School Apologizes For ‘Un-American’ Arabic Recital Of Pledge Of Allegiance

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pledge of allegianceLearning a second language is generally considered an useful and world-opening skill for students to develop … at least, as long as it’s the right language they’re learning. An Arabic-language recital of the Pledge of Allegiance, done as part of a week-long celebration of foreign languages at Pine Bush High School in the state of New York, has students and parents in a xenophobic uproar today.

According to the local CBS affiliate, the school district received complaints that the reading was ‘un-American’ and that parents considered it ‘disrespectful’ to families who have lost relatives in Afghanistan. It also seems disrespectful to suggest that a student’s native language is inherently associated with terrorists and treason, but apparently your moral mileage may very.

Wednesday morning’s Arabic version of the pledge was intended to be followed up with Spanish, French, and other versions on different days of the week, but in an official statement, the school canceled that plan and apologized to the ‘We’re in America, speak American!’ brigade.

“The intention was to promote the fact that those who speak a language other than English still pledge to salute this great country. We sincerely apologize to any students, staff or community members who found this activity disrespectful.”

Students who can speak multiple languages should be celebrated, not shamed and screamed at, even if the additional languages they know are ‘scary brown people languages’ in the eyes of those like the Pine Bush protesters. It’s ridiculous that the school ended up being the one who had to apologize, and not the people who think that the Arabic language has anything to do with Afghanistan. (They speak Dari and Pashto over there, guys, not Arabic. But congratulations on finding a way to get offended over this for literally no real reason.) The foreign language program who organized this didn’t do anything wrong; the only people in the wrong here are the ones frothing at the mouth when they heard the word ‘Allah’. It means ‘God’, y’all, and ‘God’ probably shouldn’t be in an official school recital in the first place, so sit down.

While some people claim that the Department of Education requires the pledge to be performed in English, a spokesman for the state DoE clarified: “State regulation specifies the wording of the Pledge, not the language.” So really, the only argument against a student reciting the Pledge in Arabic is, “I’m scared of things that are new and different” … and that’s not so much an argument as a pathetic cry for help.

(Image: Sadeugra / Getty)