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THE TEXTBOOK

Across The Centuries,”
Published by Houghton-Mifflin, Boston, Ma

This textbook that has been adopted by the California School System for the course is supposed to be a Social Studies/History and Geography book. We would expect that it would handle the subject in an acceptable academic fashion. Instead one can’t help but notice that it actually teaches the Islamic religion.  In doing so it contains much disputable information in a manner that in many instances shows clear bias.

In the book Islam is presented in a broad and totally positive manner.  Christianity, on the other hand, is shown in a negative context.  The book does not mention one negative about Islam. The Islamic wars, massacres, cruelties against Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims are totally ignored.

Islam’s treatment of its members and the laws that govern the lives of Muslims have been deliberately overlooked.  The book makes no mention of Islam’s discrimination against women.  It offers no record of alleged criminals being punished by amputation of their hands, feet and heads.

The Christian beliefs mentioned in the book are often cloaked with skepticism.  In many instances when talking about Christianity disclaimers appear stating, “it is believed by Christians,” implying an absence of credibility.  All the while, the Muslim’s outrageous claims are presented in the book as factual.

Mohammed is depicted as a moral man who wanted a society of purity.  However, historians record that he had multiple wives, married a 9-year-old girl and coveted the wife of his adopted son.

A close examination of the textbook reveals that it contains many errors, exaggerations, omissions, and misrepresentations about the true nature of Islam and its history.  Space limitations allow us to list only scattered samplings of the discrepancies.  In each case, we will show the quote as it appears in the book typed in bold italics.  Each of these will be followed by a brief rebuttal in regular type.  Our refutations are based on the Islamic holy books and the most reliable historical reference books.

Page 59, “The God he believed in – Allah - was the same God of other monotheistic religions of his time, Judaism and Christianity.”

This is apparently an attempt to achieve acceptance and legitimacy.  In so doing, the authors hope to convince students that Islam is a legitimate extension of Judaism and Christianity.

  • The fact is the Christian concept of God as being our Heavenly Father is foreign to Islam. The Quran states:
    “The Jews and the Christians say ‘We are sons of Allah and His beloved.’ Say: why then doth He punish you for your sins? Nay, you are but men of the men He has created.” Surah 5:18
  •  To Muslims, Jesus is just a prophet (Surah 4: 171), who was never crucified (Surah 4: 157).  The Holy Spirit was none but the Angel Gabriel (Surah 19: 17 &16: 102).  The Triune God of Christianity is a blasphemy.
    “They do blaspheme who say God is one of three…, for there is no one except one Allah.” Surah 5: 73
  • The Allah of Islam is said to have transformed some Jews into apes and swine.

    When in their insolence they transgressed (all) prohibitions, We said to them: "Be ye apes, despised and rejected." Surah 7:166 (See also Surah 5: 60)
  • Allah of Islam is changeable.

    “None of our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things?” Surah 2:106
  • Allah of Islam is temperamental.
    If We had so willed, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance: but the Word from Me will come true, "I will fill Hell with Jinns and men all together." Surah 32: 13
  • Allah of Islam is a plotter.
    They plot and plan, and Allah too plans; but the best of planners (plotters) is Allah.” Surah 8: 30
  • Allah of Islam is frightening.
    “it is Allah Whom ye should more justly fear, if ye believe!” Surah 9: 13

Page 60, Shows the following Arabic Script and the English caption next to it

As you can see from the script on the right, Arabic is written with a different alphabet than English. The calligraphy below spells out Allah in Arabic.

The English caption next to the Arabic script does not say what the script on the right means  The script is actually a verse from the Quran that condemns followes of other religions and describes them as infidels.  Here is the English translation of the verse, “That was because there came to them their messengers with Clear (Signs), but they rejected them (and chose to be infidels): So Allah called them to account: for He is Full of Strength…..” Surah 40:22

Page 60, “Muhammad expelled from the city Medina the Jews who opposed him.”

Historical Facts: Muslim historians and Islamic references confirm that Mohammed used every means to terrorize the Jewish people.  He took away their resources for food and income by burning their palm groves.  Their homes were confiscated and after their surrender many of them were executed in a cruel manner.  before the massacre of the tribe of Bani Qurayza Mohammed blocked their streets for 25 days.  After they surrendered he slaughtered all 600-900 of the men and took the women and children as prisoners.  He later sold some of these women and children as slaves in order to buy weapons.

(Ibn Hisham Vol. 2 Biography of Mohammed Pages 240 & 241)

Page 60, “For eight years, Muhammad’s small forces fought the larger Meccan forces.  Eventually many Arab nomadic tribes and leading Meccans joined the Muslim cause.”

Historical Facts:  During these eight years, Mohammed’s forces conducted a guerrilla warfare attacking merchants’ caravans on the trade route between Mecca and Medina.  In these raids Muslims were the offenders, they conducted unprovoked hold-ups, ambushes and invasions against innocent people.  Mohammed personally led 28 of these ambushes and ordered about another 40 raids on different tribes.  The Muslim goal was clear.  The raids were a means of funding a larger army for further attacks.

Page 61, “For the followers of Islam, the Koran completes the earlier revelations of the Old Testament prophets and Jesus.”

The Quran was revealed to Mohammed in two stages.  The first is called the Meccan Quran, where Mohammed was weak, struggling to be accepted, often mocked at and ridiculed. The verses of that period reflected compassion, love, and caring for the poor.  The second period is called the Medinan Quran.  It came after Mohammed moved to Medina and became strong.  Mohammed was transformed into a militant and relentless warrior, the Quranic Surahs (chapters) changed to reflect militancy. The Islamic abrogation teaching was introduced where the militant verses of the Quran abrogated (cancelled and replaced) the peaceful verses.

The Quran does not complete the earlier revelations of the Bible.  It contradicts them in many ways.  Here are some examples:

- In the Bible, creation was completed in six days. The Quran says it was completed in eight days. (Surah 41: 9-12)

- The Bible says that Noah and all his sons were saved from the flood.  The Quran says that one of Noah’s sons drowned. (Surah 11: 42)

- The Bible says that Noah’s ark landed on Mt. Ararat.  The Quran says that it landed on Mt. Judi. (Surah 11:44)

- The Bible says that Abraham’s father was Terah.  The Quran says that he was Azar. (Surah 6:74)

- The Bible says that Abraham lived and worshipped at Bethel in Canaan. The Quran says that he worshipped and lived in Mecca. (Surah 14: 37)

- The Bible says that Abraham offered his son Isaac.  The Quran claims that it was Ishmael. (Surah 37:100-110)

- The Bible tells us that Jesus was born in a manger. The Quran speaks of the birth of Isa, son of Mary, taking place under a palm tree. (Surah 19:23)

Page 62, “Muslims believed that it was wrong to compel Jews and Christians to convert to Islam.  But Muslims consider these other religions to be less correct.”

1-      Actually the Muslim invaders of neighboring countries compelled Christians and Jews to embrace Islam. The alternative for Christians and Jews were limited.  Those who refused to pay the heavy tax called jizya and failed to comply with the humiliating dhimmi status were executed. (See the Pact of Omar at the end of this booklet.)

2-      Muslims believe that the Bible has been corrupted.  Such a claim can be disputed by the many manuscripts of early copies of the Bible that were discovered through the years and were found to match the text we have now

3-      On the other hand, the Quran that Muslims now use is not the original Quran.  The Quran was first compiled 20 years after Mohamed’s death. Years later, Uthman, the third Caliph (successor of Mohammed), compiled the current version and burned all the earlier manuscripts.  This indicates that Uthman must have had something to hide.

4-     The Quran contains passages that have historic, scientific and linguistic errors.  Here are few examples:

a.       The Quran speaks of traveling west to the place where the sun sets.  It says that it was found there sitting in a muddy spring. (Surah 18:86)

b.      The Quran claims that God flattened the Earth. (Surah 88: 20).  The Bible says that the earth is round like a ball. (Isaiah 40:22)

c.       The Quran claims that Alexander the Great was a Muslim who worshipped Allah and lived a long life. (Surah 18:83-98).  History says, he died as a young man and lived centuries before Islam was conceived.

d.      The Quran is regarded by Muslims as a linguistic miracle, but it has many grammatical errors. The Arabic Muslim scholar As-Zamakhshari noted that the Quran has more than one hundred linguistic errors.  Also, it is claimed that Allah wrote the Quran in flawless Arabic.  The truth is that the Quran has many foreign words from other languages.

Pages 63 and 64, “One of the acts of the Sunna calls for is Jihad, this term itself means “struggle,” to do one’s best to resist temptation and overcome evil.  In time, that personal internal struggle also becomes an external struggle, as Islam expanded its territories and converted many non-believers.   Islamic wars against those non-believers were often called Jihad.”

According to Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, Page 209, here is the meaning of Jihad: “Holy war, a divine institution of warfare to extend Islam into the Dar-al-Harb (the non-Islamic territories).” In brief, the main meaning of Jihad is fighting anyone who stands in the way of the spread of Islam. But the book deceptively claims that the only original meaning of Jihad was “to resist temptation and overcome evil.” It claims also that militant struggle was introduced to Islam later.  However, the truth is, Jihad’s militant applications started by Mohammed and began early in Islam after his migration to Medina.

In the Quran Allah allegedly says,

“I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers (non-Muslims), smite ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them. It is not ye who slew them, it was Allah.” Surah 8:12, 17

“Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know.” Surah 8: 60

Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; at length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens.” Surah 47:4

Note: It is clear from the above verses that the Muslims’ terrorist practices of kidnapping for ransom and slitting throats, as we have seen it practiced in Iraq and other parts of the Islamic world, has its basis in the Quran.

In the Hadith (Mohammed’s sayings) Mohammed urges Muslims to practice Jihad.  Mohammed once was asked: what was the best deed for the Muslim next to believing in Allah and His Apostle?  His answer was: “To participate in Jihad in Allah’s cause.” Al Bukhari Vol. 1: 25.

Mohammed was also quoted as saying: “I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say; none has the right to be worshipped but Allah.” Al Bukhari Vol. 4: 196        

Page 64, “Muhammad stressed that women should be considered individuals with rights of their own.  Women were granted the right to hold properties, in their own name, and to inherit part of their father’s estate, which they had not been able to do before Muhammad.”

This is incomplete statement regarding the status of women under Islam. Here are other facts about women’s rights in Islam:

1-      Men are superior to women. “..And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree over them.” Surah 2:228

2-      Women have half the rights of men.

A-In inheritance: A woman’s share is half that of a man. “To the male a portion equal to that of two females.” Surah 4:11

B-In court witness: A woman’s witness is worth half that of a man. “And get two witnesses out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women such as ye choose, for witness...” Surah 2:282

3-      Islam teaches that women are deficient in mind and religion. (Al Bukhari Vol.3: 826)

4-      Islam considers a wife the possession of her husband. “Fair in the eyes of men is the love of things they covet: Women and sons; heaped-up hoards of gold and silver; horses.” Surah 3:14

5-      Islam teaches that it is acceptable for a husband to punish a wife by beating her and abstaining from sexual relations with her. “...As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them, refuse to share their beds, beat them.” Surah 4:34 “For those who take an oath for abstention from their wives, a waiting for four months is ordained; if they return, God is oft-forgiving, most-merciful.” Surah 2: 226

6-      Islam instructs women to always veil themselves when they are outside of their homes., And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty...” Surah 24:31

7-      Islam encourages polygamy: A man may be married to four wives at one time, “ Marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four.” Surah 4:3

8-      Islam considers the wife a sex object. “Your wives are as a tilth (a field to be ploughed) unto you, so approach your tilth when or how ye will.” Surah 2:223

9-      A man may divorce his wife by oral pronouncement. However, the Quran does not offer the same right to the wife. “It may be, if he divorced you that Allah will give him in exchange consorts better than you...” Surah 66:5

Page 65, “Muhammad’s success in spreading Islam was due in large part to his strong character.  His followers were attracted to his morality, courage, and compassion, perhaps as much as they were attracted to his teachings.”

The truth is many people joined Islam out of fear of Mohammed’s sword rather than because they were attracted to his morality or teachings.  These people tried to abandon Islam upon hearing of Mohammed’s death, only to be forced back to Islam by the sword of Abu Bakre the successor of Mohammed.  Here are few examples from Mohammed’s teachings and facts from his life to judge his character:

·         Mohammed taught that lies are allowed under three conditions, “For reconciliation among people, in war, and amongst spouses, to keep peace in the family” Al Ghazali Vol. 3:284-287.  Mohammed often allowed his followers to lie in order to trick his enemies and then be able to murder them.

·         Mohammed was engaged to a six year-old girl whose name was Aysha, and married her when she was nine years-old, he was a 54-year-old man. (Al Bukhari 3894 & 3896)

·         Mohammed married his daughter-in-law, Zynab, the wife of his adopted son, in violation of an Arabic tradition of his time. She was his seventh wife.  He justified his desire by an alleged revelation from Allah in Surah 33:37.

·         Mohammed ordered the massacre of Beni-Quryza, a Jewish tribe and participated in slaughtering 600-900 Jewish men in one day, in violation of war traditions of that time.

·         Mohammed objected to Ali, his cousin, when he tried to marry another woman while he was married to Mohammed’s daughter.  In the same time, Mohammed allowed himself the right to marry unlimited number of women.

·         Mohammed, unlike other prophets, lived surrounded with many servants and personal guards. Abdalla Ben Masuood was his shoe-man; others took care of his camel, and his horse.  Ref.: 1-Muhammad’s Wives by Dr. Bent El-Shaateh, P.189. 2-Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol. 4, P101&Vol 5, P28.

·         Mohammed allowed his men to marry women of POWs while their husbands were still alive, in violation of Arab tradition. Ref.: 1-Surah 4:24.  2-The Beginning and the End.  3-The Reasons of Tanzeel (Revelation) By El-Siouty P73.

·         Mohammed denied his wives their right to remarry after his death in violation to what the Bible says and women’s natural rights.

Page 66, “Abu Baker’s first task was to put down revolts by tribes in the area who had renounced Islam after the death of Muhammad.  To do this, he united the tribes within the Arabian Peninsula.”

Historical Facts:  Abu Bakre’s first task was to put down revolts by tribes that had renounced Islam, and who refused to pay “Jizya” to him.  His wars against those tribes were known in Islamic history as The Apostasy Wars since he applied to them the Islamic Apostasy Law which punished anyone who abandons Islam by death.  Abu Baker killed thousands of people, whose only fault was that they refused Islam.  One of his famous butchers was a military leader whose name was Khalid Ben Walid, whom Muslims named THE SWORD OF ALLAH.  History books are full with stories of atrocities committed by that man.

Page 66, “Umar encouraged his armies to conquer more lands in the name of Allah.  The Muslims were extremely tolerant of those they conquered as long as they were “people of the book.”  The Muslims allowed Christians and Jews to keep their churches and temples and promised them security. In fact, some people who were persecuted by Persian and Byzantine conquerors such as Christians in Egypt, welcomed Muslim rule. They even aided the Muslim take over.  Non-Muslims who were not Christians or Jews were also tolerated.  However, because of the provisions of Jihad, they were encouraged to convert to Islam.”

·         This is falsification of both Islamic teaching and Islamic history.  Islam teaches that Muslims are superior to other nations, “Ye (Muslims) are the best of people, evolved for mankind.” Surah 3:110.  It teaches that Islam is the only true religion that people have no choice but to accept, “The (only) Religion (accepted) before Allah is Islam” Surah 3: 19

·         Muslims were never tolerant towards non-Muslims.  Christians and Jews (People of the Book) were allowed to keep their religions provided they pay Jizya and are treated as second-class dhimmi subjects.  Others were to convert to Islam or die.

·         Christians and Jews in the countries Muslims had invaded were to sign a treaty called “The Pact of Omar” (See the treaty at the end of this booklet) according to that treaty the lives of the Christian and Jewish people were spared, but they lost everything else including their dignity. 

·         Christian Egyptians (The Copts) never welcomed the Arabs.  This is a lie not substantiated by objective history reference books.  The Islamic invasion of their country wiped out their language and civilization.  The Copts were subjected to pay jizya tax, and also a tax called Kharaj, on the money made by cultivation.  The Jizya were to be paid according to the Quran with humiliation.  As an example, Jizya should be paid in a course of a ceremony, in which the dhimmis were publicly humiliated by receiving a slap on the face or a blow on the back of the neck, and to receive a receipt, without it they could not travel from one place to another.  On the other hand, Kharaj, the tax on the land, was so heavy that many Egyptians had to abandon their lands while some had to convert to Islam. (See: The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam; Bat Ye’or, page 78)

·         Egyptians attempted many revolts against the invaders.  Every such attempt was crushed mercilessly by the Arab Muslims.

·         Caliph Al Hakim ordered that many churches and synagogues in his empire (Egypt, Syria, and Palestine) be either destroyed or converted into mosques.

·         Egyptian Christians, from the invasion of Muslims in the middle of the seventh century to this present-day, have been suffering from continuous holocausts and ethnic cleansings.

·         Unfortunately, the intolerance and unjust attitudes of Muslims towards the Christian Copts in Egypt continues to this day.  Copts are still treated as second-class citizens. Copts have been killed while praying in churches and their churches are being burned to the ground.  Their daughters are frequently kidnapped, raped and forced into Islam. Recently Copts were massacred in a village called EL-Kosheh, south of Cairo.  The police turned a blind eye while 21 Christians were killed by their Muslim neighbors. (Ref: Massacre at the Millennium, Center for Religious Freedom, 2001, Washington DC)

·         Copts also cannot build a church or repair anything within it except by a presidential decree or a governor permit.  Such are difficult to secure.  Copts are denied most of key positions in the government, army, corporations and universities.

·         The situation with other Christian minorities in the Islamic world is not better. Christians in Sudan, Indonesia, East Timor, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iraq and many other countries are suffering daily from Muslim aggressions.

·         Most modern-day Islamic countries are intolerant towards followers of other religions. For example. Saudi Arabia does not allow its citizens the right to convert to other religions of their choice.  It does not allow a church to be built on its soil.  In Saudi Arabia, it is a crime punishable by law to display in public symbols of other religions such as a Cross or a Bible.

Page 71, “Collaborative Learning” The textbook instructs students to form small groups and build miniature mosques.

This is an attempt to improve the image of mosques in the minds of students.  The fact is, unlike churches, mosques were historically used not only as places of worship but also as places where military plans were made and weapons were stored.  This is allowed in Islam because in Islam there is no Separation of State and Mosque. In recent years we have learned that some Muslim terrorists were using mosques to plan and launch terrorist attacks.

Page 73, “During this period, Muslims converted the Barbers of North Africa to Islam.”

Historical Facts:  In every nation that Muslims invaded they oppressed its people.  Even after surrender some people were killed and their villages and cities set ablaze.  Presently, in Algeria the Berbers struggle to keep their own identity and to distance themselves from the Arab and Muslim culture.  They still speak their own language rather than Arabic.

Page 79, “Over the next seven years, the Muslims drove out the Visigoths, who were Christians.. Almost the entire peninsula has become Umayyad territory.

Historical Facts:  The text describes the Christians who were living peacefully in their own lands as though they were invaders who were driven out by Muslim liberators.

Pages 81 and 82, “The Umayyad Muslims were generally tolerant of people, such as Christians and Jews who believed in a single God.  Muslims considered Jews and Christians to be “people of the book,” as they were themselves.  In spite of their general tolerance, the Umayyad established a different system of taxation for non-Muslims.  The Christians and Jews who did not accept Muhammad as a prophet of God had to pay a higher tax.  All Muslim men were required to serve in the army, but non-Muslims did not have to serve.     Muawiya encouraged the Emires to rule this strictly in order to stamp out any dissent or disagreement among their conquered subjects.”

Historical Facts:  Is it tolerance to give people only the choices of being executed, or at best having their belongings confiscated and living as slaves who must pay high taxes if they don’t embrace Islam?  As for “the People of the Book,” they were subjected to what is called “The Pact of Omar.”  It supposedly saved their lives.  But, in reality it enslaved them and forced them to pay high taxes.  It also treated them as second-class citizens prohibited from serving in the army, simply because they were not trusted.  In short, it gave them the feeling that they were submissive inferiors to the Muslims. 

Page 83, “Abd al Malik declared Arabic to be the official language of the empire. …. Anyone who wished to participate fully in the culture had to speak Arabic.”

Historical Facts:  Here is only one example of how Abd al Malik enforced his command in Egypt.  He ordered punishment for any Coptic Christian Egyptian who spoke his or her language.  This language was Coptic, which was derived from ancient Hieroglyphic Egyptian language.  The punishment was to cut out their tongues.  This is how the Egyptians lost their own language.  The Coptic language is only used now in church liturgy.

Page 83, “The mosques would be built from materials that were common to the area.”

Historical Facts:  Many mosques were built in different countries of the Islamic empire by Muslim invaders who collected their materials from destroyed churches, as what happened in Egypt and Spain.  Many churches were converted to mosques, an example is the church of Hagia Sophia which was built in the 6th century in Istanbul, Turkey. It was used as a mosque for almost five hundred years after 1453.  In 1935, Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum, and it is now one of Turkey's two most popular museums.

Page 89, “Muslim artists often turned to decorative designs made up of plant patterns.  The most common of these floral designs was arabesque, a winding stem, leaves and flowers that formed a spiraling design.”

Historical Facts: How could the Muslim Arabs who were Bedouins who came from the desert originate these arts and designs?  The fact is that all the above designs were Coptic or other Christian designs, which pre-dated the Muslim invasion by centuries.  In Egypt, some churches that were built in the third century and survived through the Islam invasion have all the designs mentioned above.  All that the Arabs did was remove the cross in these designs and add Quranic verses.

Page 90, “For example, Islamic astronomers mapped the solar system and believed long before Columbus’ time that the earth was round.”

Historical Fact:  This is a false statement. The Arabs awareness of the solar system was limited.  In addition, in the Quran, there are several statements that affirm that Allah has flattened the earth. (See Surah 88:20 & Surah 50:7)

Page 91, “As groups continued to break away from the weakened Abbasid Empire, it was open to invasion from outside forces.”

Historical Facts:  It is strange that during two whole chapters in this text, this is the first time that the author used the word “invasion”.  He acts as though the Muslims were the nationals who were being invaded by outsiders.  It is ridiculous when you glorify the Muslim invaders as conquerors, and describe the resistance of nationals as invasion.

Page 96, “During his reign, Abd al-Rahmon III increased the strength of the army.  The Caliph bought Scandinavian, African, and German slaves to serve on his forces.”

Currently Muslims deny that Islam encouraged slave trading.  As a historical fact, Mohammed was a slave trader, who owned and traded slaves.  After Mohammed, his followers owned slaves throughout history until our time where slavery is practiced in Sudan.  Most of the African slaves that were sold in the New World were purchased from Muslim Arab slave traders.  Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, a respected Muslim scholar, mentioned in his book, Zad al-Maad part1, P114-116, names of slaves owned by Muhammad:

Male slaves:: Yakan Yakan Abu Sharh, A flah, Ubayed, Dhakwan, Tahman, Mirwan, Hunayn, Sanad, Fadala, Yamamin, Anjasha al-Hadi, Mad’am, Karkara, Abu Rafi (The Coptic),Thawban, Ab Kabasha, Salih,Rabah (Black), Yara Nubyan (Black), Fadila, Waqid, Mabur, AbuWaquid, Kasam, AbuAyb, Abu Muwayhiba, Zayd Ibn Harithaand Mahran (Black) whom Mohammed called Safina (Ship) because he let him carry the load of six or seven donkeys.

Maid Slaves :Salma Um Rafi, Maymuna daughter of Abu Asib, Maymouna daughter of Sas, Khadra, Radwa, Razina, Uum Damira, Rayhana, and Maria the Coptic.

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