“One Nation, Under Allah”: An Issue of Cultural Acceptance

“One nation, under Allah” were the words delivered during a routine Monday recital of the Pledge of Allegiance at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, Colo., on Jan. 28, 2013. Members of the high school’s Cultural Arms Club asked to recite the pledge over the loudspeaker in order to increase multicultural awareness within the school.
These students have previously delivered the pledge in French and in Spanish during the weekly recital. Principal Tom Lopez allowed the recital and received enraged phone calls from parents within hours of the recital but stood by his choice to allow the Arabic recital. Lopez claims that he is in no way scheming an Islamic plan into the high school. According to dailymail.uk.co, he claims, “These students [the members of the Cultural Arms Club] love their country. They were not being un-American in trying to do this.”

I was unsure of my initial reaction to this piece of news when I first heard of it but knew what side I believed to be “right.” To begin with, I am on the side of the Cultural Arms Club students. I am not offended whatsoever by the use of “Allah” instead of “God” and am rather proud to hear that a high school is embracing different cultures in such a bold way. To recite our country’s promise in a different language is not only brave but does not change the meaning of the promise in any aspect. If anything, it illuminates the fact that the United States is a diverse country and thrives on embracing these diversities. I find the outrage by the public toward the principal to be ludicrous, especially because there was no public outrage when he allowed the pledge to be spoken in French and in Spanish. The uproar of the use of “Allah” instead of “God” is just prejudiced behavior, something we as United States citizens should be ashamed to have portrayed ourselves as.

My assumption is that their sons and daughters told the angry parents that they were forced to recite the pledge in Arabic against their will. I was once a high school student; I know how high school students embellish and crave attention when the possibility is given. The misunderstanding lies between the parents and the students. Principal Lopez did not force any Arabic recital of the pledge but simply allowed the Cultural Arms Club the opportunity to bring more culture into the high school.

I am a little surprised by the fact the pledge is only recited once a week within the high school. During my public school years, from kindergarten through my senior year, we recited the pledge every single day. I find this collective daily recital to be a reminder that we are indeed, united. Immediately following the pledge, we always had a small break for a moment of silence, allowing each of us to use that moment of silence differently. I believe reciting the pledge daily throughout early and secondary education is important and necessary and teaches us at a young age the importance of patriotism.
With patriotism comes the value of acceptance. As United States citizens, we have given the opportunity for many members of different cultures to begin a new life. We have accepted the fact that although we may share different ethnicities, we still desire freedom, opportunities, and a chance to make ourselves into something remarkable. We should be proud that our country is free enough to allow such cultures to migrate into our own.

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