Students Hear Muslim Poem Instead of Pledge of Allegiance on 9/11

On Wednesday, the 12th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the principal at Concord-Carlisle High School in the suburbs of Boston read a Muslim poem to the entire school instead of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Principal Peter Badalament has since apologized for the oversight. “We had the well-being of students at the forefront of our thinking when we chose to acknowledge 9/11 by reading a poem that focused on cross-cultural understanding rather than unsettling words and images associated with the event,” the principal’s apology explained.

The poem by Syrian-American poet Mohja Kahf is called “My Grandmother Washes Her Feet in the Sink of the Bathroom at Sears.” It details the cultural collision that occurs when the author’s Muslim grandmother attempts to wash her feet in a bathroom at a Midwestern department store in observance of “wudu,” a pre- prayer ritual for Muslims.

The word “American” makes three appearances in the work — two of them sarcastic observations by the narrator and the third a contemptuous reference to U.S. citizens by a character in the poem.