Group: Lego 'Star Wars' palace racist

The Turkish Cultural Community of Austria asked Lego to apologize for a playset of Jabba the Hutt's palace, which the group said is too similar to the great Hagia Sophia.

Jabba the Hutt’s palace is defended by roof-mounted missiles, defense guns and surveillance equipment, but that couldn’t deflect criticism from a Turkish group that believes the building is racist. Austria's Turkish community said Lego’s version of Jabba's palace is based on a mosque in Istanbul and offensive to the Turkish community and all religious groups.

Jabba the Hutt is a slug-like "Star Wars" villain who holds Han Solo captive in his palace in the film "Return of the Jedi." The Lego version of the palace includes a sliding throne with trap door, Jabba's water pipe, handcuffs and a Han Solo figure imprisoned in carbonite.

According to The Telegraph, the Turkish Cultural Community of Austria released a statement Jan. 23 asking Lego to apologize for the playset. The group claimed Jabba's palace, which has a domed roof and watchtower, is too similar to Istanbul’s great Hagia Sophia and another mosque in Beirut. The Hagia is one of the most famous mosques in the world.

The Telegraph reported that the Turkish group became aware of the playset by a man who complained to the organization about it. The man's sister had bought the Lego set for his son, the Telegraph reported.

In the statement, the organization said, "The terrorist Jabba the Hutt likes to smoke a hookah and have his victims killed. 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."

Lego responded to the criticism Jan. 24, saying on its website that all of its "Star Wars" products are based on the movies.

"The LEGO designers try to reproduce all buildings, space ships and characters from the movies as close as possible," Lego said in the statement. "The LEGO Group regrets that the product has caused the members of the Turkish cultural community to interpret it wrongly, but point out that the design of the product only refers to the fictional content of the 'Star Wars' saga."

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