A man who served nearly three years as a Cub Scout leader has been rejected for a higher Scout post because he is a Muslim.

The church that sponsors the Scout troop said Umar Abdul-Mutakallim may be a good leader, but he is the wrong man for the cub master job because of his religion.Haven Reformed Church said Pack 293's cub master should be Christian, like the church.

"For any of the programs we offer here at the Protestant church, it only seems consistent that the people leading those programs would at least identify with what it is that we represent," church program director Dale Boone said.

In February, outgoing cub master Al Lind asked Abdul-Mutakallim to take his place, and he took over in the interim. But in August, the church council rejected the appointment.

Abdul-Mutakallim said he did not learn of the decision until October. He and his stepson, Bashir, then quit the pack.

"Of all places, Scouting is a place where we should be fostering community, fellowship and brotherhood," he said. He said he has no plans to sue.

Boy Scouts of America officials said the church is within its rights. A charter agreement essentially makes the Scout troop a program of Haven Reformed, giving the church the authority to select leaders.

The scouting movement is based on a belief in God, though it does not try to define God or endorse a particular faith, said Boy Scouts spokesman Richard Walker in Irving, Texas.

Haven Reformed Church, like other sponsoring groups, can apply religious tests in choosing scout leaders, Walker said.

"This is something for the church to work out," Walker said.

Some parents criticized the church's action and said they plan to form a new pack and will ask Abdul-Mutakallim to return as leader.

"We're Jewish, so this directly affects us," Lou Price said. "It says to me that if I ever want to be a pack leader, I can't. And it sends the wrong message to my kids."

Abdul-Mutakallim said the church should have been upfront about its requirements.