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Israeli media is reporting that a Hamas leader has admitted that its military wing was responsible for the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, an event which sparked the recent round of the Gaza conflict. According to a Ynet News report, the admission was made at today’s meeting of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) in Istanbul:

Salah al-Aruri

Salah al-Aruri

Hamas leader, Saleh al-Arouri,  officially announced that the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades kidnapped three youths in the West Bank. The Hamas official’s remarks were made during a conference organized by the World Association of Muslim Scholars in Turkey. “It was a heroic act of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam,” said Al-Arui “that kidnapped three Israeli settlers in Hebron.”  (software translation from Hebrew)

The Jerusalem Post has also reported today that Saleh al-Arouri, who is based in Turkey and thought to be the founder of the Hamas military wing, was the mastermind behind what has been described as a Hamas coup attempt in the West Bank that was intended to end the rule of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and spark a third intifada.

A Turkish news portal has confirmed that the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), referred to also as the World Muslim Scholar’s Union, was scheduled to meet today in Istanbul. According to a WorldBulletin News report:

Erdogan Receives Qaradawi

Erdogan Receives Qaradawi

August 20, 2014 The World Muslim Scholar’s Union is due to meet in Turkey’s Istanbul today for their fourth term meeting.

The meeting, which will start at 17:00 local time (15:00 GMT), will feature an discussion about the role Muslim scholars should play in an Islamic awakening and dealing with problems of identity.

World famous Egyptian scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi will be among the speakers, as well as Yemeni scholar Abdulwahhab ad-Daylami and the Mufti of Chechnya Salah Mejiyev.

The position of Muslim scholars on the issues of Palestine, Jerusalem, the media and Islamic education will also be discussed.

The Qatari Gulf News had reported earlier that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had received an IUMS delegation headed by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi who heads the IUMS:

August 20, 2014 Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister and President-elect of Turkey, received yesterday morning a delegation from the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), headed by Doha-based scholar and IUMS chairman Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi. The delegation, which also included IUMS secretary-general Dr Ali al-Quradaghi, met Erdogan to congratulate him on his election. During the meeting, discussions were held on the implications of current developments for the region and the Arab and Muslim world. Erdogan also hosted a lunch banquet in honour of the delegation.

Recent years have seen Istanbul become a venue for many events tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood. As a 2011 report  on the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood networks, authored by the GMBDW editor, concluded:

The Gaza flotilla incident brought into sharp focus an even more significant long- term development: the growing relationship between the Erdogan government and the Global Muslim Brotherhood, which has given rise to some of the most notorious Islamist terrorist groups – from al-Qaeda to Hamas. Since 2006, Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood, while the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip acted as the main axis for this activity.

The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) was launched on July 11, 2004 in conjunction with a visit by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi to London for a meeting of the European Council for Fatwa and Research. Qaradawi is the IUMS President while  many prominent individuals tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood and/or Hamas serve as IUMS Trustees.

If the Israeli report is confirmed, the appearance of a senior Hamas leader at an IUMS conference, not to mention his admission of the responsibility for the murder of the Israeli teenagers, would be an extraordinary occurrence that should remove all doubts about the intimate connections between the Global Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and the current Turkish leadership. It should, but likely would not, result in a formal US terrorist designation of Qaradawi. Although the Union of Good (UOG), headed by Qaradawi, was so designated in 2008, he himself inexplicably was not. IN the past, Qaradawi has claimed he is being protected from US designation by the leadership in Qatar where he is based.

For a profile of the IUMS, go here.

For video of the IUMS meeting, go here (translation in progress)

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No doubt taking its cue from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) has issued a statement calling for an investigation into the police killing of a young black man in Ferguson, Missouri. The ICNA statement also demands an end to what it calls “the arming of the police by the military”:

imagesNEW YORK, NY, August 19, 2014 – The Islamic Circle of North America calls for State and Federal investigation of the slaying of Micheal Brown in Missouri. Among a list of demands, ICNA also calls for cessation of all violence and the arming of the police by the military.

The senseless, tragic fatal shooting of 18-year old African American Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri Police Officer Darren Wilson on Saturday, August 9, 2014 has once again elevated the public discourse around the issue of police brutality against African Americans, primarily males, and others from communities of color in the United States. Within the last month, at least five African American males have been slain under questionable circumstances by local police officers.

Eric Garner, a 43-year old asthmatic father of six from Staten Island, NY was choked to death by police officers, in broad daylight on a busy street after he was confronted about selling untaxed cigarettes. The New York medical examiner ruled the killing a “homicide.”

John Crawford, a 22-year old African American male from Beavercreek, Ohio was shot and killed by two local police officers responding to a call that a man was waving a gun inside the local Walmart. The “gun” turned out to be a BB rifle that Crawford had taken from the shelf inside the store

Read the rest here.

The GMBDW reported yesterday on a recent action alert by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) calling on imams to devote a portion of their sermons to racial equality and social justice. As we noted yesterday, an increasing emphasis on “social justice” appears to be a tactic of growing interest to the Global Muslim Brotherhood in a time of stress for the global movement. The ICNA statement goes one step further than CAIR by raising the issue of police weaponry.

The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) is a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and considered to be closely tied to the Jamaat-e-Islami organization of Southeast Asia, itself allied with the Global Muslim Brotherhood. ICNA is particularly close to the Muslim American Society and the two organizations have been holding joint conferences in recent years.

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Reuters is reporting on Hamas claims that an Israeli air strike in Gaza has killed the wife and infant son of Hamas’s military leader, Mohammed Deif. According to the report:

Hamas

Hamas

August 20 An Israeli air strike in Gaza killed the wife and infant son of Hamas’s military leader, Mohammed Deif, the group said, calling it an attempt to assassinate him after a ceasefire collapsed.

……..

Hamas and medical officials said 19 people died in the latest Israeli raids, including Deif’s wife and seven-month-old son. Deif is widely believed to be masterminding the Islamist group’s military campaign from underground bunkers.

A Hamas official said Deif, head of Hamas’s Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades had not used the targeted house, from which the bodies of three members of the family that lived there were also pulled out of the rubble.

Chanting “Qassam, bomb Tel Aviv!”, thousands of Palestinians attended the funeral of Deif’s wife and son in Jabalya refugee camp. The woman’s mother told reporters she wished she had “another 100 daughters” to offer Deif in marriage.

Read the rest here.

Earlier this month, the GMBDW reported that The New York Times had published a profile of the little known Mohammed Deif. The article begins:

August 2, 2014 GAZA CITY — On a narrow, rubble-strewn Gaza street, where an Israeli airstrike recently obliterated the home of a top Hamas leader, a group of boys and men praised a shadowy, middle-age man most Palestinians have never seen — and whom Israel is eager to kill.

‘He’s a role model for us,’ declared Ahmed, 32, a Hamas security detail, clutching a walkie-talkie. ‘He’s a legend for the children, for everyone in Gaza.’

‘He is defending our homeland,’ agreed Yassin Abu Rialah, 14.

To Israelis, Mohammed Deif is enemy number one. As the top commander of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, Deif has tormented the Jewish state for three decades, deploying suicide bombers and directing the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. He has survived several attempts by Israel to assassinate him, earning him the nickname ‘the cat with nine lives.’

Deif, according to Israeli military and intelligence officials, is the mastermind of the Palestinian militant group’s current strategy of firing rockets at Israel and building tunnel networks through which highly trained fighters can infiltrate Israel. Those and other tactics have killed 63 Israeli soldiers and three civilians inside Israel since the war began July 8, making Deif the most wanted man in Gaza.”

Read the rest here.

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Turkish media is reporting that Ibrahim Munir, a Muslim Brotherhood leader living in exile in London, has said that he expects the UK government not to give in to what he describes as pressure to label the Brotherhood a terrorist organization. According to a report in the Daily Sabah:

Ibrahim Munir

Ibrahim Munir

August 18, 2104 CAIRO – A senior member of the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood said that the British government was facing pressure from Egypt and certain Gulf States to label his group a ‘terrorist organization.’

‘We expect London not to bow to these pressures,’ the organization’s secretary-general, Ibrahim Munir, told Anadolu Agency.

On Sunday, the Financial Times newspaper reported that London had delayed publication of a report on the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities amid disagreements among government ministers and officials over the report’s findings.

The newspaper quoted officials familiar with the report as saying that the review had concluded that the group should not be designated a ‘terrorist’ organization.

According to Munir, the delay was the result of ‘pressures’ on London to steer the report in a particular direction.

‘Those in Egypt and the Gulf who supported the review [of the Brotherhood] expected to find in it a justification to accuse the Brotherhood of engaging in terrorism, which they failed to do,’ he said.

Read the rest here.

The GMBDW reported yesterday on UK media reports indicating that the investigation into the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK ordered by Prime Minister David Cameron has found that “the group does not pose a significant terror threat in the UK.” Those report also said that the final report on the investigation had been delayed pending a decision on how to present the findings.

Ibrahim Munir Mustafa (aka Ibrahim Munir, Ibrahim Mounir) was referred to in the past by the Egyptian Brotherhood as an Executive Bureau member of the Brotherhood’s International Organization while an Egyptian news report identifies him as the Secretary-General of the International Organization and one of its founders in 1982 as well as a spokesman for the Brotherhood in London.

For a profile on Mr. Munir, go here.

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The Cultural Jihad blog has posted an article titled “CAIR Embracing The Race Card: New Focus Or Exploitation?’ that analyzes a recent action alert by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) calling on imams to devote a portion of their sermons to racial equality and social justice. The post begins:

logoAugust 18, 2014 The  Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) appears to be attempting  to capitalize on the media attention generated by the Ferguson, MO shooting.  On 8/11/2014, CAIR issued an action alert that …

… called on imams (prayer leaders) nationwide to devote at least a portion of their khutbas (sermons) for tomorrow’s weekly congregational prayers (jummah) to the issues of racial equality and social justice.

That request comes in the wake of racial turmoil resulting from the fatal police shooting on Saturday of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Missouri.

An article published 8/16/2014 at Onislam.net, an Egyptian based website that frequently functions as a mirror outlet for CAIR statements and related news, highlighted the CAIR action alert started with …

… US Muslims have shared mass condemnations for the incident as a continuation of police profiling, brutality and violence against African Americans.

It should be noted that the details and facts regarding the shooting are still being collected and there have been no indications of profiling but this statement definitely sets the stage for a victim hood theme that CAIR frequently embraces.  The article continues with ..

Read the rest here.

CAIR, an important party of the US Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas support infrastructure in the US has always attempted to leverage its involvement in civil rights affairs to gain legitimacy for its work on behalf of the Brotherhood and Hamas which it calls the “Palestinian Cause.” Last week, the GMBDW posted on a new video from the Investigative Project that aptly highlighted CAIR’s conflicting statements about its mission and noted that the organization appears to be doing its best to inflame the already heated atmosphere surrounding the ongoing Gaza conflict. The GMBDW judges it most likely that CAIR’s new found interest in social justice would appear to be an attempt to broaden its legitimacy beyond that which it has gained through focusing on Muslim civil rights alone.

We also find it interesting that this tactic by CAIR comes at the same time that leading Global Muslim Brotherhood figure Tariq Ramadan has seemingly staked out his own turf in the global movement by also emphasizing a form of “social justice” albeit in the form of an expressed concern about “dictatorships.” We expect to see more jockeying for position on the part of Global Muslim Brotherhood elements as they face the ongoing stresses of losing control of Egypt and at least a partial cutoff of funding from the Gulf.

For a profile on CAIR, go here.

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Israeli media is reporting that its security service has thwarted a Hamas coup attempt in the West Bank that was intended to end the rule of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and spark a third intifada. According to a Times of Israel report:

Hamas

Hamas

August 18, 2014 Israel’s Shin Bet security service said Monday it thwarted a Hamas coup attempt in the West Bank aimed at toppling Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and starting a third intifada uprising.

The Shin Bet said it arrested more than 90 Hamas operatives in May and June, confiscated dozens of weapons that had been smuggled into the West Bank, and seized more than $170,000 aimed at funding attacks. It produced photos of the confiscated weapons and cash and a flowchart of the Hamas operatives who had been questioned, and said they planned a series of massive attacks on Israeli targets, including the Temple Mount, in order to start a widespread conflagration. Indictments are expected to be filed against at least 70 of the suspects.

Abbas said later Monday that the revelation was ‘a grave threat to the unity of the Palestinian people and its future,’ NRG reported.

The Shin Bet said terror cells were set up in dozens of Palestinian West Bank towns and villages — including in and around Jenin, Nablus, eastern Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Hebron.

Many of those recruited for the cells were students studying chemistry and engineering, and academics, according to the investigation.

Weapons caches discovered by the Shin Bet during a sweep of Hamas operatives in May and June, 2014 (photo credit: Shin Bet)

The Shin Ben said the plot was orchestrated by senior Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri, who is based in Turkey and enjoys the support of the local officials there.

Read the rest here.

Hamas officials have denied the existence of any coup plans. According a report by the The Middle East Monitor (MEMO), a media source controlled by the UK Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas support network:

Hamas’s official spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri denied on Monday Israel’s claims that his movement was planning a coup against the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank.

In a statement cited by Anadolu news agency, Abu Zuhri said that Israel only announced this claim at this precise moment in order to undermine the Palestinian unity achieved before and during the latest war in Gaza, which has resulted in a united front at the ceasefire talks in Cairo.

Read the rest here.

The Hamas charter says that it is “one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and soon after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the newly-opened border to review Hamas military formations.

For a profile of Hamas, go here.

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UK media is reporting that the investigation into the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK ordered by Prime Minister David Cameron has found that “the group does not pose a significant terror threat in the UK.”. According to the article in the Financial Times, the UK report on the investigation has been delayed as officials decide how to present the findings:

August 17, 2014 The publication of a UK government report into the Muslim Brotherhood has been delayed as ministers and officials wrangle over its findings, the Financial Times has learnt.

David Cameron asked Sir John Jenkins, Britain’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, to conduct an investigation into whether the Egyptian political group should be classified as a terrorist organisation. The prime minister did so after coming under heavy pressure from allies in the Gulf such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, which has banned the organisation.

Whitehall officials have told the FT the report has found the group should not be labelled a terrorist organisation, and in fact has found little evidence that its members are involved in terrorist activities. But ministers are so concerned about the reaction from Britain’s Middle East allies that they have stalled publication for several weeks, according to two people with knowledge of the report.
One person said: “Sir John will say that the Brotherhood is not a terrorist organisation. The Saudis and Emiratis will then be very upset with us.”
According to one senior person in the Foreign Office, the Abu Dhabi royal family, the al-Nahyan, have been particularly vociferous about the dangers posed by the Brotherhood. The person said: “They complain that their countrymen do not feel safe in London with Brotherhood people walking around. The pressure has been quite sharp.”

Mr Cameron spoke to Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, on Thursday. According to an official record of the meeting sent to journalists by Number 10, the two spoke about Iraq and Gaza, but not Sir John’s report.

Read the rest here (free registration required)

The GMBDW reported in April that Prime Minister David Cameron had ordered an inquiry into the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United Kingdom.  Readers of the GMBDW have long been aware that the UK serves as the main hub for the Global Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in Europe. 

We will wait for the full report before drawing conclusions but even the above report has handed the Muslim Brotherhood a propaganda victory as it proclaims on Twitter that the UK has found it is not a terrorist organization.

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In an interview with a Lebanese TV station, a Hamas official has acknowledged that journalists who filmed missile launches during the recent conflict were deported from Gaza. According to a MEMRI translation of the interview on Mayadeen TV:

Hamas

Hamas

August 14, 2014 Isra Al-Mudallal, head of foreign relations in the Hamas Information Ministry, admitted, in a phone interview with Mayadeen TV on August 14, that journalists who filmed the places from where missiles were launched were deported from the Gaza Strip. ‘The security agencies would go and have a chat with these people,’ she said.

Following are excerpts:

Interviewer: How did you manage to maintain contact with the foreign journalists, and how did you convey your point of view to them?

Isra Al-Mudallal: Since the beginning of the aggression against the Gaza Strip, a state of emergency was declared at the border crossings, especially at the Beit Hanoun Crossing, also known as the Erez Crossing, and journalists were allowed in without any bureaucratic procedures, except for registration to guarantee their safety.

Our problem was that [we didn't know] who was entering the Gaza Strip. Who were they? Most of them were freelancers, and the others were from news agencies.

Fewer journalists entered the Gaza Strip during this war than in the previous rounds, in 2008 and 2012. Therefore, the coverage by foreign journalists in the Gaza Strip was insignificant compared to their coverage within the Israeli occupation [i.e., Israel]. Moreover, the journalists who entered Gaza were fixated on the notion of peace and on the Israeli narrative.

Read the rest here.

For the clip, go here.

Earlier this month the GMBDW reported on the role of Hamas tunnel-digging units as well as the high techonology supplied by Qatar for use in the tunnels.

For a profile of Hamas, go here.

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The Associated Press has published an unusual look at what it calls “subtle voice of dissent” in Hamas-ruled Gaza. The report begins:

Hamas

Hamas

August 14, 2014 Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip (AP) — The group of neighbors surveyed the destruction wreaked on their residential complex by Israeli bombardment, with building after building flattened or punctured by shells. The men then began to voice something almost never heard out loud in Gaza: criticism of its Hamas rulers.

Exhausted by a month of pounding by Israel’s military — on top of seven years of stifling closure of the tiny Mediterranean coastal strip — they questioned Hamas’ handling of the crisis and the wisdom of repeatedly going to war with Israel.

‘We do not want to be bombarded every two or three years. We want to lead a good life: Sleep well, drink well and eat well,’ said Ziad Rizk, a 37-year-old father of two, a cigarette dangling from his mouth. He stared at the damaged apartment building where he lived. His sofa and a blue baby carriage were perched precariously on a tilting concrete slab that was his floor.

It is impossible to say how widespread such discontent is among Gaza’s 1.8 million residents. Under Hamas rule, it’s rare and dangerous to share even as much as a hint of criticism of the government with outsiders.

Still, the men’s boldness in voicing their opinions could be a telling sign that some Gazans see Hamas as weakened. It points to how desperate many Gazans have become after the most ruinous of three bouts of major Hamas-Israel violence since the militant group overran the territory in 2007. More than 1,900 Palestinians have been killed, mostly civilians, nearly 10,000 wounded and some 250,000 displaced since fighting started July 8.

Read the rest here.

The Hamas charter says that it is “one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and soon after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the newly-opened border to review Hamas military formations.  

For a profile of Hamas, go here.

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Al Jazeera English has published an article titled “Does Religion Have Role In Bosnia Elections?” detailing the controversy surrounding the decision by former Bosnian Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric to run for the Bosnian Muslim seat of Bosnia/Herzegovina’s tripartite presidency. The article begins:

Mustafa Ceric

Mustafa Ceric

August 16, 2014 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Sitting in a large conference room in the new Gazi Husrev Bey public library in Sarajevo, Mustafa Ceric has replaced his flowing Islamic black garb for a snug suit and tie. A white and green woven flower – the symbol of the July 11, 1995 Srebrenica genocide is pinned to his lapel whenever he attends public events.

Outside the conference room, in the auditorium, guests from around the world have arrived in Sarajevo to participate in a symposium marking the 100-year anniversary of the start of World War I. Politicians and academics have prepared speeches highlighting reconciliation and peace- concepts.

‘Are we less intelligent? Are we less hardworking?’ Ceric asked. ‘What is the secret that people who leave Bosnia and Herzegovina, who go west with nothing in their pockets end up with a job, a house; they send their children to school, and they’re even able to save up some money to send to their people who live here?’

Listed in 2012 as one of the top 50 most influential Muslims in the world by the Jordanian Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, Mustafa Ceric, Bosnia’s former grand mufti of 20 years threw his bid in Bosnia’s general elections on October 12 as an independent candidate for the Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) seat of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s tripartite presidency.

Read the rest here.

 The Al-Jazeera report goes on to discuss some of the criticism of Dr. Ceric’s candidacy:

Ceric has been considered a liberal and moderate Islamic leader but some of his statements made while serving as grand mufti have garnered criticism from secular Bosnians.

He has spoken highly of Sharia law but admitted it is unrealistic to implement it in Bosnia.

He’s also known for glorifying the Ottoman Empire, which ruled the Balkans for five centuries. In 2008, during a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, Ceric said, “Turkey is our Mother. That’s how it always was, and it will remain like that”.

Jasmin Mujanovic, a PhD candidate of political science at York University in Toronto, believes Ceric’s candidacy to be profoundly problematic.

“Religious figures of his stature should have no place running for public office, especially in countries like Bosnia where questions of faith are so politically charged,” Mujanovic stated.

“By running for the Bosniak post of the presidency, Ceric is only furthering the idea that faith and nation are one and the same in Bosnia; in this case that Bosniak and Muslim are interchangeable identities.”

The report fails to note additional and key issues about Dr. Ceric who held the position of Chief Mufti of the Bosnian Islamic Community for almost 19 years but was replaced in September 2012. Dr. Ceric has had a long and extensive history of ties to Islamists since the time of the 1992-1995 Bosnian War including a long association with Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi who heads the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) where Dr. Ceric is a member. Questions have also been raised concerning what have been described as Dr. Ceric’s “shady business dealings” and his efforts to placate extremists and silence their moderate critics. The GMBDW reported in June on Dr. Ceric’s decision to run for the Presidency and in April, The Telegraph in the UK cited the GMBDW as the source for their story on the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and the Brotherhood links of Dr.Ceric, one of the Foundation’s advisors. 

For a complete profile of Dr. Ceric, go here.

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