Tech retailer Newegg finally scraps 15-year ban on the name 'Mohammad'

Mashable 

Newegg users can now give their name as "Mohammad" when leaving reviews, because apparently they couldn't do that before. The online tech retailer is revising its language filter after it was called out for banning one of the most popular names in the world -- for 15 years. The issue was brought to light by Mohammad Al-Tayyar, a government worker in Kuwait, who discovered it after attempting to review one of the products on Newegg's website. "I was writing a review @Newegg and the system marked my name (Mohammad) as: "UNACCEPTABLE WORDS USED -- offensive language," Al-Tayyar tweeted on Wednesday, sharing a screenshot of the error message. "Is my name offensive @Newegg?" Other users were quickly able to duplicate this, indicating that Al-Tayyar's experience wasn't just an unfortunate bug. "Just verified this - I guess @Newegg wants your reviews unless you have the most common first name on Earth," tweeted game developer Rami Ismail. I was writing a review @Newegg and the system marked my name (Mohammad) as: "UNACCEPTABLE WORDS USED - offensive language". Is my name offensive @Newegg? Speaking to Mashable via DM, Al-Tayyar said he'd been trying to review a laptop and NAS storage he'd purchased for his 6-year-old daughter, who was using them for remote learning. He was shocked to see Newegg flag his name as potentially offensive "in a big red alert all in caps." For Al-Tayyar, the alert was yet another example of the damaging, pervasive nature of Islamophobia. Fear and hatred of Arab and Muslim people has caused even the most innocent elements of their culture to be regarded with suspicion, inflicting undeniable harm to these communities. "Every time I see a movie in the media or the video games...[a]ll the Arab/Muslims [are] displayed as the bad, evil, stupid thieves," said Al-Tayyar, noting that Arab people are often negatively depicted as "in the desert with the camels." "Now the system [is] telling me I have to change my name?" Our team looked into the list of words and looks like it was added in 2006. Words were added when used inappropriately on our site, so likely there was an incident back then that led to this. Regardless, we feel this is wrong and are updating the list as we speak. Al-Tayyar told Mashable he emailed Newegg about this issue, but has not yet received a response. However, Newegg did quickly respond on Twitter, apologising and stating that "Mohammad" has now been removed from its list of prohibited words. According to Newegg, the name had been on its banned list since it was first added in 2006. The company stated it had banned religious terms that were being misused, including "Jesus" and "God." "Words were added when used inappropriately on our site, so likely there was an incident back then that led to this," wrote Newegg's official Twitter account. "Regardless, we feel this is wrong and are updating the list as we speak.

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