The earliest Quranic manuscripts discovered in the Sana'a mosque in Yemen not only differ from the standard version, but disagree amongst themselves. Since Muslims believe that the Quran contains the verses of Allah word for word, the new finds may unravel the 'Pandora's Box' for Islam...
“Respect for the faith of sincere believers cannot be allowed either to block or deflect the investigation of the historians... One must defend the rights of elementary historical methodology”. -- Maxime Rodhinson, 1981, p. 57
Muslims generally believe, thanks to Quranic assertions, that both the Old and New Testaments are corrupted and seriously changed. They say, for a Holy Scripture to be authoritative, it has to be preserved without any changes at all, and point to the Quran, which, they claim, has been preserved word by word and letter by letter, as was revealed to Muhammad by Allah. The Quran itself claims: ‘no change there can be in the words of God’ (10:64) and, ‘there is none that can alter the words (and decrees) of God’ (6:34).
But then how ridiculous the ‘doctrine of abrogation’ is, by which later revelations cancel previous ones, as Quran (2:106) confirms, ‘revelations… We abrogate or cause to be forgotten’. Also, a Hadith (6:558) from Sahih Bukhari confirms that Muhammad forgot many verses. Again Sunaan ibn Majah (3: 1944) records that, after Muhammad’s death, some revelations were eaten up by a goat.
How divine words can be eaten, changed, cancelled or abolished, in spite of Allah’s specific claim in 10:64 and 6:34? Are not all these claims of Allah self-contradictory?
Amazingly, these plain truths do not bother the Muslims at all. Probably, if we can present another “authentic” Quran, which is different from existing standard form, Muslims may give way to logical thinking.
The devastating truth is that a large number of ancient Quranic manuscripts, dating from first century of Hijra were discovered in the Great Mosque of Sana’a (Yemen), which significantly differs from the present standard one. Carbon dating system confirmed that these Qurans are not forged one by religious rivalries. Moreover, these Qurans were discovered by Muslims, not infidels.
This is, probably, the most embarrassing event to Muslims in the 1,400-year history of Islam.
The Great Mosque of Sana’a is one of the oldest Mosques in Islamic history. The date of building goes back to 6th year of Hijrah when Muhammad entrusted one of his companions to build a Mosque at Yemen, which was extended and enlarged by Islamic rulers from time to time.
In 1972, during the restoration of this Great Mosque (heavy rain had caused the west wall of the Mosque to collapse), laborers, while working in a crown space between the structure’s inner and outer roofs, stumbled upon an amazing grave-site, which they did not realize at that time. Mosques do not accommodate graves, and this site contained no gravestone, no human remains and no funeral relics. It contained an unappealing mountain of old parchment and paper documents, damaged books and individual pages of Arabic text, fused together by rain and dampness for over a thousand years.
The ignorant laborers gathered up the manuscripts, pressed them carelessly into some 20 potato sacks, and set them aside on the staircase of one of the Mosque’s minarets, where they were locked away. The manuscripts would have been forgotten once again, were it not for Qadhi Isma’il al-Akwa, then the President of Yemeni Antiquities Authority, who realized the potential importance of the find. Al-Akwa sought international assistance in examining and preserving the fragments, because no scholar in his country was capable of working on this rich find. In 1977, he managed to interest a visiting non-Muslim German scholar, who in turn persuaded the German government to organize and find a restoration project.
Soon after the project began, it became clear that the “paper grave” is a resting place for, among other things, tens of thousands of fragments from close to a thousand different codices of the Quran. Muslim authorities during early days cherished the belief that worn out and damaged copies of the Quran must be removed from circulation leaving only the unblemished editions of the scripture for use. Also such a safe place was required to protect the books from looting or destruction if invaders come and hence the idea of a grave in the Great Mosque in Sana’a, which was a place of learning and dissemination of the Quran and was in existence from the first century of the Hijrah.
Restoration of the manuscript has been organized and supervised by Gerd R. Puin of Saarland University, Germany. Puin is a renowned specialist on Arabic calligraphy (the study of fine and artistic handwriting) and Quranic paleography (the study of ancient writing and documents). For ten years he extensively examined those precious parchment fragments. In 1985, his colleague H. C. Graf V. Bothmer joined him.
Carbon-dating puts the origin of some of the parchments to 645–690 CE, while calligraphic dating has pointed to their origin in 710–715 AD. Some of the parchment pages seemed to date back to the seventh and eighth centuries, i.e. Islam’s first two centuries, perhaps the oldest Quran in existence.
In 1984, the House of Manuscripts (Dar al Makhtutat) was founded close to the Great Mosque, as part of a cooperation project between the Yemeni and German authorities. An enormous endeavor began to restore the Quranic fragments. Between 1983 and 1996, approximately 15,000 out of 40,000 pages were restored, specifically 12,000 fragments on parchment and manuscripts dating back to the seventh and eighth centuries.
Until now, only three ancient copies of the Quran are found. The one preserved in the British Library in London, dates from the late seventh century and was thought to be the oldest one. But the Sana’a manuscripts are even older. Moreover, these manuscripts are written in a script that originates from the Hijaz—the region of Arabia where prophet Muhammad lived, which makes them not only the oldest to have survived, but one of the earliest authentic copies of the Quran ever. Hijazi Arabic is the script (Makkan or Madinan), in which the earliest Quran was written. Although these pieces are from the earliest Quran known to exist, they are also palimpsests (manuscripts on which the original writing has been effected for re-use).
The rare style of fine and artistic handwriting in the manuscripts had fascinated both Puin and his friend Bothmer, but more surprise was awaiting them. When these ancient Qurans were compared with the present standard one, both of them were stunned. The ancient texts were found to be devastatingly and disturbingly at odds with the existing form. There are unconventional verse ordering, small but significant textual variations, different orthography (spelling) and different artistic embellishment (decoration).
It shattered the orthodox Muslim belief that the Quran, as it has reached us today, is “the perfect, timeless, and unchanging Word of God”. It means Quran has been distorted, perverted, revised, modified and corrected, and textual alterations had taken place over the years purely by Human hands.
The sacred aura surrounding this Holy Scripture of Islam, which remained intact for some 14 centuries is gone with this astonishing discovery and the ‘core belief’ of 1.4b Muslims that the Quran is the eternal, unaltered word of God is now clearly visible as a great hoax, a downright falsehood.
Not only this, the Quranic claim that nobody can alter the words of God is also a fake. Quran is supposed to be, in the words of Guillaume (1978, p. 74), “The holy of holies. It must never rest beneath other books, but always on top of them, one must never drink or smoke when it is being read aloud, and it must be listened to in silence. It is a talisman against disease and disaster”. Muslims call the Quran the ‘Mother of Books’, and believe that no other book or revelation can compare (Caner & Caner, 2002, p 84). However, it’s all gone now. The end-result of whole Islamic struggle of the last fourteen centuries is a big zero.
As if it is not enough, many manuscripts showed the sign of palimpsests, i.e., versions very clearly written over even earlier washed off versions. The underwriting of palimpsest is, of course, often difficult to read visually, but modern tools, such as ultraviolet photography, can highlight them. It suggests that the Sana’a manuscripts are not only variants to the present version of the Quran, but the Sana’a manuscripts themselves were variants of earlier version, re-written on the same paper. It means, Allah’s claim that original text is preserved in heaven on golden tablets (Q 56: 77–78; 85:21–22), which none can touch except angels is also a fairy-tale.
Puin, after extensively studying these manuscripts, came to the conclusion that the text is actually an evolving text rather than simply the word of God as revealed in its entirety to Muhammad (Warraq, 2002, p. 109). He wrote:
“So many Muslims have this belief that everything between the two covers of the Quran is just God’s unaltered word. They like to quote the textual work that shows that the Bible has a history and did not fall straight out of the sky, but until now the Quran has been out of discussion. The only way to break through this wall is to prove that the Quran has a history too. The Sana’a’s fragments will help us to do this.”
Puin even concluded (cited Taher, 2000) that “It is not one single work that has survived unchanged through the centuries. It may include stories that were written before the prophet Mohammed began his ministry and which have subsequently been rewritten”.
During their research, as Puin (Lester, 1999) recalls, “They [Yemeni authorities] wanted to keep this thing low profile, as we do too, although for different reasons. They don’t want attention drawn to the fact that there are Germans and others working on the Qurans. They don’t want it made public that there is work being done at all, since the Muslim position is that everything that needs to be said about the Quran’s history was said a thousand years ago.”
In fact, Puin and Bothmer knew for sometime during their study that the Quran is an evolving text, but they wisely understood the possible implications of their findings and kept quiet. If Yemeni authorities come to know about this discovery, they may even refuse them further access. This is actually what Puin called ‘different reasons’. So both sides kept quiet, and those two scholars carried on their research unabated.
Puin’s findings also confirm Wansbrough’s assumption on the Quranic text. In the 1970s, Wansbrough concluded that the Quran evolved only gradually in the seventh and eighth centuries after a long period of oral transmissions; different sects used to argue furiously with each other on the genuineness of the revelations. The reason that no Islamic source-materials from the very beginning of Islam never survived is because it never existed. In fact, Puin admitted ‘rereading Wansbrough’ during the course of analyzing the Yemeni fragments (Warraq, 2002, p. 122).
Puin's other radical theory is that pre-Islamic sources have entered the Quran. He argues that two tribes it mentions, As-Sahab-ar-Rass (Companions of the Well) and As- Sahab-al-Aiqa (Companions of the Thorny Bushes), are not part of the Arab tradition, and the people of Muhammad's time certainly did not know about them. He also disagrees that the Quran was written in the purest Arabic. The very word ‘Quran’ itself is of foreign origin. Contrary to popular Muslim belief, the meaning of ‘Quran’ is not recitation. It is actually derived from an Aramaic word, ‘Qariyun’, meaning a lectionary of scripture portions appointed to be read at divine service. Quran contains most of the biblical stories but in a shorter form and is ‘a summary of the Bible to be read in service’.
Bothmer has painstakingly finished taking more than thirty-five thousand microfilm pictures of the fragments by 1997, and brought the pictures back to Germany (Warraq, 2002, p. 109). It means now Bothmer, Puin and other scholars will finally have a chance to scrutinize the texts and to publish their findings freely.
Puin is interested to write a book on this in the future, but already wrote several short essays on their findings in various science magazines, where he pointed out several aberrations between the ancient Quran and the present standard version (cited Warraq, 2002, p. 739–44). In refuting the sacredness of the Quran, Puin wrote:
“My idea is that the Quran is a kind of cocktail of texts that were not all understood even at the time of Muhammad. Many of them may even be a hundred years older than Islam itself. The Quran claims for itself that it is ‘mubeen’, or clear. But [contrary to popular belief] if you look at it, you will notice that every fifth sentence or so simply does not make sense…the fact is that a fifth of the Quranic text is just incomprehensible. If the Quran is not comprehensible, if it can’t even be understood in Arabic, then it’s not translatable into any language. That is why Muslims are afraid. Since the Quran claims repeatedly to be clear but is not—there is an obvious and serious contradiction. Something else must be going on”.
The extraordinary discovery of Puin had fascinated Andrew Rippin, a Professor of religious studies and a leading expert on Quranic studies. Rippin (cited Warraq, 2002, p. 110) concluded, “The impact of the Yemeni manuscripts is still to be felt. Their variant readings and verse orders are all very significant. Everybody agrees on that. These manuscripts say that the early history of Quranic text is much more of an open question than many have suspected. The text was less stable and therefore had less authority, than has always been claimed”.
Rippin’s observation was superb. During the period of early Caliphs, Islam grew as political movement and not as a religious movement. A book like the Quran was required to keep the Muslims united. The Quran is just like a ‘status symbol’ of Islam, without which Islam would have died during the time of Muhammad only. The Quran is purely manmade. Some sort of Divinity was attached to the Quran so that it can command some respect, because it could not stand on its own worth. This way, in acknowledging the claims of the Quran as the direct utterance of the Divinity, the early manipulators had blocked all criticisms, which can otherwise expose it. The Quran itself prohibits criticism in verses 5:101 and 5:102. We do not know when religious blindness crept in, but undoubtedly, the early Muslims after Muhammad were more liberal than the present generation we are seeing today. The authenticity of many verses had been called into question by the early Muslims themselves. Many Kharijites, who were followers of Ali in the early history of Islam, found the Sura recounting the story of Joseph offensive, an erotic tale that cannot belong to the Quran (cited Warraq, 1998, p. 17).
Warraq (1998, p. 14) has the same view as Rippin, “Muslim scholars of the early years of Islam were far more flexible in their position, realizing that parts of the Quran was lost, perverted and that there were many thousand variants which made it impossible to talk of ‘the’ Quran”.
There is another proof that Quranic messages were distorted in the early days of Islam and nothing like ‘The’ Quran does exist any more. Inscriptions of several Quranic verses are decorated on the Dome of Rock of Jerusalem, which is most probably the first Islamic monument meant to be a major artistic achievement, built in 691 CE (Whelan, 1998, p. 1–14). These inscriptions significantly differ from the present standard text (Warraq, 2000, p. 34).
Mingana (cited Warraq, 1998, p.80) laments that “The most important question in the study of the Quran is its unchallengeable authority”. This is the only reason that critical investigation of the text of the Quran is a study which is still in its immaturity. As Rippin (1991, p. ix) lamented, “I have often encountered individuals who come to the study of Islam with a background in the historical study of the Hebrew Bible or early Christianity, and who express surprise at the lack of critical thought that appears in introductory textbooks of Islam. The notion that ‘Islam is born in the clear light of history’ still seems to be assumed by a great many writers of such texts.’”
Cook and Crone (1977, p. 18) concluded that “[The Quran] strikingly lacking in overall structure, frequently obscure and inconsequential in both language and content perfunctory in its liking of disparate materials and given to the repetition of whole passages in variant versions. On this basis, it can be argued that the book is the product of a belated and imperfect editing of materials from a plurality of traditions.” Crone (cited Warraq, 1998, p. 33) wrote elsewhere that “The Quran has generated masses of spurious information”.
But in case of the Bible, it is different, as Rodhinson (1980, p. viii) observed: “[For Bible] the scientific attitude begins with the decision to accept something as fact only if the source has been proved reliable”. Muslims wrongly interpret the honesty Christians display about some variant readings of the Bible as weakness (Ali & Spencer; 2003, p. 76–9). Christians, like Hindus, want to see their Holy book through scientific and historical point of view. When old Biblical manuscripts, parchments or ancient Hindu manuscripts are discovered, Christian and Hindu scholars almost climb over each other’s shoulder to gain an early access to them. Such findings cause great excitement to them. But sadly, no such excitement exists in Islam. Christians and Hindus are eager to see more and more light shed on the earliest manuscripts of their scriptures, while Muslims resist, often with violent determination. The contrast is really striking: while both Hindu and Christian faiths are strongly backed up by archeological and historical evidence, so far as concerns Islam, neither any archeological exploration was allowed in Mecca and Medina, nor is there any prospect in the future (Peters, 1986, p. 72–4).
Muslim criticism of the Quran is very rare and almost nonexistent as Sina (2008, p. 6) lamented, “Muslims are genuinely incapable of questioning Islam”. Recently, ex-Muslim websites are doing some remarkable work on this. Ultimately, these enlightened people will successfully free their Muslim brothers and sisters from the Islamic prison. Otherwise whatever criticism is done on the Quran are all by the Christian scholars. But Muslims should not take the Christian criticism as a mark of religious opposition. Christian scholars have done much more criticism of their own religion than Islam (Sproul & Saleeb, 2003. p. 17; Spencer, 2007, p. 1).
But once the Sana’a findings are published in details, Islam will not be the same as it was for fourteen centuries. Islam is definitely going to take a strange position. Many Muslims will cast doubt on sacredness of the Quran, and the very ‘romantic’ concept of the Quran will gradually disappear, and then a very interesting development can be observed. The first question, which will appear in their mind is: which version is superior. But then, it is not possible to choose a Quran and discard the other by preference. Because the Muslim belief also confirms that he, who denies a single verse of the Quran, denies the entire revelation. This is a logical impossibility and since scientific research had already spoken out the truth, many Muslims will seek a way out of this nonsense, and will try to free themselves from the tyrannical oppression of living in a false religion.
While discussing Muslim’s apathy to science, reason and natural law, Jaki (cited Spencer, 2002, p. 127) wrote, “What is occurring in the Muslim world today is a confrontation, not between God and devil… but between a very specific God and science which is a very specific antagonist of that God, the Allah of the Quran, in whom the will wholly dominates the intellect”.
The Sana’a discovery will just add fuel to the fire. Today the Muslim world is beset with frustration. Islam is supposed to be the final revelation and Muslims are supposed to be the “Best of Mankind”, but the reality is just opposite. Muslim nations are poorest in the world (Ohmyrus, 2006, p. 128). A time will come when the religious authorities will be asked by common Muslims to refute the critics by logic, science and reason, not by violence or Fatwa. As Parvez Manzoor wrote, “Sooner or later [we Muslims] will have to approach the Quran from methodological assumptions and parameters that are radically at odds with the ones consecrated by our tradition” (Warraq, 2002, p. 123)
The Sana’a manuscripts will also provoke another question. If the Quran is a lie, how the lie survived for so many centuries? The reason is that the Divinity attached to Quran is not ‘A Small Lie’, but ‘The Big Lie’. The big lies are very powerful, and it always has a psychological effect on the listeners. The bigger the lie, the more believable it is. Adolf Hitler wrote in Mein Kamph (1925), “The broad mass of a Nation will fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.” Big lies are extraordinarily convincing, because it offsets the scale of the listener’s commonsense, as Sina (2008, p. 179) explains: an ordinary person does not dare to tell a big lie thinking that it would not be believed and he would be ridiculed. Since there is no one who had never told a lie in his life, small lies are often detectable sooner or later. But the big lies are so strange that it often startle the listener. When the lie is gigantic, the average person is left to wonder how anyone can have the courage, the impudence to say such a thing.
Big lies always work wonder in politics. As George Orwell (cites Sina, 2008, p. 179) said, “Political language … is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and give an appearance of solidity to pure wind”.
Today, when the divinity of the Quran is shattered by the Sana’a manuscripts, the spiritual nature of Islam is also exposed. Islam is nothing but a pure Arab political movement. The Divinity was attached to the Quran, when Arabs started conquering the surrounding nations, and Islam was imposed on them by force. Arabs not only imposed Islam on others, but also imposed this irrational belief of Quranic divinity to the minds of their victims, so that once Arabs are gone, the conquered people cannot come out from this mental enslavement, and return back to their original faith. It is a rare political skill. Many companions of Muhammad clearly knew that the Quran was fake, but they remained with their prophet to share the booty and to enjoy the women. We all know, after Muhammad’s death, several Arab tribes returned back to their original belief, and idolatry flourished, but were forced back to Islam with the sword and bloodbath.
With much shock to Muslims, modern study on Psychology had spoken out the truth that Muhammad was an imposter, a madman, who was suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Narcissists are such self-absorbed persons, who are pathological liars. It means, either they are unaware of their lies or feel completely justified and at easy in lying to others. Their mental condition is such that they have that rare capability to believe their own lies (Vaknin, 1999, p. 24).
And, yes, Adolf Hitler, who was aware of the power of Big lie, and misguided millions of Germans, is also recognized as a Narcissist. Today Hitler is the most hated historical figure in Germany. Like a mathematical certainty, Muhammad will earn the same fate. But we really do not know, how many million more will die before we can put Muhammad in dustbin with his Allah, Quran and Islam altogether. For Hitler, it was National Socialism (another name of Nazism) and for Muhammad it was Islam, but deep down, both were two sides of same coin—successful manipulators.
Sina (2008, p. iv, 260) commented that “Islam is like a house of cards, sustained by lies. All it takes to demolish is to challenge one of those lies holding it together. It is a tall building, erected on quicksand; once you expose its foundation, the sand will wash away and this mighty edifice will fall under its own weight”, and that “Islam stands on a very shaky ground. It rests on nothing but lies. All we have to do to demolish it is to expose those lies and this gigantic edifice of terror and deception will collapse.”
Let’s see, once the sacred aura of Quran is gone, what other lies are exposed.
First, if there are two or more versions of the Quran, then there must be equal number of Allahs. So, if only two Qurans are authentic, will Islam be deemed monotheistic any longer? And how to decide which Allah gave which Quran? If there is only one Allah, then which Quran is authentic, and which is fake?
Second, if we still believe that one Quran is authentic, then how Allah allowed the others to survive?
Third, is it anymore true as the Quran says Allah’s words do not change (10.64); this is indeed the mighty achievement?
If yes, what more than one Quran is doing now? If not, how this false revelation is recorded in the Quran? Did Satan put it?
Finally, Bukhari (4.52.233) records that “Unbelievers will never understand our signs and revelations.” But we see, for understanding the Sana’a Quran, the Yemeni authorities invited German scholars, because there was no one in Yemen capable of working on this rich find.
No wonder that Sina (2008) concluded: “No matter how you look at Islam it turns out to be a foolish religion.”
Although Muslims have sold their soul to Muhammad, can they logically clear the above doubts? The Sana’a episode had put them in such an awkward position that even circular reasoning or absurd logic will not help. Isn’t it time for prudent Muslims to give a second thought to their cherished faith? Instead of trying hard to reason out the above doubts, isn’t it more sensible to agree that the entire Muslim ummah had been fooled by a vulgar imposter named Prophet Muhammad? Isn’t it time for Muslims to care truth? As poet Thomas Gray (cited Sagan, 1997, p. 12) wrote, “… where ignorance is bliss, “Tis [It is] folly to be wise”.
To protect the Quran from more humiliation, Yemeni authorities already debarred Puin and Bothmer from further examination of those manuscripts. In fact, now they do not allow anyone to see those manuscripts anymore except some very carefully selected non-Quranic parchments, which are at display at the ground floor of Dar al-Makhtutat Library. But this is not going to help; the bird is out of the cage already; it is useless closing the door now. More than thirty-five thousand microfilms are out of Yemen before the authorities came to know; and already, several duplicates have been made. The present author is sure that, at this very moment, in some undisclosed location in Germany, a group of experts are endlessly working on those microfilms and Puin is burning enough midnight oil to complete his book, which, once published, will hammer another nail in the coffin of Islam. Islam is in real danger now.
Obviously, by realizing the Divine downfall within sight, many Muslims are disturbed and offended. The fundamentalists will not accept Puin's and Bothmer’s work as having been done with academic objectivity, but see it as a deliberate attack on the integrity of the Quranic text (Taher, 2000). Naturally, those two German scholars will be at the forefront of Muslims’ rage. Puin fears a violent backlash from orthodox Muslims because of his "blasphemous" theory, which he says, he cannot take lightly. By recalling the Salman Rushdie affair he wrote, “My conclusions have sparked angry reactions from orthodox Muslims. They've said I'm not really the scholar to make any remarks on these manuscripts”. If Puin's views are taken up and trumpeted in the media, and if there are not many Muslims being rational about it, then all hell may break loose. There will be some hostile response and riots causing much death and destruction, may be another fatwa from Khomeini and surely some hollow threats from our camera-loving Bin Laden, and his ideological brothers. But can they stop the truth from spreading?
UNESCO has shown genuine interest in the Sana’a manuscripts ever since the Memory of the World programme started. In 1995, the Organization also produced a CD-ROM in Arabic, English and French illustrating the history of the collection containing both Quranic and non-Quranic materials. The CD-ROM offers 651 images of 302 Quranic fragments, indexed by script, frames etc., a general introduction to the Yemenite manuscripts collections, and a brief description on the evolution of Arabic calligraphy (Abid, 1997).
Ursula Dreibholz, a preservation expert, who worked on the Sana’a project for eight years as the chief conservator, is much frustrated by seeing the lack of concern of Yemeni authorities to protect those manuscripts by using modern technology (1983, p. 30–8). Neither the security devices are correct, nor is adequate attention being given to the manuscripts to avoid further deterioration (1996, p. 131–45). In fact, Dreibholz (1999, p. 21–5) said that it was her greatest concern to create a safe and reliable permanent storage system for the restored fragments. Also, the poor storage hardly has any protection from insects and water. Most importantly, there is a lack of fire prevention or detection system, keeping in mind the truly catastrophic fires that have destroyed important libraries and artworks around the world throughout history. The Yemeni authorities said they have neither money nor means to install fire protection systems. She does not understand the genuine reason behind the apathy of Yemeni authorities.
Here Muslim fundamentalists can see a silver lining in the cloud. No one knows when a devastating fire will break out ‘accidentally’ and destroy all the Quranic manuscripts, a cause of intense heartburn to them. After all, for saving Islam, the Quran must be saved, for which Muslims will go any length. If necessary, they will burn the Quran to save it from logical analysis. Their devotion to stupidity is really that high. Probably, the Yemeni authority’s unwillingness to install fire-protection systems is an initial preparation for such an act in the future. Never underestimate the destructive capability of the brainless bigots.
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