By I-Hsien Sherwood | i.sherwood@latinospost.com (staff@latinospost.com) | First Posted: Jan 25, 2013 11:39 AM EST
Tags Lego, Racism

Lego Star Wars Jabba's Palace. (Photo : Lego)

Everyone knows Lego is the mortal enemy of the bare foot, but is it racist?

A group of Austrian Turks claims it is. Their ire is focused on a the "Star Wars Jabba's Palace" Lego set, which depicts the slug-like smuggler's mansion from the movie franchise.

"Austria's Turkish community said the model was based on Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul and that the accompanying figures depicted Asians and Orientals as people with 'deceitful and criminal personalities,'" writes the Telegraph.

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"The Turkish Cultural Community of Austria released a statement calling for Lego to apologise for affronting religious and cultural feelings."

The Hagia Sophia is a former Christian church converted into a mosque and then a museum. It is one of the world's foremost examples of Byzantine architecture.

"The terrorist Jabba the Hutt likes to smoke a hookah and have his victims killed," said a statement posted on the Turkish Cultural Community's website.

"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 group also objected to the "devil" depicted on the box -- that would be Darth Maul, a Sith who's supposed to be evil.

The TCC think other religious groups should be offended, as well. They say one of the figures included in the set "looks like a prayer leader but is really a criminal with an ax and rifle. And while the model looks like a mosque it also resembles Carolingian Cathedral, the Pantheon in Rome and a Catholic church."

It also kind of looks like a crock pot. Or a Sam's Club.

Lego responded with a statement. "The Lego Star Wars product Jabba´s Palace does not reflect any actually existing buildings, people, or the mentioned mosque. 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."

Of course, George Lucas himself has had to fend off charges of racial insensitivity in his prequel films, but Lego can't be held responsible for that. It's in the source material!

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