Dr Larycia Hawkins (1972- ), an associate professor of political science at Wheaton College, was put on leave after she started wearing a hijab, the headscarf some Muslim women wear. She is a Christian who wants to show support for Muslims in these Islamophobic times. Wheaton is an Evangelical Christian liberal arts college in suburban Chicago.
Hawkins on December 10th:
“I love my Muslim neighbor because s/he deserves love by virtue of her/his human dignity.
“I stand in human solidarity with my Muslim neighbor because we are formed of the same primordial clay, descendants of the same cradle of humankind–a cave in Sterkfontein, South Africa that I had the privilege to descend into to plumb the depths of our common humanity in 2014.
“I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.
“But as I tell my students, theoretical solidarity is not solidarity at all. Thus, beginning tonight, my solidarity has become embodied solidarity.
“As part of my Advent Worship, I will wear the hijab to work at Wheaton College, to play in Chi-town, in the airport and on the airplane to my home state that initiated one of the first anti-Sharia laws (read: unconstitutional and Islamophobic), and at church.”
Advent is the four weeks before Christmas.
Before doing any of this, she checked first with the Council on Islamic-American Relations (Cair) to make sure that it was not offensive, patronizing or forbidden by Islam.
Wheaton, five days later:
“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.”
Translation: They do not like her saying that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. Yet that is not clearly contrary to the Statement of Faith, which is boilerplate, Anglo-Protestant stuff.
Ahmed Rehab of Cair in Chicago:
“We’re dismayed by [Wheaton’s] decision because essentially [what Hawkins is doing] is an act of human solidarity meant to be rooted in theological compassion – to stand with students, Muslim students at Wheaton and elsewhere who are the victims of this current backlash of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry.”
Miroslav Volf, professor of theology at Yale Divinity School (in an article Hawkins linked to):
“The fact of the matter is this: fearful people bent on domination have created the contest for supremacy between Yahweh, the God of the Bible, and Allah, the God of the Quran. The two are one God, albeit differently understood. Arab Christians have for centuries worshiped God under the name ‘Allah.’ Most Christians through the centuries, saints and teachers of undisputed orthodoxy, have believed that Muslims worship the same God as they do.”
Students are protesting both for and against her.
Having tenure, she has the right to a full review.
– Abagond, 2015.
Update (February 12th 2016): Wheaton College and Dr Hawkins could not agree whether the Statement of Faith allows one to believe that Christians and Muslims worship the same god. She thinks it does, Wheaton authorities do not. So they have agreed to “part ways” in a secret agreement. Wheaton will start a scholarship in her name and, once every year, invite a Jewish or Muslim scholar to speak at Wheaton.
- Pope Francis
- Anglo-Protestant culture
- Halloween at Yale