A private event in Legoland Windsor run by the Muslim Research and Development Fund has lead to controversy.
Legoland became inundated with posts, phone calls and e-mails, many of which dubbed them as ‘racist’.
Wayne Gray said on Facebook: “Due to the recent bigoted attitude of your so-called organisation, I will make every effort to ensure that enough people are aware of your disgusting idea of catering for one particular group of people that the word will spread like tentacles and then bankrupt you.”
Scott Bloomer agreed, saying on Facebook: “I for one will never be bringing my family and children there ever again as I feel your being racist in your decision. And I may also add would you condone a whites only day I don’t think you would.” [it should be noted that the event is not Muslim-only, as people of all religions are able to attend].
These posts have now been hidden.
The amount of people contacting the park forced Legoland to close their Facebook page while Thames Valley Police investigated.
Legoland have responded to criticism, saying: “The event … involves the hire of LEGOLAND Windsor by a private company for a day before we open for the 2014 season. It will not therefore affect any of our seasonal guests or Pass holders.” [pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]”This is a commercial arrangement and something we do very regularly out of season”[/pullquote]
“The company who have hired the Park are selling tickets for the event on their website which are available to anyone, of any faith.”
“This is a commercial arrangement and something we do very regularly out of season – welcoming special interest, social and business groups of all sorts.”
“We certainly do not discriminate in any way. Our priority is always that anyone visiting our Resort, at any time and for any reason, behaves properly when they are with us, respecting both our Park rules, and the needs and enjoyment of others who may be visiting us that day. We have no reason to believe that this will not be the case here.”
The MRDF is run by Haitham al-Haddad: who has described “the scourge of homosexuality” as a “criminal act” and was accused of saying: “Jews who are the enemies of God and the descendants of apes and pigs”, though he later rebuked this as a mistranslation.
He even went as far as justifying domestic violence and, according to the Daily Express, said Osama Bin Laden would ‘enter paradise’ following his death.
“The aim” according to the MRDF “is to provide a true alternative in which like minded families can enjoy safe and enjoyable time while at the same time conducive to their faith.”
However, there are concerns that the EDL and Casuals United will hold a protest. The Daily Express reports Thames Valley Police will ensure any demonstration is policed appropriately.
Edited images of a Legoland ‘Welcome’ sign are now appearing online, featuring the added words: “Muslims welcome” and “We hate Christians” as well as images of a Lego figure in a burka and another with two guns.