In a galaxy far, far away, there was an offended Lego minority…..

Toy: The Jabba's Palace Lego set has been criticised by the Turkish Cultural Community of Austria group, which has described it as offensive to the Muslim community

Credit; Lego franchise

“Austria’s Turkish community claimed a victory in its fight against Danish toy giant Lego yesterday after the firm agreed to withdraw a Star Wars toy set featuring a mosque-like building inhabited by an obese, hookah–smoking alien, following complaints that it was anti-Muslim” – The independent.

Suppose they should be taking action against the entire Star Wars franchise too? It’s ludicrous. This is what you get when countries and people endulge the nonsense and buckle to pressure from the hyper-sensitive community on anything but it’s especially dangerous when applied to Islam. Salman Rushdie, the Danish Cartoons, Sam Bacile’s movie, all resulted in this hyper offence taking over nothing more than art, total drivel in the case of Bacile’s film though. The results being an offer of money, in public to murder Rushdie, and actual murders in the cases of the cartoons and the film as well as acts of social and political intimidation.

Now many can and will say that these events were used by the political establishments of for example Egypt in the case of the cartoons to manipulate the public into demonstrating against the West rather than their own governments and this could be true. However, they wouldn’t be able to do so if such a pool of irrational sensitivity wasn’t available to them would they. The threat of violence for “offending” Islam  is not just potential but actual and is unparalleled across other communities and also made greater by those trying to avoid addressing the problem; every passive and active supporter of the “don’t offend nonsense beliefs” crowd. Lego are probably wise in being cautious here, if only to establish a moratorium on the hurricane that could inevitably be whipped up. How did the faith based political identity of Islam acquire this charmed status anyway? Where nobody dares to confront them (aspects of the faithful, not all Muslims) and say, look you’re being unreasonable now back off on many issues. It would be laughable if not for the very real threat backing the absurdity in this case. To be bound to inaction and unable to criticise because people feel cowed by the threat of violence, should be exactly why criticism should henceforth in the strongest possible terms.

I hope everyone enjoys living in one of the last countries in the world where one can currently talk about these issues because it won’t last much longer. If  petty offence taking is allowed to go on it ultimately  feeds the confidence of people who will carry out dangerous retaliatory (often preemptive) acts in the name of being nothing more than offended in future. I for one am glad of the reformation of the public order act in the UK that allows individual people to say what they will in the public sphere although it isn’t a complete protection against reproach. I doubt, however, even given our liberal attitude that a British based company would stand up to such accusations either. The underlying problem though is the psychology and self-image of the people that harks back to the seventh century and a belief that it is a perfect identity that needs no improvement. Perhaps if people identify themselves as Jabba the Hut then maybe they should stop such silly self-attribution or do something to improve their image or attitude rather than draw attention to a misrepresentation of themselves that, in reality, is not to be found anywhere but in the eye of those that excess in offence taking. If they don’t think they’re anything like this then why complain? The fuss just perpetuates a stereotype that nobody would have mentioned if you hadn’t. It’s lego, not a racial or belief based stereotype, it’s a toy.

April fools anyone?

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About glencarrigan

Glen Carrigan is a Neuropsychology Postgraduate Researcher and Senior Research Assistant in Clinical Practice at The University of Central Lancashire. Glen is a public speaker, humanist, science presenter, ex-soldier, and social and political activist with an interest in all things related to equality, science, education, and politics.

Posted on April 1, 2013, in Humanism, Psychology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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