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31. 03. 13. - 09:24

Lego backs down over Jabba Palace

Toy giants Lego have agreed to remove a Star Wars play set after furious Turkish community leaders said it was racist and anti-Muslim.

The Jabba the Hutt set is supposed to show the movie-villain in his intergalactic lair surrounded by his henchmen and prisoners.

But angry Turkish community leaders in Austria say they have forced Lego to scrap toy by after a campaign declaring the set "sacrilege" and "racist."

The row first erupted in January, after a Muslim dad complained when a relative bought one of the toys for his son as a Christmas present.

Now Birol Kilic -  president of the Turkish Cultural Association of Austria - claims that Lego has climbed down over the row.

A press release from the association states: "We are very grateful and congratulate Lego on the decision from 2014 to take the Lego Star Wars product Jabba's Palace out of production and no longer to have it on sale."

It says the decision followed crisis talks in Germany between Turkish leaders and Lego executives brand manager Katharina Sutch, head designer Marta Tantos and media head Katharina Sass.

Lego has confirmed they will be taking the product off the market from next year according to Austrian media.

Turkish cultural leaders had claimed that Jabba's palace had been modelled closely on a real life Muslim Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul.

They said Asian and oriental figures included in the set had been portrayed as "deceitful" and criminal" characters like slave masters, gun runners and terrorists.

Angry critics also claimed that depicting guns and weapons inside a building that was "clearly" based on a mosque was an "act of sacrilege."

The slug-like Jabba himself - seen puffing on a traditional water pipe -  was shown as a "terrorist" who  "likes to smoke hookah and have his victims killed", said cultural leaders.

Melissa Gunes -  general secretary of the Turkish cultural association -  said : "In this Lego set Jabba is portrayed as the bad man.

"He also smokes an oriental water pipe, and keeps a princess as a belly dancer in chains. That is the sort of thing that does not belong in a child's bedroom."

And a picture of the Satanic-horned baddie Darth Maul on the packaging was described as "shocking."

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