- The Washington Times - Monday, January 12, 2009


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.

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

Britain’s opposition Conservative Party leader David Cameron said Harry’s comments undermined work to root out racism from the country’s armed forces.

“It is obviously a completely unacceptable thing to say,” Mr. Cameron told the BBC.

Harry is purported to have made the remarks in 2006 during a visit to 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” - using a derogatory term for people of Pakistani origin.

Iftikhar Raja told the BBC the cadet was his nephew, Ahmed Raza Khan, who he said is now a captain in Pakistan’s army. He said Capt. Khan graduated from the Sandhurst military school 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,” Mr. Raja told the BBC.

In a second video clip, Harry is heard to call another cadet - who was wearing a head scarf - a “raghead.” The newspaper said the video was filmed by other cadets and supplied to the newspaper.

“Harry’s comments is sickening, and he should be thoroughly ashamed of himself,” said Mohammed Shafiq, director of the Ramadan Foundation, a British Muslim youth organization.

Labor Party lawmaker Khalid Mahmood, a Muslim, also criticized Harry over the comments.

“He needs to understand that this is not acceptable, especially in light of the office that he is going to hold in the army and as a member of the royal family,” Mr. Mahmood said.

St. James’ 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.” Spokesman Patrick Harrison said Harry had used the other offensive term to refer to either the Taliban or Iraqi insurgents.

Harry served with the British army in Afghanistan for 10 weeks last year, but was withdrawn from the combat zone after his secret deployment became public.

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