A tenured professor at an Illinois college has been placed on administrative leave after posting to social media her belief that Christians and Muslims worship the same god.
Larycia Hawkins, a professor of political science at Wheaton College outside Chicago, decided to wear a hijab as part of her Advent devotion and says "religious solidarity with Muslims and Jews will go a long way toward quelling religious violence."
"In response to significant questions regarding the theological implications of statements that Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Larycia Hawkins has made about the relationship of Christianity to Islam, Wheaton College has placed her on administrative leave, pending the full review to which she is entitled as a tenured faculty member.
"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," read the school's statement on Dr. Hawkins dated Dec. 15.
In an earlier statement that appears to have been made, at least in part, in reaction to statements Hawkins made on social media, Wheaton College wrote:
"We affirm that salvation is through Christ alone ... 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."
Hawkins, 43, plans to wear the hijab everywhere she goes until Christmas, including on her flight home to Oklahoma.
She told the Chicago Tribune she made the decision because we live in "a time of real vitriolic rhetoric by fellow Christians sometimes and people who aren't Christian who conflate all Muslims with terrorists."
Hawkins continued: "If all women were in solidarity, who is the real Muslim? How is TSA going to decide who they really suspect?"