ISIS-themed fake Lego sets pulled from store, online

"Falcon commando" sets priced between $3.80 and $25 were being sold at a store in People's Park Complex and online. The toy sets, recommended for children aged between six and 12 years, depict violent scenes that show figurines carrying the ISIS flag
"Falcon commando" sets priced between $3.80 and $25 were being sold at a store in People's Park Complex and online. The toy sets, recommended for children aged between six and 12 years, depict violent scenes that show figurines carrying the ISIS flag, launching sticks of dynamite and firing AK-47s, with one set even including a plastic figurine of a decapitated head.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

Toy sets' sales must be stopped as they glorify ISIS, promote incitement to hatred, says don

Counterfeit Lego sets sold in Singapore depicting ISIS terrorists have been taken off the shelves.

The toys, which were sold at a local retail store and on e-commerce sites, were removed after concerns were raised that they could lead to the glorification of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terror group.

A reader had alerted The Straits Times to the made-in-China figurines being sold at a shop in People's Park Centre, as well as online.

These toy sets, recommended for children aged between six and 12 years, depict violent scenes that show figurines carrying the ISIS flag, launching sticks of dynamite and firing AK-47s.

One also includes a plastic figurine of a decapitated head.

These toys, described as "Falcon commando" sets, were priced between $3.80 and $25. They were sold on local online marketplace Carousell and at 8 Series, a retail store selling household goods, toys and other lifestyle items in People's Park Centre.

ACTION NEEDED

The vendors need to be engaged to ensure they do not deliberately or ignorantly promote ISIS.

PROFESSOR ROHAN GUNARATNA, head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research.

Close to 20 of them were in stock on Tuesday evening when The Straits Times visited the shop, while there were two listings for the products on Carousell yesterday morning.

Another online retailer, Brick Generals, also sold toy figurines described as "militants" and "bombers". One of them was labelled as "ISIS Jihadi John", while a description for a bomber figurine read: "Extremist who enjoys blowing things up for fun. One day, he'll blow himself up."

In June, Malaysian newspaper Berita Harian reported that the fake Lego figurines were being sold in Malaysia. A schoolteacher reported the toys to the Islamic council and police officers in Malaysia, raising concerns that they touched "on religious sensitivities".

Following the incident in Malaysia, the items were taken off e-commerce site AliExpress, which distributes these products internationally.

Professor Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), said that the sale of such toys may "glorify ISIS" and promote incitement to hatred. The sales of such toys should be stopped, he said.

"The vendors need to be engaged to ensure they do not deliberately or ignorantly promote ISIS," he added.

Mr Remy Mahzam, an associate research fellow at ICPVTR, said the misuse of religious words or symbols such as "Allah" and "Muhammad" in these toys is "very problematic".

"It touches on religious sensitivities and sheds a negative light on Muslims," he said.

Carousell took down the listings for the toys yesterday afternoon, and Brick Generals also removed its listings last night.

When contacted, 8 Series' store manager Jack Lim told ST the store began selling the toys only last month, and that fewer than 20 of them had been sold since. They were pulled from the store's shelves last night.

Ms Charlotte Simonsen, senior director of corporate brand communications at Lego, said that the toys are "in no way affiliated with the Lego Group".

"As a company dedicated to inspiring and developing children, we would naturally never make a product like this," she added.

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said it is "extremely concerned that figurines which propagate acts of violence are being offered for sale for the young".

"This is especially troubling when Muis has been actively working to counter the messaging behind extremist movements such as ISIS," said a spokesman.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2017, with the headline 'ISIS-themed fake Lego sets pulled from store, online'. Print Edition | Subscribe