Flag Pledge Read in Arabic Creates Controversy


Pledge of Allegiance read in Arabic causes causes controversy

Pledge of Allegiance read in Arabic causes causes controversy


An activity planned to celebrate National Foreign Language Week resulted in disruptive consequences for Pine Bush High School in Pine Bush, New York. The plan was to have the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag read in a different foreign language each day of the week. However, on the day the Pledge was read in Arabic, much controversy followed.

Many students shouted disapproval during the recitation with catcalls and angry denunciations. The student who read the Pledge was called a terrorist and told to go to the Middle East. One student said they could have just said “good morning” in a different language each day.  In the following days many cars in the school’s parking lot had American flags flying from the roof and several cars had scrawled on them the phrases: “We live in America, speak English.”

Complaints were made to the school by students, Jewish parents, veterans, and people who lost family in Afghanistan (a non-Arabic nation). Veterans who live in the area made it known that they disapproved of the Pledge being read in any language but English.

After receiving complaints, the school apologized “to any student, staff, or community members who found the activity disrespectful”. The statement also read that the recitation was intended “to promote the fact that those who speak a language other than English still pledge to salute this country.”

Andrew Zink, senior class president who was in charge of morning announcements and the Pledge which were communicated via intercom, agreed for the Pledge to be read in Arabic. He was later reprimanded by the principal who told him he would no longer be doing the announcements. But Zink said he would consent to it all over again because it was  “the right thing to do.” Angered by the apology, he said America or American is not defined by the language you speak, but by the ideas in which you believe. He added, Pine Bush is a small, predominantly white town and “this incident shows it is not willing to accept other groups of people.”

Others were also angered by the apology. Sadyia Khalique, spokesperson for N.Y. Council of American-Islamic relations, said “All Americans who value our nation’s history of religious and ethnic diversity should be concerned by the reaction and subsequent apology.”

The school said that in the future the pledge would be read in English only.


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