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A tenured professor at Wheaton College was put on administrative leave after she wore a traditional headscarf as part of her Christmas Advent devotion and said she was doing it in solidarity with Muslims.
“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,” Larycia Hawkins wrote on Facebook.
After her post, administrators at the private evangelical college questioned her comparison between Christianity and Islam.
Scroll down to see her Facebook post.
“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,” Wheaton College wrote in a statement.
The school administrators said Hawkins should have discussed her plans before carrying them out.
“Wheaton College faculty and staff make a commitment to accept and model our institution’s faith foundations with integrity, compassion and theological clarity,” the college 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.”
In the meantime, Hawkins wrote on her Facebook post that she did consult with the Council on American Islamic Relations to make sure wearing the veil would not be seen as offensive to Muslims.
And she said she had not changed her plan, despite the suspension.
“Hawkins, 43, of Oak Park, planned to wear the hijab everywhere she went until Christmas, including on her flight home to Oklahoma, where voters in 2010 overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment banning Shariah, or Islamic law,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
“Hawkins said she was inspired by a student who suggested all female college students should wear hijabs on flights home for the holidays,” the Tribune reported.