Imagine your child hearing the Pledge of Allegiance over the loudspeaker — but instead of saying “one nation under God,” the students on the loudspeaker say “one nation under Allah.”
Well, that’s what happened at Rocky Mountain High School in Colorado on Monday.
Principal Tom Lopez has gotten countless complaints from angry parents, who think saying the Pledge in any language other than English is unpatriotic.
Principal Lopez, however, is a stubborn one. He has stood by his decision, and continues to assert that he is not pushing an Islamic agenda at the school.
He said, “These students love this country. They were not being un-American in trying to do this. They believed they were accentuating the meaning of the words as spoken regularly in English.”
At Rocky Mountain High, the Pledge of Allegiance is read over the loud speaker once a week, on Mondays. A member of the Cultural Arms Club at the school read out the Arabic version on Monday.
Throughout the week, infuriated parents have continued to contact the school. Danielle Clark, communications director of the Poudre School District, said, “‘We understand not everybody would agree with the students’ choice. We’ve heard there are some who are upset.”
Clark defends the Arabic reading by pointing out that the club has a history of reading the Pledge in different languages. They have read it in French and Spanish in the past.
Most students at Rocky Mountain High jumped to defend their their classmates. They pointed out that the motto of the Cultural Arms Club is to “destroy the barriers, embrace the cultures.”
Student Skyler Bowden said, “No matter what language it’s said in, pledging your allegiance to the United States is the same in every language.”
Many of the parents are upset specifically over the fact that the Arabic translation of the Pledge replaces “one nation under God” with “one nation under Allah.”
Some parents have even accused Principal Lopez of “pushing a Muslim Brotherhood agenda — to push Islam into the school.”
“I’ve been shocked with prejudicial statements that have been made,” said Lopez. “I’ve been shocked with the lack of seeking understanding. There’s definitely suspicion and fear expressed in these people’s minds. There’s some hate.”
The principal argues that the school is a place of diversity, and that reading the Pledge in other languages only encourages inclusion.
Lopez said, “‘When they pledge allegiance to United States, that’s exactly what they’re saying. They’re just using another language as their vehicle.”
Do you think it was inappropriate for the Cultural Arms Club to replace “one nation under God” with “one nation under Allah?” Tell us your thoughts below.
Written by Kristin Tate.
Follow Kristin on Twitter @KristinBTate.