US professor leaves Christian college after hijab row

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CHICAGO (AFP) – A professor at a US Christian college who courted controversy after donning a hijab in solidarity with Muslims has agreed to leave her tenured position.

Larycia Hawkins was placed on administrative leave from Wheaton College in December after posting a picture of herself wearing a hijab on Facebook.

Hawkins said she was standing “in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book.”

Her statement came amid a swell of Islamophobia in the wake of attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

The school faced a backlash in which it was accused of bigotry and curtailing academic freedom.

Administrators at the suburban Chicago evangelical college said the problem was not the fact that Hawkins donned a hijab, but that she wrote “we worship the same God.”

The idea that Christians and Muslims worship the same God is a direct contradiction of the core of the college s statement of faith, which affirms that salvation is achieved through Christ alone.

Faculty and staff members are expected to commit to “accept and model” the college s statement of faith with “integrity, compassion and theological clarity,” Wheaton said in a statement.

While Hawkins received a groundswell of support that included demonstrations on campus, some Muslims also expressed unease at her assertions that they share the same God.

Some also criticized her very act of wearing a hijab.

After initiating a termination process in January, the college and Hawkins said in a joint statement Monday that they had “found a mutual place of resolution and reconciliation.”

The statement said the two parties reached “a confidential agreement under which they will part ways.”

2016-02-09

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