

    March 9, 2010 at 6:36 AM

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    Very poignant and relevant. Even though these things are mentioned frequently at Masjids and events organized at both the local and national levels, they cannot be emphasized enough.

    JazakAllah Khair.

  2. Avatar


    March 9, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    This is the most useful article i have read in a looong time!

  3. Avatar


    March 9, 2010 at 12:31 PM

    Very beneficial action points masha’Allah. BarakAllahu feek for compiling these.

  4. Avatar


    March 9, 2010 at 12:38 PM

    Jazaak Allahu khayran!

    I think this advice is general for all Muslims living in Non-Muslim societies. Not only in America, but in Canada, UK, Australia etc.

  5. Avatar


    March 9, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    Assalamu Allaykum,

    Really good article, jazaak. I was just reading about the Muslims/ Chrisitian fighting in Nigeria on Yahoo, and some of the comments were really defaming Islam as you mentioned. Then I came here and found this article. Thanks!

  6. Avatar


    March 9, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    A great article mash’allah. We definitely need that kind of positive outlook.

    One little teensy weensy thing I did not like was the reference to your family on the ‘farm’. I moved overseas to Egypt and i’m originally from pakistan and believe me overseas is not always a ‘farm’. In fact, what I knew before and know now is that Americans are the ones who sort of live in a black box. That sadly often includes Muslim Americans as well.

    The muslim world is a super diverse world. and even though there is tons of poverty, believe me when I tell you this that around here where I live in egypt..there’s -good- things here in terms of techonology, service, education, entertainment (halal) that do not exist in the US.

    Anyhow, keep up the good work. Insh’alah if we can just focus on our circle of influence, we can make a difference :-)


    • Avatar


      March 9, 2010 at 8:54 PM


    • Avatar

      Junaid Subzwari

      March 9, 2010 at 11:02 PM


      Jazakhallahkhairun for your positive feedback. Please forgive my farm reference but it was nothing more then a little American colloquialism. I didn’t mean it in a derogatory way, but just to keep a serious topic a little more light hearted.

  7. Avatar


    March 9, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    How lovely.

    JazakAllahu Khairan

  8. Avatar

    Abd- Allah

    March 9, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    JazakumAllah khayr for this article! These are things that every Muslim should do, regardless of where they live! However, we should do them because they are important parts of Islam and regardless of whether they really have a positive influence on the way non-Muslims view Islam or not.

  9. Avatar

    Sadaf Farooqi

    March 10, 2010 at 12:15 AM

    Excellent advice. Throughout the article, I was reminded of the Prophet [صلى الله عليه Ùˆ سلم] and his conduct that won him everyone’s love, and turned his enemies into his friends.
    Gaining knowledge of Islam, having a voice on the Internet, and putting faith into public practice (e.g. praying on time, even in public) are ways that Muslims (real-life, good Muslims) will be noticed for who they are.
    Jazak Allahu khair!

  10. Avatar

    Muhammad Sheikh

    March 10, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    “8. Be active on the internet: Internet technology has enabled us to communicate with others around the globe in more ways then we can imagine. There are tons of websites, blogs, etc., out there that promote Islam and defame it. Get involved in the internet community and spread the truth. Go to a newspaper website and comment on all articles there, whether it’s Muslim related or not. The internet can be our biggest advantage and our biggest threat. What it becomes depends on how we use it.”


    Great article, but this point is 1/2 of a double sided coin.

    I see many Muslims making the mistake of attempting to defend Islam without a proper understanding of the issue at hand.

    If we recall the “Pledge of Mutual Respect and Cooperation Between Sunni Muslim Scholars, Organizations, and Students of Sacred Knowledge,” it states:

    -Urge Muslims in the West, especially our youth, to leave off unproductive and divisive discussions of involved theological issues that are the proper domain of trained specialists, and we especially discourage participation in those internet chat rooms, campus discussion groups, and other forums that only serve to create ill-will among many Muslims, while fostering a divisive, sectarian spirit;

  11. Avatar

    Anon Sister

    March 11, 2010 at 11:41 PM


    I think that number 7 is an important point, but should be taken with a grain of salt. I understand and am quite appreciative of the rights I enjoy as a Canadian citizen in a fairly well-to-do part of Ontario. However, I feel that Muslims in the West shouldn’t be afraid to speak out or criticize. Just looking at the increased use of racial profiling and surveillance /specific/ to the Muslim demographic, is troublesome. Furthermore, current policies in the Middle East are horrifying and unjust and as Muslims, have the onus to challenge this.

    All the best,
    Sister Anon

  12. Avatar

    Qasim - Chicago Islam Examiner

    March 12, 2010 at 9:10 AM

    Very well said brother. Excellent thoughts. I think my favorite just might be to smile more often :)

    Jazakallah for posting this article.

  13. Avatar

    want to know

    March 30, 2010 at 9:51 AM

    Thank you for your article. I am a Canadian trying to understand the muslim culture in the west. Like many before me wrote this is relevant to all human beings of the world. I am afraid of my muslim country men and women as I don’t know them or understand them. I don’t know if I should share a smile because I don’t wear a hijab or that it may be misinterpreted as something wrong. I would like to reach out to my muslim neighbours for better understanding of them. I have a new daughter and I would like her to grow up in peace with my muslim country men. Your article gave me courage to reach out.

  14. Avatar


    April 17, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    It’s nice to remind Muslims how they should be Muslims. However the Internet remark is a big mistake on the authors part. Online discussions by unqualified individuals can be counter productive leading to confusion and even get you into some real trouble with the FBI. If you want a good advice stay off Internet discussions.
    I don’t think that is right to call one self such and such Muslim we are Muslims period.
    One last thing to mention is that no matter what we do the prophecy of our Rasool swa will come true. Those battles will have to fought no matter how much we scream PEACE. Every human being needs to find peace within themseves in order for the world to be at peace.
    As’salamu alaykum

  15. Avatar

    Sindh human Rights Organization

    October 4, 2010 at 4:00 AM

    As you all aware that flood and rain destroyed everything in
    Sind,.Pakistan Millions of the people are affectees by flood and high
    rains of the monsoon and they left their villages, cities, towns, and
    districts and now them living in relief camps, in every district about
    500 to 700 villages are underwater and shifted in camps and they are
    getting only food from civil societies, government, other authorities.
    When we visit the camps lot the children were without clothes, and
    affected by different diseases, as Lot of the families living left
    their villages, cities and towns at middle of night and not able to
    take any wearing clothes and other things for the him selves,
    children. At Camp those families got lot of the diseases such as
    diarrhea, malaria, cough and skin diseases open their face and their
    livestock also die due to hungry.

    So our organization needs your help to donate ready made clothes,
    Blanket, warm clothes, tents medicines and something for the
    Please do not send cash and only send material. Your help will save
    the lives of the women and children.
    Zulfiqar Ali Soomro
    Executive Director
    Sindh Human Rights Organization
    Ghaghrani Street Inside Lakhi Gate


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Swallowing Your Pride For A Moment Is Harder Than Praying All Night | Imam Omar Suleiman

Imam Omar Suleiman



Iblees was no ordinary worshipper. He worshipped Allah for thousands of years with thousands of prayers. He ascended the ranks until he accompanied the angels with his noteworthy worship. Performing good deeds was no issue for him. He thanked Allah with his prayers, and Allah rewarded him with a lofty station in Paradise. But when Adam was created and given the station that he was, suddenly Iblees was overcome by pride. He couldn’t bear to see this new creation occupy the place that he did. And as he was commanded to prostrate to him, his pride would overcome him and doom him for eternity. Alas, swallowing his pride for one prostration of respect to Adam was more difficult to him than thousands of prostrations of worship to Allah.

In that is a cautionary lesson for us especially in moments of intense worship. When we exert ourselves in worship, we eventually start to enjoy it and seek peace in it. But sometimes we become deluded by that worship. We may define our religiosity exclusively in accordance with it, become self-righteous as a result of it, and abuse people we deem lesser in the name of it. The worst case scenario of this is what the Prophet (peace be upon him) said about one who comes on the day of judgment with all of their prayers, fasting, and charity only to have it all taken away because of an abusive tongue.

But what makes Iblees’s struggle so relevant to ours? The point of worship is to humble you to your Creator and set your affairs right with His creation in accordance with that humility. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that whoever has an atom’s worth of pride in their heart would not enter paradise. The most obvious manifestation of that pride is rejecting the truth and belittling someone else. But other subtle manifestations of that pride include the refusal to leave off argumentation, abandon grudges, and humble yourself to the creation in pursuit of the pleasure of the Creator.


Hence a person would rather spend several Ramadan’s observing the last 10 nights in intense prayer seeking forgiveness for their sins from Allah, rather then humble themselves for a moment to one of Allah’s servants by seeking forgiveness for their transgressions against him, even if they too have a claim.

Jumah is our weekly Eid, and Monday’s and Thursday’s are our weekly semblances of Ramadan as the Prophet (s) used to fast them since our deeds are presented to Allah on those days. He said about them, “The doors of Heaven are opened every Monday and Thursday, and Allah pardons in these days every individual servant who is not a polytheist, except those who have enmity between them; Allah Says: ‘Delay them until they reconcile with each other”

In Ramadan, the doors of Heaven are opened throughout the month and the deeds ascend to Allah. But imagine if every day as your fasting, Quran recitation, etc. is presented to Allah this month, He responds to the angels to delay your pardon until you reconcile with your brother. Ramadan is the best opportunity to write that email or text message to that lost family member or friend and say “it’s not worth it to lose Allah’s forgiveness over this” and “IM SORRY.”

Compare these two statements:

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “He who boycotts his brother for more than three days and dies during this period will be from the people of hellfire.”

He also said:

“I guarantee a house in the suburbs of Paradise for one who leaves arguments even if he is right.”

Swallowing your pride is bitter, while prayer is sweet. Your ego is more precious to you than your sleep. But above all, Allah’s pleasure is more precious than it all.

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Dawah and Interfaith

Can I Give My Zakat To An Islamic Educational Cause?

Dr Usaama al-Azami



As Ramadan nears its end, many Muslims are thinking about paying their zakat in the last ten nights. But what is a worthy cause to which we can give our zakat and, in particular, what do the scholars have to say on this issue?

A number of Islamic educational and media institutions in the West have in recent years been highlighting their ‘zakat-eligible’ status. The list of these institutions is quite long. In the US, they include this website, the al-Madina Institute, the Yaqeen Institute, Zaytuna College, and the Ta’leef Collective. In the UK, they include Cambridge Muslim College. Some of these institutions focus on covering the cost of tuition for students who would otherwise be unable to pay, but others are focused on running an institution whose raison d’etre is Islamic education.

But some might wonder how such institutions can receive zakat? A common belief is that zakat is meant only for the poor and destitute and that such institutions would, therefore, be ineligible. This is sometimes reinforced by the way that a minority of scholars, including learned ones, might deal with these issues.

Last year in the UK, a respected scholar stated emphatically that “none of the scholars” in Islamic history until modern times had ever said one can give zakat to causes like supporting institutions that promote Islamic education. He asserted that only modern scholars permitted the spending of zakat on such matters in the name of the fī sabīli-Llāh category (which I will explain below). The same British scholar reiterated a similar view in the past couple of weeks, but this time said that his view was the opinion of the “vast majority of scholars”.

The average Muslim may find such conflicting claims confusing. How is it that some scholars say zakat cannot be given to Islamic educational causes, while a large number of prominent Islamic educational institutions, presumably led by Islamic scholars, are directly soliciting zakat funds?

The main reason for this is the existence of difference of opinion (ikhtilāf) among scholars regarding who or what is deserving of zakat payment. The Qur’an (9:60) sets out eight categories of zakat-eligible recipients. While people today often think of zakat as being due to the poor and needy, they only explicitly form two of these categories.

The basis on which many of the aforementioned scholarly institutions claim zakat-eligible status is the category of fī sabīli-Llāh which translates to “in God’s path.” Historically, the more dominant interpretation of this zakat-eligible category was that it referred to jihād in God’s path, i.e. zakat was to be given to people engaged in military expeditions on behalf of the Islamic community.

However, some medieval scholars, and a remarkably large number of modern scholars, appealing to the fact that the Prophet highlighted that jihād was ultimately for the sake of making God’s word prevail (li-takun kalimat Allāh hiya al-‘ulyā), have argued for a far broader understanding of this zakat-eligible category.

Jihād, as a concept, is of course incredibly broad in Islam. For example, one finds in a sound hadith that the Prophet said: “Engage in jihād against the polytheists with your wealth, your lives, and your tongues.” Additionally, some of the verses in the Qur’an that enjoined jihād were revealed in Mecca where military jihād was not yet permitted.

Because of this, a minority of medieval scholars argued that the fī sabīli-Llāh category of zakat recipients could entail payments made to support any righteous acts, while others argued that the category was ultimately about upholding and strengthening Islam specifically through da‘wa initiatives that cause God’s word to prevail of which education is one of the most effective tools.

Indeed, giving seekers of sacred knowledge (ṭullāb al-‘ilm) was deemed a legitimate form of zakat payment according to all four schools of law. Clearly, the respected British scholar cited above was inaccurate in his claim that “none of the scholars,” or only a small minority of them, viewed the fī sabīli-Llāh category as referring to anything other than military engagements.

Among modern Arab ulama, the view that the fī sabīli-Llāh category of zakat recipients can apply to Islamic da‘wa and educational initiatives has perhaps become the dominant position on this issue over the last one hundred years. This is true of all major ideological orientations, whether Salafi, Neo-traditionalist, or Islamist.

Thus, for example, arguably the most important Salafi scholar of his generation, the first Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh Muḥammad b. Ibrāhīm Āl al-Shaykh argued that the most deserving recipient of the fī sabīli-Llāh category of zakat was the cause of da‘wa, and responding to sources of doubt about Islam. Reportedly it is also the final opinion of his most important successor, Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azīz b. Bāz. Among living Salafis, this is the position of senior scholars outside the Saudi religious establishment as well, such as Shaykh Salmān al-‘Awda and Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Munajjid (may Allah liberate them from their unjust imprisonment).

It is also the position of senior scholars of the Azhar and Egypt’s Grand Muftis for many generations from the 20th and 21st centuries. In our own time, this includes Neo-traditionalist scholars like ‘Alī Jum‘a and Abdullāh b. Bayyah. While the latter prefers a more restrictive interpretation for the category, he permits the more expansive interpretation in his fatwas.

Among Islamist (Ikhwān) oriented scholars, one finds Shaykh Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwī, author of what is perhaps the most comprehensive work to be written on the fiqh of zakat in Islamic history, promoting such an understanding as well. His two volume work, which addresses the major debates surrounding the fī sabīli-Llāh category in great detail, has also been translated into English. Among younger Islamist-leaning scholars, the encyclopaedic Mauritanian scholar and master of the Sharia sciences, Shaykh Muḥammad al-Ḥasan al-Dadaw argues that the fī sabīli-Llāh category may even be used in the establishing of educational endowments.

The above is only a selection of voices among those who are supportive of promoting Islamic educational causes on the basis of the fī sabīli-Llāh category of zakat. With due respect to scholars who would argue otherwise, it is clear that this is not only a legitimate legal opinion on this question but may well be the dominant view of many of the leading scholars of modern times.

Our communities are best served by an Islamic discourse that acknowledges the richness and diversity of our great religious tradition rather than restricts it to a narrow range of opinions. As the Prophet said to the Bedouin who prayed for God to exclusively show mercy to himself and the Prophet, “You have constricted what is vast!” (laqad ḥajjarta wāsi‘an).

Since there are a very large number of scholars who have recognised initiatives that promote the sound understanding of Islam to be eligible for receiving zakat, our community is best served by the accurate portrayal of the valid difference of opinion on such matters in which members of the community may legitimately seek to follow either opinion without claiming that the position adopted by others is illegitimate.

In an era in which the sound understanding of Islam is threatened by Islamophobic forces from without and extremist forces from within, we all recognise the importance of Islamic education as a central concern for contemporary Muslims to prioritise. May we all support this cause, whether through zakat or by some other means.

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#Current Affairs

#UnitedForOmar – Imam Omar Suleiman Smeared by Right-Wing News After Opening Prayer at US House of Representatives

Zeba Khan



Sh. Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives yesterday, May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas.

Immediately since, right wing media platforms have begun spreading negative coverage of the Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists as well as criticism of Israel policies.

News outlets citing the criticism have pointed to a post from The Investigative Project on Terrorism or ITP, as the source. The  ITP was founded by and directed by noted Islamophobe Steven Emerson. Emerson’s history of hate speech has been documented for over two decades.

Since then, the story has been carried forward by multiple press outlets.

The immediate consequence of this has been the direction of online hate towards what has been Imam Omar Suleiman’s long history of preaching unity in the US socio-political sphere.

“Since my invocation I’ve been inundated with hate articles, threats, and other tactics of intimidation to silence me over a prayer for unity,” Imam Omar Suleiman says. “These attacks are in bad faith and meant to again send a message to the Muslim community that we are not welcome to assert ourselves in any meaningful space or way.”

MuslimMatters is proud to stand by Imam Omar Suleiman, and we invite our readers to share the evidence that counters the accusations against him of anti-semitism, bigotry, and hate. We would also encourage you to reach out, support, and amplify voices of support like Representative E.B.Johnson, and Representative Colin Allred.

You can help counter the false narrative, simply by sharing evidence of Imam Omar Suleiman’s work. It speaks for itself, and you can share it at the hashtag #UnitedForOmar


A Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam Walk Into a Church in Dallas

At an interfaith panel discussion, three North Texas religious leaders promoted understanding and dialogue among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Amid a vexed political and social climate, three religious leaders in North Texas—a priest, an imam, and a rabbi—proved it’s possible to come together in times of division. Source:

Muslim congregation writes letters of support to Dallas Jewish Community

The congregation, led by Imam Omar Suleiman, penned more than 150 cards and letters. source: WFAA News

Historic action: Muslims and Jews for Dreamers

“We must recognize that the white supremacy that threatens the black and Latino communities, is the same white supremacy that spurs Islamophobia and antisemitism,” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Bend The Arc

Through Dialogue, Interfaith Leaders Hope North Texans Will Better Understand Each Other

“When any community is targeted, they need to see a united faith voice — that all communities come together and express complete rejection of anything that would pit our society against one another more than it already is.” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Kera News


Conversations at The Carter Center: Harmonizing Religion and Human Rights 

Source: The Carter Center

Imam: After devastating New Zealand attack, we will not be deterred

My wife and I decided to take our kids to a synagogue in Dallas the night after the massacre at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh to grieve and show solidarity with the Jewish community. My 5-year-old played with kids his age while we mourned inside, resisting hate even unknowingly with his innocence…” Source: CNN


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