‘Islamaphobic’ Lego toy angers Austrian Turks

Updated 25 January 2013
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‘Islamaphobic’ Lego toy angers Austrian Turks

VIENNA: Austria’s Turkish community has threatened to sue Lego because it thinks the firm’s “Star Wars: Jabba’s Palace” box set might teach children to associate Islam with violence and terrorism.
One of the buildings is a “one-to-one copy” of the Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul, while the figure with an axe and machine gun in the minaret-like structure could be a muezzin, the Turkish Cultural Community said.
The “terrorist” Jabba the Hut, the malevolent slug-like alien kingpin from the “Star Wars” movies, meanwhile “loves smoking a water pipe,” it said in a statement.
“It is obvious that the hideous villain Jabba the Hut’s figure and the entire backdrop encourage the depiction of Orientals and Asians as sneaky criminals,” it said.
The organization said it was considering filing criminal complaints against Denmark’s Lego in Austria and Germany for alleged incitement to racial hatred. It is also mulling legal steps in Turkey.
A Lego spokeswoman, Katharina Sasse, told AFP that the buildings in the box set were faithful copies from “fantasy” structures in the “Star Wars” movies and that the firm was “very sorry” if offense was caused.
“We can guarantee that we definitely did not copy the mosque mentioned or any other building,” Sasse said. She added that Lego had no plans to withdraw the product before its scheduled phase-out at the end of 2013.


Philippine Supreme Court upholds expulsion of chief justice

Updated 19 June 2018
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Philippine Supreme Court upholds expulsion of chief justice

MANILA, Philippines: The Philippine Supreme Court has upheld the expulsion of its chief justice, the authoritarian president’s highest-ranking critic, in a final ruling that critics warned is unconstitutional and threatens judicial independence and the country’s fragile democracy.
Court spokesman Theodore Te said justices voted 8-6 Tuesday to uphold their May 11 decision to oust Maria Lourdes Sereno from the 15-member high court and deny her appeal. The government’s solicitor-general had asked the court to boot her out for allegedly failing to file some of her past assets disclosures, a charge she denies.
Sereno’s expulsion cut short a separate congressional impeachment attempt against her. The former law professor argues that the government petition to oust her violates the constitution, which stipulates that justices like her can be removed only by congressional impeachment.