The usual headlines have read, “Christian college places professor who wore headscarf on leave,” as Fox News said. However, when you read their summary, it was not because of wearing the hijab, but her statements on social media:
Larycia Hawkins, who is a Christian and an associate professor of political science at Wheaton College in suburban Chicago, said Wednesday that her actions were demonstrations of her own faith. Hawkins began wearing a hijab to counter what she called the “vitriolic” rhetoric against Muslims in recent weeks.
“In the spirit of Advent, my actions were motivated by a desire to live out my faith. Period,” Hawkins said Wednesday at a news conference at a Chicago church. Advent is the season leading up to Christmas.
Hawkins said she felt it was important to show solidarity with Muslims who may feel threatened after the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., as well as GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s calling to block Muslims from entering the U.S.
“Theoretical solidarity is not solidarity,” the tenured faculty member said.
The college said in a statement Tuesday that it placed her on leave because of statements she made on social media about similarities between Islam and Christianity.
“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,” the statement read.