Lego is under fire from members of the Turkish community in Austria who claim that one of its models resembles Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia mosque and is therefore racist. The offending toy is Lego’s Jabba’s Palace model, part of a series of Lego toys based on the Star Wars saga. The set, seen below, depicts the home of Jabba the Hutt, one of Star Wars’ central characters, who lives in a hut with a nearby watchtower.
The Turkish Cultural Community of Austria has released a statement calling on Lego to apologize for its cultural insensitivity; it also claims that the tower, depicted above, resembles a minaret.
According to the Daily Mail:
A statement posted on the organisation’s website refers to Jabba the Hutt as a ‘terrorist’ and says that he ‘likes to smoke hookah and have his victims killed’.
It adds: ‘It is clear that the ugly figure of Jabba and the whole scene smacks of racial prejudice and vulgar insinuations against Asians and Orientals as people with deceitful and criminal personalities.’
The statement says that the figures in the set are made to resemble ’terrorists, criminals and murderers’.
Referring to weapons contained in the set, the statement suggests that the ‘combination of temple building and bunker facilities where shots are fired cannot be appropriate for children between 9 and 14 years old.’
The organization is considering legal action if Lego does not respond to its satisfaction. To date, a company spokeswoman has said that the toy “does not reflect any actual existing buildings, people, or the mentioned mosque” and that Lego regrets that the toy “has caused the members of the Turkish cultural community to come to a wrong interpretation.”