The tiny students, some in their first year at a Sarajevo kindergarten, are led away from their classmates by a woman peering out from a headscarf who will give them a lesson on the basics of Islam.

"Kids have been asking me why they are being separated and what a religious class is," said a teacher, who asked not to be named. "It was so difficult at the beginning."

The "bula" – an intermediary between an imam and the family – grabs their attention with animal pictures on a laptop. She then goes on to explain how the Prophet Muhammad traveled from Mecca to Medina.

The lesson seems innocent enough for 3- to 6-year-olds. But the decision by the Muslim-led county council to allow religious instruction in Sarajevo kindergartens has met a chorus of outrage from critics who fear it is part of an attempt to "Islamicize" Bosnia's capital.

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