A tenured Wheaton College professor who wore a hijab in solidarity with Muslims was put on administrative leave Tuesday by the evangelical Christian school.
Larycia Hawkins, a Christian political science professor at the private school, announced on Facebook last week that she would wear the veil and encouraged others to join her in showing support for peaceful Muslims in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.
“I love my Muslim neighbor because s/he deserves love by virtue of her/his human dignity,” she wrote in the Dec. 10 post, alongside photos of herself wearing the veil. “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.
“As part of my Advent Worship, I will wear the hijab to work at Wheaton College, to play in Chi-town, in the airport and on the airplane to my home state that initiated one of the first anti-Sharia laws (read: unconstitutional and Islamophobic), and at church,” she wrote.
In a statement released Tuesday night, Wheaton College said it has “significant questions regarding the theological implications” of what Ms. Hawkins wrote about Christianity and Islam, The Daily Herald reported.
“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 college said in a statement, The Chicago Tribune reported.
“Wheaton College faculty and staff make a commitment to accept and model our institution’s faith foundations with integrity, compassion and theological clarity,” the statement said. “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.”
As a tenured professor, Ms. Hawkins’ administrative leave will be pending a full review, The Daily Herald reported. In the meantime, friends and students have taken to her Facebook page to express their support.
In a separate post Wednesday, Ms. Hawkins wrote, “Faith, hope, and love. These remain. But the greatest of these is love.”
“New friends, old friends, and colleagues at Wheaton College — thanks for your encouragement,” she said. “Current and former students — how do I love thee? You already know the answer to that question. But in case you’ve forgotten, you, you, you inspire me everyday. That, my dears, will never change. … Your sister in solidarity with the hijab.”