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

Published: December 17, 2015
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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

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.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Dec 17, 2015 - 11:07AM

    Even achieving heights of success in science and technology still there are many Westerners who have abysmal knowledge of other civilizations of the world. This news blatantly proves it.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Dec 17, 2015 - 1:23PM

    Incidents like this occur due to a lack of understanding on one side………and a refusal to acknowledge that a problem does exist on the other side.Recommend

  • Indian
    Dec 17, 2015 - 1:28PM

    @khurram shahzad:

    don;t talk about others knowledge we know how bigoted you muslims were . Recommend

  • Point
    Dec 17, 2015 - 2:03PM

    @Indian:
    at least we are not some dumb stupids who worship a weird looking elephant made with our own hand !!Recommend

  • magyart
    Dec 17, 2015 - 2:17PM

    I support the professors statement supporting Muslims. However, she was not disciplined for being supportive of Muslims or their head dress. She was disciplined by a Christian college because she posted on face book that Muslims and Christians believe in the same God. These two religions have some similarities, but they don’t believe in the same God.

    Muslims believe Allah had no sons.

    Christians believe Jesus is the son of God.

    Muslims and Christians may pray together and support each other, but they don’t believe in the same GodRecommend

  • Iqbal
    Dec 17, 2015 - 3:17PM

    In India they say
    Raghupati Raghan Raja Ram,
    Ishwar Allah tere naam,
    Sabko Sumati de Bhagwan.
    Recommend

  • Nasser
    Dec 17, 2015 - 3:24PM

    @Point:
    Well said bro….we do not worship an elephant that too riding a mouse.Recommend

  • John
    Dec 17, 2015 - 3:32PM

    @Indian:
    Says the one who kills people for eating beef,burned widows for being sati,calls lower castes untouchables.
    Since generalization is cool,Seems like Hindus are as bigoted as MuslimsRecommend

  • jg
    Dec 17, 2015 - 6:43PM

    @magyart:
    Well. Neither Christians. Jews nor Muslims give any physical representation to God. So technically speaking, if there i s only ONE Lord, then I guess it’s th Sam one.Recommend

  • JJ
    Dec 17, 2015 - 8:00PM

    Allah means God of Abraham in Arabic. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all worship the God of Abraham. @magyart: Recommend

  • Ernest Montague
    Dec 17, 2015 - 9:15PM

    @khurram shahzad:

    I disagree. She is an instructor at a Christian evangelical college. While I admire her spirit, I find her stand puzzling. ( I am not religious, it’s a matter of indifference to me.) Would you condemn a Muslim teacher in a madrassah for taking the opposite side?Recommend

  • ramdar
    Dec 17, 2015 - 9:58PM

    @Point:
    God does not care in what form we imagine him. God is concerned about how you treat your fellow humans whose idea of God may be different than yours.Recommend

  • Sanjiv
    Dec 17, 2015 - 10:08PM

    Mr John sati & Jauhar performed by Hindu only due to barbaric Muslim rulers.Recommend

  • G. Din
    Dec 18, 2015 - 12:37AM

    She is not wrong. There is very little difference between an original book and a plagiarised version of the same.Recommend

  • Rationalist
    Dec 18, 2015 - 1:47AM

    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.Recommend

  • Rj
    Dec 18, 2015 - 3:01AM

    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. Recommend

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