Evangelical College Suspends Christian Professor Who Wore Hijab

Illinois’ Wheaton College placed a tenured Christian professor on administrative leave after she donned a hijab in solidarity with Muslim-Americans facing scrutiny after recent terrorist attacks in Paris and California, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday.

Political science professor Larycia Hawkins announced her intention to wear the traditional headscarf for the duration of the Christmas season on Facebook last week, saying Muslims “like me, a Christian, are people of the book.”

“We worship the same God,” she continued.

Hawkins’ explanation ruffled feathers among administrators at the private evangelical Christian college, who said that she was wrongfully conflating the two religions.

In a statement to the Tribune, Wheaton administrators said: “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 told the Tribune that Hawkins did not make her plan clear to administrators before she began wearing the hijab around campus. In a statement on the school’s website, officials said a full review of the “theological implications” of her statements would be required before her suspension was reconsidered.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.
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