A political science professor at Wheaton College, a Christian university, was put on administrative leave after posting pictures of herself wearing a hijab.
Dr. Larycia Hawkins posted the pictures on social media and said she planned on wearing the head scarf to class.
I love my Muslim neighbor because s/he deserves love by virtue of her/his human dignity,” she wrote on Facebook on Dec. 10.
“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 the school’s officials didn’t agree, saying in a statement that they have “significant questions regarding the theological implications” of what Hawkins said about the relationship of Christianity to Islam.
The action was in potential violation of the college’s statement of faith, the officials added.
In a separate statement obtained by the Daily Herald, President Philip Ryken said Wheaton College “has no stated position on the wearing of headscarves as a gesture of care and concern for those in Muslim or other religious communities that may face discrimination or persecution. We support the protection of all Americans including the right to the free exercise of religion, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.”
Hawkins hasn’t responded directly to the decision, but did defend herself from detractors online after initially posting the pictures. She posted on Facebook on December 16, but only to thank supporters for their encouragement and with no reference to the school’s decision or any form of apology.
The administrative leave will be pending a full review, since Hawkins is a tenured faculty member.