Racism? What race are Muslims again? I keep forgetting. And as for the Hagia Sophia, the Turks in Austria for some reason neglected to mention exactly how it became a mosque. On May 29, 1453, Islamic jihadists broke the siege of Constantinople and entered the city. Historian Steven Runciman notes that the Muslim soldiers “slew everyone that they met in the streets, men, women, and children without discrimination. The blood ran in rivers down the steep streets from the heights of Petra toward the Golden Horn. But soon the lust for slaughter was assuaged. The soldiers realized that captives and precious objects would bring them greater profit.” (The Fall of Constantinople 1453, Cambridge University Press, 1965, p. 145.)
Some jihadists “made for the small but splendid churches by the walls, Saint George by the Charisian Gate, Saint John in Petra, and the lovely church of the monastery of the Holy Saviour in Chora, to strip them of their stores of plate and their vestments and everything else that could be torn from them. In the Chora they left the mosaics and frescoes, but they destroyed the icon of the Mother of God, the Hodigitria, the holiest picture in all Byzantium, painted, so men said, by Saint Luke himself. It had been taken there from its own church beside the Palace at the beginning of the siege, that its beneficient presence might be at hand to inspire the defenders on the walls. It was taken from its setting and hacked into four pieces.” (P. 146.)
The jihadists also entered the Hagia Sophia, which for nearly a thousand years had been the grandest church in Christendom. The faithful had gathered within its hallowed walls to pray during the city”s last agony. The Muslims, according to Runciman, halted the celebration of Orthros (morning prayer); the priests, according to legend, took the sacred vessels and disappeared into the cathedral”s eastern wall, through which they shall return to complete the divine service one day. Muslim men then killed the elderly and weak and led the rest off into slavery. Then the Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror had a muezzin mount the pulpit and proclaim that there was no god but Allah and Muhammad was his prophet. The great church was transformed into a mosque, its gorgeous icons destroyed or covered with huge medallions bearing Islamic declarations of faith.
Once the Muslims had thoroughly subdued the entire city of Constantinople, they set out to Islamize it. According to the Muslim chronicler Hoca Sa”deddin, tutor of the sixteenth-century Sultans Murad III and Mehmet III, “churches which were within the city were emptied of their vile idols and cleansed from the filthy and idolatrous impurities and by the defacement of their images and the erection of Islamic prayer niches and pulpits many monasteries and chapels became the envy of the gardens of Paradise.”
Now the sons and heirs of these bloody conquerors complain because they think a Lego set stereotypes them.
“Lego accused of racism with Star Wars set,” by Matthew Day for the Telegraph, January 23 (thanks to all who sent this in):
Lego has been accused of racism by the Turkish community over a Star Wars model that supposedly resembles one of Istanbul”s most revered mosques.
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.”
The Turkish Cultural Community of Austria released a statement calling for Lego to apologise for affronting religious and cultural feelings.
The anger was provoked by “Jabba”s Palace”, a model of the home of Jabba the Hutt from Lego”s Star Wars product range based on the blockbusting series of science fiction films.
Jabba is the large slug-like creature who holds Han Solo captive in the film Return of the Jedi, and his palace is the setting for several crucial scenes, including using Princess Leia as his slave.
Jabba”s domed home and accompanying watchtower bear, according to the statement, an unwanted resemblance to Istanbul”s great Hagia Sophia, and another mosque in Beirut.
A picture posted on the Cultural Community”s website includes the box for Jabba”s Palace with arrows pointing out similarities to a picture of the Hagia Sofia mosque.
A converted Christian basilica and famed for its massive domed roof, the Hagia Sofia is one of the most famous mosques in the world and served Istanbul”s Muslim community for over 500 years before becoming a museum in 1943. It is also regarded as one of the finest, and largest examples, of Byzantine architecture.
The Jabba case came to light after an Austrian Turk complained to the organisation after his sister had bought his son the box set.
Austria”s Turkish community also took issue with the figures that went with the palace, including Jabba.
“The terrorist Jabba the Hutt likes to smoke a hookah and have his victims killed,” said the statement posted on the organisation”s website.
Nobody who smokes a hookah ever has his victims killed. Everybody knows that.
“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 crimes associated with the figures, the statements adds, include terrorism, slavery, murder and human sacrifice.
Terrorism associated with Muslims? Who ever heard of such a thing? Must be greasy Islamophobes at work indeed.
Taking into account that many of the Lego figures carry weapons, the Turkish organisation also urged parents “not to buy toys of war or toys of discrimination” as the model goes against the “peaceful coexistence of different cultures in Europe”.
How did you guys get the Hagia Sophia in the first place?
As an indication of the anger felt over Jabba”s Palace, the organisation said it was considering taking legal action against Lego for inciting racial hatred and insulting human dignity.
Katharina Sasse, a public relations manager working on behalf of Lego, denied any link between Jabba”s Palace and the mosque.
“The Lego Star Wars product JabbaÂ´s Palace does not reflect any actually existing buildings, people, or the mentioned mosque,” she said. “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.”