In New York, a school was forced to apologize for a social exercise, wherein students recited a “Pledge to Allegiance” in Arabic, and utilized the word Allah instead of God.
“The intention was to promote the fact that those who speak a language other than English still pledge to salute this great country,” said a district spokesman.
The school’s foreign language department had arranged for the reciting of the pledge. The senior class president, allowed the pledge to be handled by Arabic speaking students. The problem came when parents and family of individuals killed in Afghanistan felt slighted by the statement.
In reaction, the principal of the school gave an apology. He apologized on behalf of the district to “any students, staff or community members who found this activity disrespectful.”
The Council of American-Islamic Relations was less than pleased with the fact students had to apologize for the exercise. In a statement released by the group, Sadyia Khalique stated:
“When a simple student activity designed to promote mutual understanding receives such a negative reaction and the school in which it takes place is forced to issue a public apology, all Americans who value our nation’s history of religious and ethnic diversity should be concerned.”
It does not appear to be against the standards to recite the pledge in any language. In fact, it is merely recommended in all instances regarding the pledge at school. First, that students place their hand over heart. Second, that the pledge include the phrases, “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
“Allah” is the Islamic interpretation of the same basic deity as God. Thus, there has been some predictable and spirited debate regarding the action and reaction across the nation.
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