Thursday, January 31, 2013

School Pledges Allegiance in Arabic, One Nation Under Allah?


By Todd Starnes

Fox News

A Colorado high school principal is defending his decision to allow students from a cultural club to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic — and denied that it was attempt to push an Islamic agenda.

Tom Lopez, the principal at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, told Fox News he has received a number of telephone calls and emails from outraged parents – but he stands by his decision.
“These students love this country,” he said. “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.”
The school recites the Pledge of Allegiance once a week and on Monday a member of the Cultural Arms Club led the student body in the Arabic version of the pledge.
The club seeks to “destroy the barriers, embrace the cultures” that exist within the high school.

Danielle Clark, communications director of the Poudre School District, said they understand why parents are upset.
“We understand not everybody would agree with the students’ choice,” she told Fox News. “We’ve heard there are some who are upset.”
On the other hand, she said she received one email from a person who “thought it was a great thing.”
Clark said the cultural club has a history of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in a number of different languages.
“It’s not just Arabic,” she said.
Last year, the group found itself in a firestorm of controversy after reciting the pledge in Spanish.
“This is a student-initiated and student-led club,” Clark  said. “There is no school sponsor or advisor. It doesn’t come under the umbrella of the district.”
She said the students simply asked the principal permission as a courtesy.
“We deferred to the students because it’s their deal,” she said.
Club members said they don’t understand why there’s a controversy.
“No matter what language it’s said in, pledging your allegiance to the United States is the same in every language,” student Skyler Bowden told The Coloradoan.
But an Arabic translation of the Pledge of Allegiance would have replaced “one nation under God” with “one nation under Allah.”