LONDON (AP) – The top civil servant in Britain’s Foreign Office has apologized for calling one of India’s holiest Sikh temples a mosque.
Simon McDonald referred to the Golden Temple in Amritsar as the “Golden Mosque” in a tweet. On Tuesday he tweeted: “I was wrong: I am sorry. I should of course have said the Golden Temple or, better, Sri Harmandir Sahib.”
Bhai Amrik Singh, chairman of Britain’s Sikh Federation, said the gaffe “demonstrates a remarkable level of ignorance from someone in his position.”
The mistake is particularly sensitive given suspicions about the extent of British involvement in India’s deadly 1984 raid on the temple to evict Sikh separatists.
In 2014 Britain acknowledged that a U.K. military officer advised the Indian army before the raid, though it said his advice was ignored.