Legoland to close hotel after extremist threatsThursday 06 March 2014 16.22
Legoland will close its hotel in England this weekend after far-right extremists made threats against the theme park for agreeing to host a Muslim family fun day.
The resort and its hotel had been hired out by a group called the Muslim Research and Development Foundation, and 1,000 Muslim families were due to spend the weekend there.
But Legoland cancelled the private event last week after its Facebook page was bombarded by abusive messages from "right-wing" groups.
Following talks with the organisers and police, it has now decided to shut the 150-room hotel in Windsor to the west of London this weekend.
Legoland has not confirmed which groups sent the messages.
Before the fun day was cancelled, a blogger from the far-right British National Party said Legoland should be "ashamed of themselves for bowing to these Muslims".
The Muslim Research and Development Foundation said the fun day was open to people of all faiths and backgrounds, and aimed to create an "enjoyable, safe and relaxing environment" for children and families.
In a statement on its website, the foundation said: "Unfortunately, during the last few weeks leading up to the event, several right-wing groups threatened both the visitors and employees of Legoland in relation to this planned event.
Legoland had already planned to close the theme park to the general public this weekend, the spokeswoman said. It will reopen for the 2014 season on 14 March.
"The Legoland Windsor resort has had to close the hotel on 8 and 9 March 2014 after threats from right-wing groups," a Legoland spokeswoman said.
"The safety and security of our guests and our members of staff has to be our number one priority, which is why we've made the difficult decision to close the hotel."
The resort said it was "extremely sorry" and pledged to give full refunds to guests with bookings.
Thames Valley Police said abusive or threatening messages would not be tolerated and it is investigating whether any offence has been committed.
The Muslim Research and Development Foundation is chaired by cleric Haitham al-Haddad, who has been described by some newspapers as an "extremist preacher". Mr Haddad denies the claim.