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THURSDAY, 17 APR 2014
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'Islamaphobic' Lego toy angers Austrian Turks
Agence France Presse
A Lego figure sits waiting to be placed near the lobby entrance as construction continues in North America's first ever Lego Hotel being built at Legoland in Carlsbad, California, January 17, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A Lego figure sits waiting to be placed near the lobby entrance as construction continues in North America's first ever Lego Hotel being built at Legoland in Carlsbad, California, January 17, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake
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VIENNA: Austria's Turkish community has threatened to sue Lego because it thinks the firm's "Star Wars: Jabba's Palace" box set might teach children to associate Islam with violence and terrorism.

One of the buildings is a "one-to-one copy" of the Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul, while the figure with an axe and machine gun in the minaret-like structure could be a muezzin, the Turkish Cultural Community said.

The "terrorist" Jabba the Hut, the malevolent slug-like alien kingpin from the "Star Wars" movies, meanwhile "loves smoking a water pipe", it said in a statement.

"It is obvious that the hideous villain Jabba the Hut's figure and the entire backdrop encourage the depiction of Orientals and Asians as sneaky criminals," it said.

The organisation said it was considering filing criminal complaints against Denmark's Lego in Austria and Germany for alleged incitement to racial hatred. It is also mulling legal steps in Turkey.

A Lego spokeswoman, Katharina Sasse, told AFP that the buildings in the box set were faithful copies from "fantasy" structures in the "Star Wars" movies and that the firm was "very sorry" if offence was caused.

"We can guarantee that we definitely did not copy the mosque mentioned or any other building," Sasse said. She added that Lego had no plans to withdraw the product before its scheduled phase-out at the end of 2013.

 
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