The British Army has released a new advert showing a Muslim soldier praying as it defied critics of an inclusive recruitment campaign which critics have called ‘politically correct’.
The new film, called Keeping My Faith, shows a soldier taking off his helmet and kneeling down in prayer while his comrades wait respectfully nearby.
It is the latest step in the Army’s ‘This is Belonging’ campaign, which has featured adverts telling recruits they are allowed to be emotional and reassuring gay people that they will be accepted if they sign up.
But the videos uploaded to YouTube came under fire last week when retired Major General Tim Cross said recruits needed to know that ‘we are not going to be soft and we are not going to be nice to people’.
The British Army has released a new advert showing a Muslim soldier praying as it continues an inclusive recruitment campaign which critics have called ‘politically correct’
In the latest video the Muslim soldier is shown washing his face and using a prayer mat while his colleagues keep quiet.
The caption ‘This is Belonging’ appears as the soldier gets up again and the squad moves on with its hillside patrol.
Colonel Richard Kemp, who led British troops in Afghanistan, said the new campaign showed an Army ‘being forced down a route of political correctness’.
He said: ‘What it clearly is doing is appealing, trying to appeal, to a series of minorities who may or may not be interested in joining the forces.
‘And by doing that, it’s almost neglecting the main group of people who are interested in joining.’
The new film, called Keeping My Faith, shows a soldier taking off his helmet and kneeling down in prayer while his comrades wait respectfully nearby
However, Afghanistan veteran Dr Mike Martin said the adverts were focusing on ‘status and belonging’ which were motivations to sign up.
He said: ‘Even the war-fighting adverts are doing that because they focus on belonging, as often the activities shown are done in teams, and status as well, as for young people there’s that sense of cool.
‘I don’t see these new adverts as a particular diversion from that, but a lot of people have painted these adverts as “Well, what we did before was war-fighting and now it’s all soft and cuddly and about belonging”.
‘Even people who criticise this approach because it’s soft would accept that the most important part of fighting power is the teams that you generate to deliver that fighting power.’
It follows the advert Expressing My Emotions, published yesterday, which shows a soldier wiping a tear from his face as he receives a letter from a loved one.
‘This is Belonging’ came under fire last week when a retired Major General said recruits need to know that ‘we are not going to be soft and we are not going to be nice to people’
Another video, Facing My Kryptonite, shows a young recruit taking on a tough physical challenge while supportive male and female colleagues cheer him on, while a further advert shows a woman leading a patrol from a helicopter.
An earlier clip, entitled Can I Be Gay In The Army?, featured the voice of a gay recruit saying: ‘I was really worried about whether I’d be accepted.
‘But within days I was more than confident about being who I was. I’m not afraid to talk about having a boyfriend.
‘I thought I’d have to hide it but once you’ve done it you think why did I make it such a big thing for so long?’