PM defends Prince Harry as race row grows

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Apology was “genuine”, says PM

GORDON Brown spoke out in defence of Prince Harry today over footage which showed him calling a fellow soldier a ‘Paki’.

The incident, which has caused great embarrassment to the Royal family, was made public in an exclusive by The News of the World yesterday.

The film, which was made in 2006, was shot during Prince Harry’s final year of officer training.

As the prince pans the camera around a room containing his 30-strong platoon he stops on the face of Asian cadet Ahmed Raza Khan.

He is then heard whispering: “Anybody else here? Ah, our little Paki friend … Ahmed.”

Later in the film he calls a fellow soldier a “raghead” commenting on his camouflage head covering.

While the prince issued an immediate apology, the incident prompted furious comments by political and leading members of Britain’s ethnic minority community.

Musician and political activist Aki Nawaz called his comments “absolutely disgusting”, adding, “We don’t accept these things, we’ve had to live with this for 40 years.”

Conservative leader David Cameron added: “It’s obviously a completely unacceptable thing to say and it’s right that he has apologised. I think it’s important that in the great institutions we root out attitudes like that.”

Appearing on GMTV, PM Gordon Brown said he believed the princes’ apology was “genuine”

‘I think Prince Harry knows that these comments aren’t acceptable. I think he’s made an apology. I think it is a genuine apology. I think the sincereness of his apology cannot be doubted,” Mr Brown said.

“He’s made his admission of that and once he’s made his apology … I think the British people are good enough to give him the benefit of the doubt.

But speaking to the Daily Mail newspaper, the family of Ahmed Raza Khan said they were “hurt” by the prince’s comments.

Captain Khan’s father Muhammad Yaqoob Khan Abbasi told the newspaper: “When I saw the video I was very, very hurt.

“I strongly condemn the disgraceful fact that Prince Harry used that language against my son. That word he used is a hate word, and should never be used against any Pakistani.

“Prince Harry should apologise to the Pakistani Army and to the Pakistani government for this. I cannot accept his apology unless they first accept his apology.”

The incident is not the first time Prince Harry has found himself embroiled in a race row.

In 2005 he apologised to the Jewish community after he was pictured wearing a swastika armband to a party. 

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