This Professor Was Punished For Wearing A Hijab

On December 10, Larycia Alaine Hawkins, a professor at Wheaton College (the one in Chicago, not the one in Massachusetts), published a Facebook post disclosing that she would begin wearing a hijab. Hawkins isn't Muslim, and, in fact, explained that donning the head scarf worn by some Muslim women would be a part of her Advent Worship, a time before Christmas that some Christians observe. Hawkins wrote that wearing the hijab was an act of solidarity with Muslims as culture becomes increasingly Islamophobic.

She explained, "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."

I don't love my Muslim neighbor because s/he is American.I love my Muslim neighbor because s/he deserves love by...

Posted by Larycia Alaine Hawkins on Thursday, December 10, 2015

She went on to note that she had asked the Council on American Islamic Relations if a non-Muslim woman wearing a hijab would be offensive or patronizing. She said that CAIR gave its blessing, but her employer was apparently not as supportive of her plan.

Wheaton, a Christian institution, has put Hawkins on academic leave. In a statement the school released yesterday, officials explained, "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 goes on to say that "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." This creed includes 12 separate ideas, all beginning with "We believe," and details Christian dogma as the college sees it.

But Hawkins did nothing that seems to reject such canon and, rather, explained throughly how standing with a marginalized religion was an act of piety for her. In fact, one of the tenets of faith taken from the college's statement explains that Christians should be "caring for all of God’s creation and actively seeking the good of everyone, especially the poor and needy," which is exactly what the professor is trying to do.

This morning, Hawkins published a post on Facebook that expressed her gratitude for those who supported her decision to wear the hijab, including some of her academic peers, writing, "It is my sincere privilege to walk in solidarity with each of you. New friends, old friends, and colleagues at Wheaton College — thanks for your encouragement."

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