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The president of the Malaysian Islamic Party’s statement of support for the Taliban today drew attention to the way the name of the regime was spelled. 

Abdul Hadi Awang’s online statement spelled it out with numbers, replacing the “a” with 4 and the “i” with 1, a tactic that might help skirt some social media platforms’ takedown policies. Abdul Hadi, 73, was expressing how much the Taliban has changed and that the Islamic fundamentalists might have become more liberal than previously known. 

“The very interesting thing is that they continue to be steadfast and fight to uphold Islam,” he wrote in the lengthy post. The statement was shared to both Twitter and Facebook, with the former no longer a public account. 

Abdul Hadi praised the Taliban, which took over Afghanistan within days after the U.S pulled out of its 20-year war. He spoke highly about how the military organization stuck to strict religious teachings that mandated beards for men and banned women from schools, while also complimenting them for changing their approach by professing that they would grant amnesty to government workers who previously worked for the Americans. They also promised not to retaliate, he added. 

The Taliban is widely known for its poor treatment of women and children. More than a thousand civilians died in May as the Taliban moved to take over Afghan territories, according to the United Nations. 

Abdul Hadi’s statement was not surprising considering that his own son came out last week to congratulate the Taliban’s so-called victory over Afghanistan. His posts were later taken down from Twitter and Facebook, which told reporters recently that it won’t lift its ban on posts promoting the Taliban. 

It appears that the Malaysian Islamic Party, or PAS, is aware of the content restriction, which explains the use of “T4L1ban.”

“The account’s admin is smarter now, using ‘T4L1ban’ and not Taliban. If you believe what you are saying is true, use the actual spelling, why the roundabout?” said Twitter user @Dzainal_Abidin. 

Meanwhile, Jason Ng poked fun at it with a snarky news rundown: “Twitter news summary for Wednesday: – Covid-22 is not a real thing. – p4S: T4L1ban y4ng b5r1sT1Q4m4h d4n b5rub4h.” 

Abdul Hadi’s statement was also published in the political party’s official media, Harakahdaily.

Other stories:

Independence Day video on Malaysia’s racism removed to ‘preserve harmony’

South Korea’s ‘Running Man’ star thinks Manila is the capital of Malaysia

This article, ‘T4L1BAN’: PAS president spells military group’s name differently in online endorsement, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.

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