A tenured Wheaton College professor has been put on administrative leave after wearing a hijab on campus to express her support to Muslims.
Christian political science professor Larycia Hawkins wrote in a Facebook post last week that she would be wearing the headdress to show her support for peaceful Muslims after the terror attacks that took place in Paris and San Bernardino, California. Her post encouraged others to join her.
“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.
Her post went on to say that she would be wearing the hijab as part of her Advent Worship. She said she would be wearing the attire to work, while out in Chicago, at the airport, on the airplane when she went to visit her home state, which she noted had created one of the first Islamophobic laws, and when she attends church.
The school said that while it did not object to Hawkins wearing a hijab, they said that her comment made online that the two religions shared the same God went too far.
Hawkins said she did not ask the school for permission to wear the headdress, but did consult with the Council on American Islamic Relations to ensure her actions were not offensive to Muslims, writes Jason Silverstein for The New York Daily News.
Wheaton College released a statement late Tuesday night in response to the post, saying it had “significant questions” about the comments made by Hawkins pertaining to Christianity and Islam. The college argued that although both religions are monotheistic, they believe there to be a fundamental difference between the two, including the teachings, the nature of God, the path to salvation, and prayer.
The statement said that faculty members make a promise to model the faith of the school as best they can. When discussing current events, staff must “faithfully represent the college’s evangelical Statement of Faith.” That statement expressly refers to a view of one God existing as three people: the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost.
In a show of support, students held a protest outside of the administrative building on Wednesday, asking for Hawkins to be reinstated.
Because Hawkins is a tenured professor, her administrative leave is based on a full academic review. It is unclear how long her leave will last or if she will be paid.
Until that time, her Facebook page has been filled with support from friends and students, writes Jessica Chasmar for The Washington Times.
Hawkins responded to the support with a separate Facebook post, saying that of faith, hope, and love, the greatest is love. She went on to tell her students that she loves them and they continue to inspire her.