US professor suspended for saying Muslims, Christians worship 'same God'

Professor put on a head scarf in solidarity with Muslims and said they worship the 'same God' as Christians

Reuters December 17, 2015
Larycia Hawkins, an associate professor of political science at Wheaton College, wore a hijab at a church service in Chicago. PHOTO: Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune, via Associated Press

A tenured political science professor at Wheaton College, an evangelical university outside Chicago, has been suspended after she wrote in a Facebook post that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.

Dr Larycia Hawkins wrote on the social media site on December 10 that she was donning a hijab during the period of advent before Christmas as a sign of solidarity with Muslims. In her post she said "we worship the same God."

After that statement drew criticism, the school said Hawkins was on administrative leave.

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"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," said the statement, issued on Tuesday.

Wheaton College spokesperson LaTonya Taylor did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for information about how long the suspension would last, how unusual it was and who would conduct the review. Hawkins also did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The college said that when they participate in causes, faculty and staff must faithfully represent the school's evangelical statement of faith.

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On her Facebook page on December 10, Hawkins said she would wear the hijab in solidarity with Muslim neighbors. "I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book."

Hawkins, who has written on race, religion and American politics, said she had consulted with the local chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, an advocacy group, to make sure that it would not be seen as offensive for a non-Muslim woman to wear the headscarf.

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The solidarity gesture comes as Muslims around the United States report worries of a backlash and growing Islamophobia after a couple who had pledged allegiance to the extremist group Islamic State killed 14 people in California in early December.

After she was criticised for saying Christians and Muslims worship the same God, Hawkins said on her Facebook page that there are convincing arguments for expressing religious solidarity with Muslims and Jews and asked people who do not agree with her to accept her love and her offering of peace.


Rj | 5 years ago | Reply We should respect each other's religions. Plus university suspending a professor over a peaceful act is just a sign of how intolerant their crowd is.
Rationalist | 5 years ago | Reply She is a black woman, she can relate with the discrimination and subjugation muslim people face. Black people, along with other races, go through humiliation at the hands of white people thats why they can see through the demonization and propoganda white people do for other races.
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