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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope

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Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Lego crusaders

It's getting harder to take Islam seriously as a world religion when our Muslim brothers and sisters take outrage at the most ridiculous things. We're not talking about cartoons of the prophet here; now it's Lego toys. According to the Christian Science Monitor, Turkish Muslims living in Austria are upset that the Lego company is marketing a Star Wars-themed Lego kit containing a model of Jabba the Hut's Palace that they say looks like the Mosque of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (which, by the way, was originally a Byzantine Christian basilica):
The problem, apparently, is that the Jabba the Hut Lego palace looks like a mosque. And not just any mosque, but Istanbul’s great Hagia Sophia, and another mosque in Beirut, Jami al-Kabir.
Dr. Melissa G√ľnes, General Secretary of the Turkish Cultural Community, confirmed that Lego had been contacted with an official complaint and that an Austrian toy store had removed the offending Lego sets, according to the Austrian Times.
A statement in German on the Turkish Cultural Community's website reportedly states that "It is apparent that, for the figure of the repulsive bad guy Jabba and the whole scenery, racial prejudices and hidden suggestions against Orientals and Asians were used as deceitful and criminal personalities (slaveholders, leaders of criminal organizations, terrorists, criminals, murderers, human sacrifice)."
A spokesperson for the Lego corporation responded:
“The Lego Star Wars product Jabba´s Palace does not reflect any actually existing buildings, people, or the mentioned mosque,” she said. “The Lego mini-figures are all modelled on characters from the movie."
“We regret that the product has caused the members of the Turkish cultural community to come to a wrong interpretation, but point out that when designing the product only the fictional content of the Star Wars saga were referred to.”
Just as a point of comparison, there is a Lego theme park in Britain near Windsor Castle that has for years featured Lego replicas of London's St. Paul's Cathedral and the Cathedral of Sacre Coeur in Paris, shown below:

At Legoland in Denmark, there is a model of Vienna's St Stephen's Cathedral:

and in Germany's Legoland theme park there is a model of Berlin's Cathedral:

To my knowledge, there have been no complaints from outraged Christians at Lego replicas of these real, actual holy sites but Muslim outrage about a fictional building from a Star Wars movie is prompting world-wide uncritical media attention. You can draw your own conclusions.


dmorris said...

If "Lego" will make a small "Lego Mohammed",I'll buy two or three sets.
Just a suggestion to boost sales.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it is not the "rest of the world" insulting Muslims of a certain belief set.
Perhaps it is these specific people insulting the "rest of the world"
Methinks they "Protest too much"
Just sayin'

Anonymous said...

First they came for the Legos...