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Lego Racism? Muslim Turks complain about Jabba the Hut

Lego racism? Turks in Austria say Lego's Jabba's Palace set looks like a mosque. And Lego's Star Wars villian Jabba the Hut perpetuates racism and prejudice toward Muslims among children who play with Legos.

By Staff writer / January 25, 2013

Lego's Jabba Palace set sells for $119, according to the Lego company website. Muslims in Turkey have issued a formal complaint about racist stereotypes, and that the Star Wars palace looks too much like a mosque.

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Some Turks in Austria have lodged a formal complaint over Lego's Jabba's Palace set, saying Lego is encouraging racial prejudice and perpetuating negative images of Muslims.

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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 Günes, 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)."

You'll recall that in the Star Wars movies, Jabba the Hut is a corpulent, slug-like villian, who enslaves Princess Leia (and apparently forces her to wear a gold bikini), uses a frozen Hans Solo as an objet d'art, and tries to kill Luke Skywalker. His palace is on the planet Tatooine.

In fact, Star Wars director George Lucus filmed the scenes of Tatooine in Tunisia, a predominantly Muslim nation. And Lego's Jabba Palace sets are a close model to the Star Wars depiction of Jabba's Palace on Tatooine. So, perhaps, George Lucas should be the focus of Turk Muslims anger, rather than Lego?

Katharina Sasse, a spokesperson for Lego, told London's Daily Telegraph: “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.”

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