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Harry says sorry for racist remark: meant no malice

Britain’s Prince Harry apologised on Saturday after a newspaper website published video footage showing him calling an Asian army colleague a “Paki,” ...

Britain’s Prince Harry apologised on Saturday after a newspaper website published video footage showing him calling an Asian army colleague a “Paki,” but he said he had used the term without malice. The top-selling News of the World tabloid said the recording was made in 2006,a year after Harry was pilloried for wearing a Nazi uniform at a costume party,a gaffe that sparked an international outcry.

In some of the footage,24-year-old Harry is behind the camera and can he heard making a mock commentary. “Anyone else here … ah,our little Paki friend … Ahmed,” Harry says as he zooms onto the face of an Asian officer cadet while waiting at an airport to fly to Cyprus.

The word “Paki” is derogatory slang for an immigrant or descendant of an immigrant from Pakistan. Harry was also shown telling another officer cadet wearing a camouflage veil during a night maneuver in Cyprus,“You look like a raghead” — an offensive term for an Arab.

A spokesman for Britain’s royal family said there had been no racist intent in Harry’s words. “Prince Harry fully understands how offensive this term (Paki) can be,and is extremely sorry for any offence his words might cause,” the spokesman said. “However,on this occasion three years ago,Prince Harry used the term without any malice and as a nickname about a highly popular member of his platoon.

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The Defence Ministry said it was not aware of any complaint being made by the two soldiers. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB),an umbrella group for British Muslim organizations,said Harry’s language had been unacceptable and had harmed the image of the army. But MCB spokesman Inayat Bunglawala said Harry had done the right thing by apologising.

First published on: 12-01-2009 at 01:09:16 am
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