Is it OK to look Muslim in America?

Source: Al-Jazeera by Rafia Zakaria

Larycia Hawkins’ solidarity message goes beyond wearing the headscarf for a day. That’s exactly what America needs

On Jan. 6, Wheaton College — a private evangelical liberal arts school west of Chicago — initiated termination proceedings against an African-American professor it placed on paid administrative leave in December.

Larycia Hawkins, 43, was suspended for writing on Facebook, “I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated … we worship the same God.” She pledged to wear a hijab for Advent — including on a trip to her home state, Oklahoma, which has an amendment to its constitution barring consideration of Sharia in the public sphere — and encouraged others to do the same in “solidarity with our Muslim sisters.”

In a statement last month, the college said, “Hawkins’ administrative leave resulted from theological statements that seemed inconsistent with Wheaton College’s doctrinal convictions.” School officials say they initiated the firing process because she “declined to participate in further dialogue about the theological implications of her public statements.”

In their view, her comments conflicted with the college’s statement of faith, which requires that faculty profess belief in evangelical Christianity and conduct themselves accordingly. She said she is “flummoxed and flabbergasted” by the college’s decision to fire her.

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Categories: Americas

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