UK: Prince Harry criticized for racist language

Lawmakers, Muslim groups and the Pakistani public criticized Prince Harry on Sunday after a British newspaper published video footage of him using offensive and racist language.

Third in line to the British throne and an army lieutenant, Harry issued an apology Saturday after The News of the World reported that in 2006 he had used offensive terms to refer to people from Pakistan and people of Arab descent.

The opposition Conservative Party leader, David Cameron, said the prince's comments undermined efforts to root out racism from Britain's armed forces. "It is obviously a completely unacceptable thing to say," Cameron said in an interview on the BBC.

The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, said a line should be drawn under the incident. "He shouldn't have used those words. It will have caused considerable offense and has obviously caused him a considerable amount of embarrassment," Clegg said on Sky television.

Harry is supposed to have made the remarks in 2006 when he was in Cyprus to carry out training exercises with fellow military cadets.

In the video, Harry is heard to refer to one colleague as "our little Paki friend" - a derogatory term for people of Pakistani origin.

Iftikhar Raja said on the BBC that the cadet was his nephew Ahmed Raza Khan, who he said is now a captain in the Pakistani Army. He said Khan graduated from the Sandhurst military academy in 2006 and received an award from Queen Elizabeth II as the best overseas officer cadet.

"We expect better from our royal family, on whom we spend millions and millions of pounds for training and schooling," Raja said.

In a second video clip, Harry is heard calling another cadet - who was wearing a head scarf - a "raghead." The News of the World said the video was filmed by other cadets and supplied to the newspaper.

Harry's comments were "sickening and he should be thoroughly ashamed of himself," said Mohammed Shafiq, director of the Ramadan Foundation, a Muslim youth organization in Britain.

Khalid Mahmood, a Labour Party lawmaker and a Muslim, also criticized the prince. "He needs to understand that this is not acceptable," Mahmood said, "especially in light of the office that he is going to hold in the army and as a member of the royal family."

St. James's Palace - the office of Harry and his elder brother, Prince William - said Saturday that Harry was sorry for any offense caused by his use of the word "Paki." A spokesman, Patrick Harrison, said that Harry had used the other offensive term to refer to either the Taliban or Iraqi insurgents.


Source: IHT (English)

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