Friday, January 25, 2013
Legos = Logos? Muslims say Lego Set insults Islam
by Clifford F. Thies The Turkish Cultural Community of Austria has demanded that Lego to apologize to Muslims for releasing a Lego set that, they claim, looks like Hagia Sophia, the Christian cathedral in Istanbul opened in 360, that was converted to a mosque in 1453, and was secularized and re-opened as a museum in 1935. So the discerning reader can form his or her own opinion, we include images of (1) Jabba’s Palace from the 1977 Star Wars movie, (2) the "offensive" Lego set, and (3) the Hagia Sophia. As you can see, there is a certain roundness to the ceiling of the Hagia Sophia that is sort of similar to the ceilings of Jabba's Palace and the Lego set. Also, there is a certain elongatedness to the two minarets of the Hagia Sophia (added after the Muslims took over) that is shared in the one watchtower of Jabba's Palace and of the Lego set. Therefore, we can say that things that are round at the top and are accompanied by another thing that is elongated, a pair would be precise, but one would be sufficient, is insulting to Islam. But, I think the problem goes deeper. The Hagai Sophia, when it was opened as a Christian cathedral, in the Greek tradition, it was dedicated to the "Logos," the Word of God, the second person of the Christian Trinity, God made incarnate. So, when you make something that looks like the Hagai Sophia out of Legos, it reminds you that the Hagai Sophia and even the entire Middle East was Christian before it was conquered by the Muslims. For a true liberal, that a place used to be Christian and is now Muslim is an historical fact of no particular relevance to the geopolitics of today, since people are or at least should have freedom of religion and are not constrained by the choices made by their long-distant grandparents. Oh, but that's not the way with racists. To racists, people are who they are according to their blood line. Jews, the racists say, are interlopers in Israel because they arrived there from Europe (actually, many arrived there from various places in the Middle East and North Africa). Similarly, racists say whites in South Africa should go back to Europe since they only arrived in that place 400 years ago; and, racists in the United States used to say blacks here should go back to Africa since they only arrived here 400 years ago. But, what does the racist say when confronted with the fact that history is replete with migrations and conquests, and that there may be no place on the planet in which the people living there were not despoiled at least once in history?