Sony Banned A Muslim Gamer On PSN, And A Lack Of Historical Awareness Is To Blame


There's a bit of controversy going down over at Sony after a Muslim gamer was permanently banned from the PlayStation Network for using his real name for his Online ID.

The 26-year-old gamer, Jihad, has been using "iJihad" as his PSN ID ever since he owned a PlayStation 3, however, it wasn't until recently that a Sony employee deemed the account name offensive and decided to ban him. Unfortunately for Jihad, his misfortune doesn't end there. Not only was his account banned, but he was stripped of his digital purchases and money in the wallet, meaning that Jihad has straight lost money in this fiasco.

According to Jihad, who took his story to Reddit where it has since gained plenty of attention, the story began three days after getting Overwatch: Collector's Edition, which he had ordered two months in advance. Upon starting up his PlayStation 4 on the fated third day for another session of Overwatch, he received a notice from Sony saying that he has been banned from the PlayStation Network.

Naturally, Jihad didn't take too kindly to this, especially since says he has been a long-time supporter of PlayStation consoles since their first iteration came out and has been using that same account for quite some time. As such, he sent a sequence of emails to Sony, which prompted an employee to grant him the chance to change his ID.

However, days later someone else reviewed Jihad's complaint and decided to revoke the previous solution, effectively making the ban permanent. Even worse, Sony has apparently been avoiding his emails ever since.

While it would be easy to question whether Sony's decision to ban Jihad was unethical, this entire situation reveals something quite notable as a whole: some people on the internet have no historical awareness.

No, not Sony. Considering that the account had been used to make digital purchases in the past, there was no way Sony couldn't have been aware of its existence.

In this instance, the entity being thrown under the magnifying glass is the one who reported Jihad in the first place. Apparently, whoever reported Jihad was not aware of the fact that the word jihad translates to "struggling or striving." Jihad explains that his name means "putting effort in doing something noble, good and highly valued." In fact, it wasn't until recently that jihad came to be known as a holy war and misunderstood as a war against other religions. 

Honestly, while it may have been smarter for Jihad to use a different name, especially considering that he was likely more than aware of the word's "new" meaning when the PlayStation 3 came out in 2006/2007, Sony, which was aware of the account's existence beforehand, should have supported him and not banned him outright.

The problem here is that with such a one-sided focus on current events, any possible context is quickly forgotten - or ignored. Just last week we saw this happen when Nintendo had to issue a statement concerning Paper Mario: Color Splash because a segment in the game made a reference to Watergate, a political scandal from the 1970s, and Mario Party 8, but many naturally assumed it was referencing the more recent Gamergate and Zoe Quinn fiasco.

Even outside of video gaming this occurs. For example, a bookshop in Denver was vandalized several times in the past year because some people assumed Isis Books & Gifts was connected to the militant group it shares its name with. It was actually named after the Egyptian goddess.

To be fair, not everyone is going to be familiar with the context behind certain words and terms, and that's perfectly fine. The problem is when someone doesn't know said context, gets "offended" and then hastily files a report, resulting in a ban of an account that has been active for years.

Fortunately, Sony Saudi Arabia has come forward to help Jihad and even volunteered to contact the particular department to fix the problem. However, there hasn't been any notable progress to speak of so far.

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