Wheaton College Suspends Professor After She Wore A Hijab And Called For A Stand of Solidarity With Muslims

12376562_10153326765773481_4497386556874030456_nThere is a deeply disturbing controversy at Wheaton College where Larycia Hawkins, an associate professor of political science at Wheaton College, has been suspended after she wore a hijab throughout Advent as an act of “solidarity with my Muslim sisters.” Hawkins is Christian but believed that her Christian Advent values called for her to extend his symbol of kindness and support to Muslims. On Facebook, she wrote “I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book.” That caused an outrage and her ultimately suspension.

Some viewed the statement as conflating Christian and Muslim faiths, even though Muslims regard Jesus as a prophet of God. Wheaton College would have none of it: “While Islam and Christianity are both monotheistic, we believe there are fundamental differences between the two faiths, including what they teach about God’s revelation to humanity, the nature of God, the path to salvation and the life of prayer.”

Hawkins was going to take off the Hijab at Christmas and said that it’s “a time of real vitriolic rhetoric by fellow Christians sometimes and people who aren’t Christian who conflate all Muslims with terrorist — and that saddens me — so this is a way of saying if all women wear the hijab we cannot discriminate. If all women were in solidarity, who is the real Muslim? How is TSA going to decide who they really suspect?”

The fact is that this is not a violation of the First Amendment because the college is not a state actor. It is a religious based institution that has a right to set its own rules based on that faith. I simply believe that the college is wrong and has taken a message of solidarity and replaced it with a message of intolerance. Moreover, the statement being attacked was made on social media by this academic. I have previously written about the increasing monitoring and discipline of teachers for conduct in their private lives. We have seen teachers face discipline over social media pictures holding a weapon. Even a picture of a teacher holding a glass of a drink is enough to trigger discipline.

Wheaton College stressed that Hawkins should have cleared any statements or actions in advance, raising concerns over the right to free speech for teachers. The college said “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.”

Source: Chicago Tribune

84 thoughts on “Wheaton College Suspends Professor After She Wore A Hijab And Called For A Stand of Solidarity With Muslims”

  1. Unlike you Steve I don’t obsess about other people’s sex lives. Unless you are a member of the Oathkeepers I sincerely doubt you have any idea what our organization actually stands for. That’s okay though, keep talking about them because it drives up membership. Thanks 🙂

  2. Steve,
    Sure, but I understand the secret service could only do so much with Bill, so I guess it all depends on what your definition of ‘no-brainer” is.

    BTW, this blog’s resident pseudo-doctor from Canada may have a cure for that trouble of yours.

    1. Trouble? As Larry Flynt says, “It’s just sex.”

      Honestly, Oathkeepers is for people who should be divorced rather than converting to married-again Christians. No?

  3. Speaking of the headscarf, which, of course, is specifically claimed by the university as not being the reason for this suspension, reminded me of something which I happened to observe over the weekend at one of the busiest malls in the city.

    Just an observation, folks–just an observation.

    After spending a couple of hours in a hot and crowded mall, among the throngs of harried and scrambling shoppers, I decided to take a break and head over to the food court for a quick bite. As expected, it was filled to capacity, with lines of up to ten or more, waiting to be served, at each food station. I suddenly and unexpectedly came upon a food station, totally devoid of any kind of line–yeah, this was my kinda place. No line. Just grab something and go. I happened to look up and the individuals behind the counter, and what did I see? Women, serving the food, totally covered in niqabs, which completely covered their heads and faces, leaving only the smallest of slits for their eyes. The food looked great–very similar to that sold at another food station, where the line was long–but people were avoiding this place like the plague. I stood and observed for a while, thinking that perhaps I had arrived at an uncommon moment of calm, but, no, I didn’t. No one was patronizing this establishment. Why? I didn’t poll those in the food court, but I can only assume that they felt more comfortable purchasing prepared food served by people whose faces were visible. I pitied these women, who were working behind a sweltering counter, covered like mummies to fulfill some misguided sense of modesty.

  4. The title of the article, WHEATON COLLEGE SUSPENDS PROFESSOR AFTER SHE WORE A HIJAB AND CALLED FOR STAND OF SOLIDARITY WITH MUSLIMS, is a highly misleading hook, and JT knows that. The truth of the matter is that the Evangelical university placed her on administrative leave pending an investigation into remarks that she posted that were contrary to the religious university’s policies and beliefs. Period. It claims that it did not suspend her due to her clothing choices, so why does JT insert that inflammatory wording into the description of the article’s contents? I could understand if the university released statements to that effect, but the school has specifically denied that her clothing choices had anything to do with this suspension. A little truth, even if it’s not your truth, JT, goes a long way.

  5. steve,
    Why the swipe at the Oathkeepers? There are any number of “organizations” pulling on our cultural center and for one to want us to center on the constitution is hardly a negative. If someone wants to wear a burqa because they have a constitutional right to wear whatever they want then there should be no opposition to others openly carrying a firearm. See how easy that is, we all get to wear what we want without infringement by our government.

    1. Olly: You’re right. I shouldn’t have criticized this Christian organization.

      I guess I just have trouble with men needing other men to restrain one another from ego-driven hypersexuality and lying to their wives. Refraining from such behavior seems like a no-brainer. Doesn’t it?

  6. Steve and Dave, Neither of you is grasping the nettle. Head scarves and veiling are not universal in Islam, but they have made a comeback since mid-century last. It is very much a local custom/family matter. One of the issues being addressed by the hijab/niqab is this – “What is the point of showing face to a man outside my family to whom I am not married?” If I am unmarried, there is no point since my family will ultimately arrange one for me. If I am married, what is the point? If accompanied, then please explain your need to communicate with me to my husband/guardian who will in turn explain it to me. They care about communications but don’t believe they have to be face to face or even direct in nature. If you need to “communicate” with them they will say talk away but you do not get to see my face. It might lead to flirtation, which is forbidden. What is the point of flirtation if one is already married? Indeed, what is the point of “attractiveness” if one is already married? This is all internally logical but VERY difficult for Westerners, especially women, to grasp.

    1. VeloMac, it is not difficult to grasp the point about beauty, flirtation, etc. However, that is not the only consideration here. What you present above presupposes that the woman should not have any dealings with people outside her family. Most Westerners believe women should be educated and have equal opportunity for jobs outside the home. Just take education, this would involve communication with people outside her family, such as her teacher, study partners, etc. The face is an important part of body language. Do you have a hard time understanding this?

      1. Dave, You say and I quote, “What you present above presupposes that the woman should not have any dealings with people outside her family. Most Westerners believe women should be educated and have equal opportunity for jobs outside the home.” In actual fact, Dave, women in many, not all, Muslim countries are not supposed to have direct dealings with any men outside her family. They may have direct dealings with women outside the family. It’s men, Dave, not women that are the problem. I will tell you that in many, but not all Muslim countries, women are expected, and expect themselves, to obtain an education. That doesn’t mean a woman has to sit cheek by jowl with a man in a classroom. In Saudi Arabia, for example, women in the same curriculum as men, say Dentistry as an example, have the same exact lecture at the same exact time as the men, but on different floors, patrolled to make sure they are same sex floors, owing to the magic of CCTV. No mixing, Dave, in other words. Oh, and yes, women patients attend women Dentists, to be sure, unless there is just NO ONE with the required level of expertise to treat a given problem. Then, as an exceptional case, a male Dentist can see a female patient, or vice versa. As so it goes for many other occupations as well. Separate women’s educational institutions are the norm unless the duplication required is just not possible from a financial point of view, such as in Medical/Dental schools. I have no problem whatsoever in understanding that the face is an important part of unspoken body language. Just don’t expect Muslims to agree that unmarried men and women should be indulging in this type of communication unless other alternatives are absent.

        1. VeloMac, thanks for the very articulate post.

          You wrote: “Just don’t expect Muslims to agree that unmarried men and women should be indulging in this type of communication unless other alternatives are absent.”

          What do you think about coeducation?

          Do you think there is any possibility that Muslims may be persuaded at some point in the future to recognize the value of coeducation?

          1. DavidM2575, I seriously doubt there is much of a trend towards mixed education in Islamic societies. Where we should attempt to hold the line is in those Western societies which promote public mixed education. If immigrants, recent or second/third generation residents, want to self-segregate along religious lines and, incidentally, pay for their own schools, then there is little to be done.

    2. Another WTF moment.

      Frankly, I don’t think either of you, VeloMac or David, grasps the point, which is this: how people dress or think is none of your damned business. Just don’t compel others to accept your own puritanical “Oafkeepers” views (e.g., David’s need of a face as an important part of body language), and then if they don’t refuse to accept them.

      If someone wants to wear a burqa for her religion and her sense of decency, and then wants to talk to me, I have no problem with it. It’s the preconceived religious connotation that it’s our way or the highway that is the problem.

      Sheesh. Let people alone.

      1. Stevegroen, you are just blowing this up way over the top. Who is stopping her from wearing her hijab? Nobody. A few of us only pointed out the antisocial nature of wearing a niqab or burqa. This is just speech, but you come across like there is something wrong with us talking about it, even speculating that it somehow leads to bloodshed. SMH. There is absolutely nothing wrong with talking about how people dress, whether it is for fashion, style, modesty, or religious reasons.

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