Wheaton College professor Larycia Hawkins has been placed on administrative leave after she posted a picture on Facebook Friday wearing a hijab, endorsing a view that Christians and Muslims “worship the same god.”
“I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God,” Hawkins wrote.
Larycia, a tenured science professor and Christian, posted the pictures and statement, showing that she was showing solidarity to Muslim women in America. She also requested other women to join her, assuring them that she had checked with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and non-Muslims wearing a hijab is not “haram (forbidden), patronizing, or otherwise offensive to Muslims.”
“I was assured by my friends at CAIR-Chicago that they welcomed the gesture. So please do not fear joining this embodied narrative of actual as opposed to theoretical unity; human solidarity as opposed to mere nationalistic, sentimentality,” Hawkins wrote.
After being notified of the post, Wheaton College, the evangelical Christian school where Hawkins has worked since 2007, placed the professor on administrative leave. While the college said they didn’t mind Larycia wearing the hijab, the statement that Christians and Muslims worship the same God upset the school and reportedly went against their “Statement of Faith.”
“Wheaton College faculty and staff make a commitment to accept and model our institution’s faith foundations with integrity, compassion and theological clarity. As they participate in various causes, it is essential that faculty and staff engage in and speak about public issues in ways that faithfully represent the college’s evangelical Statement of Faith,” the college said in a statement following Hawkins’ suspension, which was effective immediately and set to last through the spring semester.
“While Islam and Christianity are both monotheistic, we believe there are fundamental differences between the two faiths, including what they teach about God’s revelation to humanity, the nature of God, the path to salvation and the life of prayer,” the statement, issued on Tuesday, continued.
— Dawn.com (@dawn_com) December 17, 2015
According to the Chicago Tribune, a group of students protested Hawkins’ suspension on Wednesday and delivered a letter to President Philip Ryken and Provost Stan Jones saying that Hawkins had not been unfaithful to the 12 points in the college’s Statement of Faith, and she needed to be reinstated immediately. The group could also be heard chanting “Reinstate Doc Hawk!” as they carried handmade signs around the administrative building.
“We believe there is nothing in Dr. Hawkins’ public statements that goes against the belief in the power and nature of God, Christ, or the Holy Spirit that the Statement of Faith deems as a necessary requirement for affiliation with Wheaton College,” the students’ letter said in part.
However, not all students agreed with Hawkins’ opinions and supported the college’s decision to place her on administrative leave. David Burnham, a 21-year-old junior business and economics major from Florida, said the college suspended Hawkins over her statement and had no other choice but to do so.
“By placing her on leave, the school says it doesn’t believe Muslims and Christians worship the same God,” he said. “The college had no choice.”
Hawkins’ suspension will be pending a full review to which she is entitled as a tenured faculty member, the college said.
Do you agree with Larycia Hawkins being placed on administrative leave? Do you agree with her comment that Christians and Muslims worship the same God? Leave your comments below.
[Photo by Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Images]