SAN DIEGO - A University of San Diego professor's protest against discrimination toward Muslims resulted in a campus controversy when she and students wore stars similar to those Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany and Europe before the Holocaust.

Representatives of various Jewish groups called the protest an inappropriate use of an image that should not be misappropriated.

"While the intentions may have been very good, the appropriation of a symbol that carries so much weight in the Jewish community was not a good choice," said Michael Rabkin, executive director of Hillel of San Diego.

Rabkin said he was pleased that the school apologized and said he has reached out to the private Catholic schools to consider opening a USD chapter of Hillel, a Jewish campus organization already at San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego.

A statement on the university's Facebook page stated that the exercise in Bahar Davary's class was meant to raise awareness of Islamophobia and not intended "to make an analogy between the current situation of Muslims in the U.S. to that of Jews in Germany and wider Europe before the Holocaust."

Davary could not be reached for comment during the winter break at USD, but she did respond on her Facebook page.

"It is a stark symbol," she wrote. "My students and I wear it in memorial of the Jewish lives lost and in the hope to avoid causing harm to another religious/ethnic group."