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Video Game Company Blocks Muslim Professor Over US Watchlist

A screen shot posted by Muhammad Zakir Khan on his Twitter feed purports to show Epic Games blicking his sign-up (Twitter/@Muzzakh)

A U.S. video game company mistakenly blocked a Muslim college professor from playing a game because someone with a similar name was on a designated watchlist.

Muhammad Zakir Khan says when he tried to sign up for a limited release of the first person shooter game Paragon, from Epic Games, he was blocked.

A photo he posted to Twitter of the resulting message read "Your account creation has been blocked as a result of a match against the Specialty Designated Nationals list maintained by the United States of America's Office of Foreign Affairs Asset Control."

According to the U.S. Treasury Department website, the Office of Foreign Affairs Asset Control "enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States."

Khan says he tweeted the issue to Epic Games, which has since apologized for the ban.

Epic co-founder Tim Sweeney said the restriction was placed on the game in error and was the result of copied computer code from a game developing system sold by the company and used internationally.

The signup page has since been changed.