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Author Topic: Woman denied haircut goes to Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario  (Read 772 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 16, 2012, 04:46:31 PM »

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A request for a lunch-hour haircut has turned into a battle over human rights, pitting freedom of religion against a woman’s right not to be denied service based on her gender.

Faith McGregor walked into the Terminal Barber Shop on Bay St. in June to get a haircut — the “businessman,” short on the sides, tapered, trim the top. The shop, like many barbers in Toronto, doesn’t do women’s haircuts. But McGregor, 35, said she wanted a men’s cut.

Shop co-owner Omar Mahrouk told her his Muslim faith prohibits him from touching a woman who is not a member of his family. All the other barbers said the same thing.

“For me it was just a haircut and started out about me being a woman. Now we’re talking about religion versus gender versus human rights and businesses in Ontario,” said McGregor.

She filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario almost immediately, saying she felt like a “second-class citizen.”
Tough call.
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2012, 04:57:22 PM »

This is ridiculous.
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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2012, 05:02:14 PM »

Why does she feel that she has to get her hair cut by a mustlim?
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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2012, 05:04:08 PM »

As stupid as it is, I think that I am going to have to support the woman on this issue by stating that businesses should not be allowed to refuse people service because of personal reasons. The reason for this being that if a man can refuse a woman a haircut because of his religion, who's to say that racial extremists can't go back to refusing Blacks and Hispanics service in restaurants or barbershops? So while I may think that this particular case is stupid, I would have to side with the women because I don't like the potential for badness it would open up if we allowed businesses to refuse people service because of personal reasons.
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« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2012, 05:07:39 PM »

As stupid as it is, I think that I am going to have to support the woman on this issue by stating that businesses should not be allowed to refuse people service because of personal reasons. The reason for this being that if a man can refuse a woman a haircut because of his religion, who's to say that racial extremists can't go back to refusing Blacks and Hispanics service in restaurants or barbershops? So while I may think that this particular case is stupid, I would have to side with the women because I don't like the potential for badness it would open up if we allowed businesses to refuse people service because of personal reasons.
Good points. It should also be pointed out that even though the Quran itself does not prohibit men from touching non-related women, other parts of Islamic tradition do prohibit it. If she were in NYC, rather than Toronto, I could possibly see something like this reaching the SCOTUS.
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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2012, 05:08:56 PM »

Uh yes James businesses should refuse anyone they like. If I don't want you as a customer then I lose business, sure but her lack of respect and she knew exactly what she was doing to stir trouble.

It's like going to Mt Athos and having a woman demanding entrance.
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« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2012, 05:09:48 PM »

Uh yes James businesses should refuse anyone they like. If I don't want you as a customer then I lose business, sure but her lack of respect and she knew exactly what she was doing to stir trouble.

It's like going to Mt Athos and having a woman demanding entrance.
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« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2012, 05:12:57 PM »

Uh yes James businesses should refuse anyone they like.

Says a White heterosexual person

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If I don't want you as a customer then I lose business, sure but her lack of respect and she knew exactly what she was doing to stir trouble.

I'm not defending her personally. What she did was a low-blow dirty move, but I'm saying that by principle I am forced to defend her position because I don't want other people being refused service by businesses for xenophobic reasons like racism or homophobia.

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It's like going to Mt Athos and having a woman demanding entrance.

Mt. Athos is not a business and there is separation of Church and State (well, at least in the US) so religious institutions are different.
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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2012, 05:16:19 PM »

Where is there xenophobia?

Guy couldn't touch a woman based on his faith. She needs to respect that.

And even still if he didn't want to help her for whatever reason that's his choice to do so. If I run a business I want the freedom to choose my clientele base.
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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2012, 05:29:48 PM »

Where is there xenophobia?

There isn't in this case. But what I am saying is that allowing businesses to refuse people service based on personal reasons can open up the door for xenophobic individuals to refuse service to people based on xenophobia and hatred, leading to others being discriminated against.

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Guy couldn't touch a woman based on his faith. She needs to respect that.

A guy couldn't touch a Jew or a Mexican or a homosexual because of his Nazi political idealogy. We need to respect that.

Quote
And even still if he didn't want to help her for whatever reason that's his choice to do so. If I run a business I want the freedom to choose my clientele base.

I don't know how much I agree with this. I don't like the idea of businesses being allowed to go back to the American South pre-Civil Rights times when you could blatantly refuse people based on race, ethnicity and sexuality. Such hatred and xenophobia will not only make life a living hell for the said minority groups, but will further divide the nation and promote hatred among society. Perhaps there is a middle ground.
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2012, 05:42:39 PM »

Where is there xenophobia?

There isn't in this case. But what I am saying is that allowing businesses to refuse people service based on personal reasons can open up the door for xenophobic individuals to refuse service to people based on xenophobia and hatred, leading to others being discriminated against.

Quote
Guy couldn't touch a woman based on his faith. She needs to respect that.

A guy couldn't touch a Jew or a Mexican or a homosexual because of his Nazi political idealogy. We need to respect that.

Quote
And even still if he didn't want to help her for whatever reason that's his choice to do so. If I run a business I want the freedom to choose my clientele base.

I don't know how much I agree with this. I don't like the idea of businesses being allowed to go back to the American South pre-Civil Rights times when you could blatantly refuse people based on race, ethnicity and sexuality. Such hatred and xenophobia will not only make life a living hell for the said minority groups, but will further divide the nation and promote hatred among society. Perhaps there is a middle ground.
Would it be different if he was a masseur refusing a massage?

You're getting your reasons mixed up with excuses.
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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2012, 05:50:55 PM »

This sort of thing has come up in the courts here in Ontario before. As it turns out, the courts do allow for discrimination on religious grounds, but at the same time they will look at the intrusiveness of the request. Here is an explanation from an example that made headlines at the time:
http://www.evangelicalfellowship.ca/page.aspx?pid=1658

or here if you want more.

It would seem to me that the courts would rule in favour of the barber in this case. However, if the woman had gone in merely to buy some item that was for sale and denied service, then the barber would have overstepped his demands.

Also, the denial of service placed no undue hardship on the woman. She had other options.

(However, I have to admit to a bit of pleasure in the fact that for once it's not Christians who are on the hotseat  Wink)
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« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2012, 06:00:23 PM »

Where is there xenophobia?

There isn't in this case. But what I am saying is that allowing businesses to refuse people service based on personal reasons can open up the door for xenophobic individuals to refuse service to people based on xenophobia and hatred, leading to others being discriminated against.

Quote
Guy couldn't touch a woman based on his faith. She needs to respect that.

A guy couldn't touch a Jew or a Mexican or a homosexual because of his Nazi political idealogy. We need to respect that.

Quote
And even still if he didn't want to help her for whatever reason that's his choice to do so. If I run a business I want the freedom to choose my clientele base.

I don't know how much I agree with this. I don't like the idea of businesses being allowed to go back to the American South pre-Civil Rights times when you could blatantly refuse people based on race, ethnicity and sexuality. Such hatred and xenophobia will not only make life a living hell for the said minority groups, but will further divide the nation and promote hatred among society. Perhaps there is a middle ground.
I am not sure how you think this leads to xenophobia and hatred. If I created a company that refused to serve ______ group, it would not be good for business. Not only would I be losing customers from the discriminated group, but I would also be losing business from egalitarians/political correctists/etc. The vast majority of businesses are motivated by profit, not political/racial/etc. positions. Besides, would you really want to get your haircut by someone who hates your guts?

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« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2012, 06:03:18 PM »

I think Achronos is on a roll with this one.  +1

If that xenophobic, racist, woman would just have been more tolerant of their religion none of this would have happened.  I think the Moslem showed a great deal of restrain in dealing with the injustice he was subjected to.

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« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2012, 06:21:45 PM »

Besides, would you really want to get your haircut by someone who hates your guts?
This was one of the prime arguments against de-segregation in the American South: "Would you [Black person] want to go to school with someone who hates your guts?"

Between (1) giving a business-person absolute right to reject anyone, for any reason; and (2) not allowing a business-person any ability to discriminate regarding whom he/she will do business with; there is a middle ground.
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« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2012, 06:59:24 PM »

A similar case came up here in Albuquerque a few years ago, to the tune of about $7,000 (depending on which news outlet you believe; I've also read $6,000). Maybe some of you have heard about it: Christian Photographer Who Refused Gay Wedding Lost Lawsuit. It has been appealed to the NM Supreme Court, though I have not heard of any outcome from that.

In this haircut case as well as the photographer case, I have to side with the business owner. For all the talk we hear from all sides about a free-market economy, you'd think that the people involved in these cases would trust the market to decide, and a photographer who refused to photograph gay weddings or a muslim barber shop that refused to handle women's haircuts would lose the percentage of people who are excluded from procuring their services, and also the percentage of people who care so much about the "human rights" aspect of these situations to actually avoid those businesses.

When it comes right down to it, you can compel people by law to deal with you (apparently in NM and now possibly in Canada, anyway), but this is not what changes minds. In fact, usually quite the opposite. Forced values aren't any kind of actual values at all. As far as relates to the Civil Rights movement in the American south (which is to say, very little), they protested rightly "separate but equal" facilities that were in fact not equal at all. Unless it can be proven that the lady in question would receive substantially poorer service from another barber, then isn't it in her best interest to go to the barber who can do the equally good or better job without the hassle? It is, just like the NM photography case, really about punishing other people for hurting somebody's feelings (and, in both cases, the refusers when out of their way to be polite about it, so we might wonder just how fragile the poor, hurt accusers are that they cannot handle the fact that not everything in the world caters to their whims; most of us learned that about the world by age 5, I bet). Are feelings now a protected class of their own?
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« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2012, 07:57:40 PM »

Why is there the presumption that the barber's intentions were discriminatory and not out of respect?  My understanding is that the muslim tradition of not touching unrelated members of the opposite sex goes for women as well.  Am I wrong?
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« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2012, 08:22:11 PM »

Besides, would you really want to get your haircut by someone who hates your guts?
This was one of the prime arguments against de-segregation in the American South: "Would you [Black person] want to go to school with someone who hates your guts?"

Between (1) giving a business-person absolute right to reject anyone, for any reason; and (2) not allowing a business-person any ability to discriminate regarding whom he/she will do business with; there is a middle ground.
If the choice is between freedom and modern society's quasi-religious pseudo-egalitarianism (the middle path), I will choose the former. What makes discrimination in business any different from discrimination in marriage and friendships (two areas in which almost everyone defends the right of the individual)?
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« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2012, 08:34:42 PM »

I am not sure how you think this leads to xenophobia and hatred.

Figures, you also couldn't see why parents shouldn't be allowed to endanger their children's health by refusing them vaccinations...

It leads to xenophobia and hatred because if one religious group--even if they are genuine, respectful and not motivated by hate--can refuse service to a particular group of people, then anyone--even some pretty nasty, xenophobic people--can do the same thing. They can refuse service to particular groups because of their hatred and then defend their practices by claiming it as being religious. "Oh, but serving Blacks/Mexicans/Homosexuals violates my [insert rightist half-Nazi/half Protestant offshoot religious cult here] religious views!!". I don't want these nasty people to be able to discriminate against us like they did back before the Civil Rights Movement. Sure, it sucks because genuine religious people might suffer in the process, but I think that it is a fair price to pay for order in society and fairness for targeted groups.

Quote
If I created a company that refused to serve ______ group, it would not be good for business.Not only would I be losing customers from the discriminated group, but I would also be losing business from egalitarians/political correctists/etc. The vast majority of businesses are motivated by profit, not political/racial/etc. positions.

This didn't stop businesses in the South before the Civil Rights Movement and to this very day still has not stopped a small number of them that still exist and refuse service to certain groups of people. Plus, I find it very unsettling and insecure that the only thing standing between targeted groups and returning to pre-Civil Rights times would be companies' fear of losing business. No. Because they can easily give up that fear, or not care anymore and be more motivated by hate than business. They need laws to keep them in line and ensure stability in society.

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Besides, would you really want to get your haircut by someone who hates your guts?

That's the same argument that rednecks used during the Civil Rights Movement. "Do you really wanna go to the same school as kids who hate you?" or "Do you really wanna eat at a restaurant owned by people who hate you?" etc.

To answer it directly, no, I would not. But if I wanted to or needed to, then that option should be available to me and every other targeted group in the world. Why should the law favor the ones advocating hate? Likewise, what if the bigots own the only grocery store or barbershop in town? Should targeted groups have to drive all the way out of town just to get groceries or a haircut? That's unstable. Your politics will shatter society.
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« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2012, 08:36:11 PM »

James, have you ever heard the expression "no shoes, no shirt, no service"?
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« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2012, 08:36:37 PM »

What makes discrimination in business any different from discrimination in marriage and friendships (two areas in which almost everyone defends the right of the individual)?

Come on, you are obviously smarter than that. Do I even need to explain it to you?

Marriage and friendships affect no one else except for the consenting individuals, ie, the spouses or friends. But businesses will affect everyone in society and have the power to ultimately divide and make or break society.
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« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2012, 08:39:20 PM »

James, have you ever heard the expression "no shoes, no shirt, no service"?

Yup, and there is nothing wrong with that. The reason being that there are legitimate reasons why people who are not wearing shoes or a shirt should be served. Perhaps it could be unsanitary and violate health protocols or endanger other people's health. Or perhaps they could harm their bare feet if they step on something sharp in the store and then the company could possibly be facing a lawsuit. There is a difference between this and total permission to be prejudiced.
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« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2012, 08:43:09 PM »

James, have you ever heard the expression "no shoes, no shirt, no service"?

Yup, and there is nothing wrong with that. The reason being that there are legitimate reasons why people who are not wearing shoes or a shirt should be served. Perhaps it could be unsanitary and violate health protocols or endanger other people's health. Or perhaps they could harm their bare feet if they step on something sharp in the store and then the company could possibly be facing a lawsuit. There is a difference between this and total permission to be prejudiced.

Being forced to violate your religious beliefs is not a "legitimate" reason?
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« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2012, 08:49:16 PM »

I guess kids should say they should be served beer otherwise it is age discrimination.  Or maybe not even minors, but 18-20 year olds.  They can vote, they can go to war for their country, but they can't drink beer.
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« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2012, 08:50:57 PM »

James, have you ever heard the expression "no shoes, no shirt, no service"?

Yup, and there is nothing wrong with that. The reason being that there are legitimate reasons why people who are not wearing shoes or a shirt should be served. Perhaps it could be unsanitary and violate health protocols or endanger other people's health. Or perhaps they could harm their bare feet if they step on something sharp in the store and then the company could possibly be facing a lawsuit. There is a difference between this and total permission to be prejudiced.

Mostly it is to preserve the "high class" feel of the place of buisness.  You can argue it is Elitism.
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« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2012, 08:54:29 PM »

I definitely side with the Muslim in this case.
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« Reply #26 on: November 17, 2012, 12:37:49 AM »

It leads to xenophobia and hatred because if one religious group--even if they are genuine, respectful and not motivated by hate--can refuse service to a particular group of people, then anyone--even some pretty nasty, xenophobic people--can do the same thing. They can refuse service to particular groups because of their hatred and then defend their practices by claiming it as being religious. "Oh, but serving Blacks/Mexicans/Homosexuals violates my [insert rightist half-Nazi/half Protestant offshoot religious cult here] religious views!!". I don't want these nasty people to be able to discriminate against us like they did back before the Civil Rights Movement. Sure, it sucks because genuine religious people might suffer in the process, but I think that it is a fair price to pay for order in society and fairness for targeted groups.
I am not sure how this leads to xenophobia/racism/etc. It gives already xenophobic/racist people the ability to discriminate in relation their business clientele, but it certainly doesn't spread those ideas.

I tend to avoid utilitarian morals, so I don't buy the "fair price to pay" mentality. The ends should never justify immoral means.

This didn't stop businesses in the South before the Civil Rights Movement and to this very day still has not stopped a small number of them that still exist and refuse service to certain groups of people. Plus, I find it very unsettling and insecure that the only thing standing between targeted groups and returning to pre-Civil Rights times would be companies' fear of losing business. No. Because they can easily give up that fear, or not care anymore and be more motivated by hate than business. They need laws to keep them in line and ensure stability in society.
Well, we are not living in the 1960s. Given the values of the time, the prospect of people becoming racist overnight is unbelievable. People are absolutely terrified of being called a racist in today's society (given the stigma involved). Do you really think that businesses of all places want this stigma?

Just out of curiosity, can you name any businesses in the American south that refuse to serve certain minority groups? I ask because I live in the South and have yet to come across one. Certainly you can name one (or are you going off of stereotypes?).

That's the same argument that rednecks used during the Civil Rights Movement. "Do you really wanna go to the same school as kids who hate you?" or "Do you really wanna eat at a restaurant owned by people who hate you?" etc.
I find it strange that a self-proclaimed Marxist (if I remember correctly) would use a socio-economic pejorative.

To answer it directly, no, I would not. But if I wanted to or needed to, then that option should be available to me and every other targeted group in the world. Why should the law favor the ones advocating hate? Likewise, what if the bigots own the only grocery store or barbershop in town? Should targeted groups have to drive all the way out of town just to get groceries or a haircut? That's unstable. Your politics will shatter society.
What if there is no store in town? Should we force someone to open one? No, the market provides. Likewise, competition will inevitably arise. If the people are truly bigoted (and this is a very unlikely scenario), another store will eventually open up to compete - taking both the excluded market share and those who oppose the other store's prejudice. Non-beneficial monopolies almost never exist in economically free societies.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2012, 12:46:22 AM by Ioannis Climacus » Logged

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« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2012, 12:41:32 AM »

What makes discrimination in business any different from discrimination in marriage and friendships (two areas in which almost everyone defends the right of the individual)?

Come on, you are obviously smarter than that. Do I even need to explain it to you?

Marriage and friendships affect no one else except for the consenting individuals, ie, the spouses or friends. But businesses will affect everyone in society and have the power to ultimately divide and make or break society.
Business transactions are just as free and consent-based as marriage and friendship. My business dealings have about as much of an effect on society as my spouse or friend choices.
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« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2012, 12:46:58 AM »

How dare those Muslims deny her a haircut she has a right to!

How dare you deny me the right to go into a woman's restroom so I can pee!

How dare you deny me the right to my feminazi membership!

How dare you deny me the right to get a pedicure... Wait.
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« Reply #29 on: November 17, 2012, 02:28:24 AM »

James, have you ever heard the expression "no shoes, no shirt, no service"?

You know where that came from?
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« Reply #30 on: November 17, 2012, 02:35:02 AM »

James, have you ever heard the expression "no shoes, no shirt, no service"?

You know where that came from?

Hippies should always be discriminated against.
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« Reply #31 on: November 17, 2012, 04:26:45 AM »

I am not sure how you think this leads to xenophobia and hatred.
It leads to xenophobia and hatred because if one religious group--even if they are genuine, respectful and not motivated by hate--can refuse service to a particular group of people, then anyone--even some pretty nasty, xenophobic people--can do the same thing.
What's wrong with that? Do you advocate sending out the thought police to make sure no one thinks a xenophobic or hateful thought against another person?
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« Reply #32 on: November 17, 2012, 04:36:47 AM »

As stupid as it is, I think that I am going to have to support the woman on this issue by stating that businesses should not be allowed to refuse people service because of personal reasons. The reason for this being that if a man can refuse a woman a haircut because of his religion, who's to say that racial extremists can't go back to refusing Blacks and Hispanics service in restaurants or barbershops? So while I may think that this particular case is stupid, I would have to side with the women because I don't like the potential for badness it would open up if we allowed businesses to refuse people service because of personal reasons.

Yeah. Because then there might be a restaurant you couldn't eat in. And the world would end. Oh, wait...no, it wouldn't.

Most likely the outrage this would cause would lead to most such restaurants closing down for lack of business in the Western world. But if one or two stayed open...so what? Whose rights are being violated? Your right to buy a hamburger from some particular person? Where does that right come from? If he's not obligated to run a restaurant at all, how can he be obligated to serve you in particular?

As morally repugnant as it may be, denying a person (of whatever race or sex, and for whatever reason) the opportunity to give me money in exchange for my stuff denies him nothing he has a right to, any more than if I didn't sell the stuff at all.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2012, 04:37:12 AM by OrthoNoob » Logged

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