December 4, 2008

Lego condemns custom bin Laden toy

The British arm of toymaker Lego has blasted a U.S. custom toy company for creating an Osama bin Laden figure from Lego blocks.

A Lego UK spokesman said the U.S. company, BrickArms, is not affiliated with Lego and did not receive permission to create the toy version of the al-Qaida leader from the block manufacturer, The Daily Telegraph reported Thursday.

BrickArms, which specializes in creating custom molded weapons and custom mini-figures from Lego blocks, sells the bin Laden figure -- branded Mr. White the bandit -- for $14. It comes with a miniature pistol, machine gun, rocket launcher and grenades.

Lego UK is not associated with the toys being sold by BrickArms, which have been customized without Lego UK's knowledge or permission, the Lego spokesman said. BrickArms is not licensed by Lego UK to customize Lego figures and has no links to the Lego brand.

The bin Laden figurine has also been sharply criticized by British religious leaders.

Mohammed Shaffiq of The Ramadhan Foundation described the toy as absolutely disgusting.

It is glorifying terrorism -- the makers should be ashamed, he said. We should be coming together to unite against terrorism, but how is that possible when children are playing with toys like this?