A middle school course on Islam that is being taught in California has become a point of controversy. One parent has filed a complaint against the San Luis Obispo school district, claiming that the schools do not give as much instruction time for teaching other religions, The Washington Times reported.

In that district, students pretended they were warriors fighting for Islam. In a second school district, the Excelsior School in the Byron Union School District near Oakland, about 125 seventh-graders read verses from the Quran, studied Islamic proverbs and dressed up in Muslim robes, the course description handouts said. "From the beginning, you and your classmates will become Muslims," the handout reads. "Dressing as a Muslim and trying to be involved will increase your learning and enjoyment."

Peggy Green, superintendent of the Byron Union School District, told the newspaper that her schools are not promoting the faith, but solely teaching about Islam. She said students could get extra credit if they dressed up as a Muslim.

Ken Connor, president of the Washington-based Family Research Council, thinks the classes are unfair. "This reflects a terrible double standard," he told the newspaper. "Anything that smacks of Christianity is systematically excluded in the classroom, but everything else like Wicca to Islam is welcomed."

The American Center for Law and Justice, has sent a letter to Byron Union School District insisting that school officials allow students to opt out of the course on Islam. "While it is appropriate to teach about various religions--including the teachings of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity--it is not appropriate for a public school to require students to attend a course that violates their religious beliefs," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the conservative law firm based in Virginia Beach, Va.

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