On a balmy November night, a busload of eighth-graders spilled out onto Massachusetts Avenue NW, the girls tentatively pulling on head scarves they had been instructed to bring.
"Does mine look normal?" one asked, cinching it tightly under her chin.
"Mine looks really ugly, doesn't it?" said another, tugging at a billowy confection of material.
Suitably attired, more or less, they trooped into the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. Many of the students, who belong to an after-school Hebrew program at Congregation Beth El in Bethesda, had passed by the large mosque with the columns and minaret, but they had never gone inside, until now.