The parents gathered in the little schoolroom clutching smartphones, ready to snap pictures of science fair projects. The 12 children near the front shuffled notecards between their fingers, murmuring lines about static electricity and why oil and water don't mix. Poster boards behind the kids touted the ideal weather conditions for a tornado, properties of magnets and the size of the solar system.

Most of the boys were dressed in suits or sports jackets, although one wore a traditional Muslim tunic and cap. The girls wore summer skirts and scarves tied around their hair and chins.

All of them are enrolled in the Iqraa School, which opened in September at the Anniston Islamic Center as the city's first Muslim school.

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