Dr. Larycia Hawkins, an American professor at Wheaton College, has been suspended because of a statement she had published on Facebook about her solidarity with Muslims. In order to prove her solidarity she decided to wear the islamic veil (the hijab) until Christmas. “Wheaton 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,” declared the college president on Wednesday. There was another reason to exclude her from the college. Dr. Hawkins wrote that she loves her Muslim neighbors because “they deserve love by virtue of their human dignity.” She added: “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.”
It doesn’t matter if what she said is right or wrong. The real problems are the measures and decisions that were taken against her. It’s ridiculous to see how a person can lose their job because of them expressing an opinion, especially in a western society where freedom of speech and opinion are supposed to be guaranteed and protected. We can agree or disagree with what Dr. Hawkins said. But suspending her from her job is a step too far. In my opinion, she hasn’t said anything wrong. She tried to bring the followers of both monotheistic religions together by focusing on the similarities between Islam and Christianity. Yes, there are some significant differences between both religions and no one could deny them. But why must we always focus on things that separate us religiously? Is it so difficult to say out loud that Islam and Christianity are from the same Source and Light (God)? The only things that makes Islam and Christianity different from each other are a) how they see God, b) the way they order their followers to worship Him, and c) how they treat some theological questions. Instead of growing closer to each other, we create more walls and more ways to close the doors of communication between both religions.
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Dr. Hawkins deserves my respect, my support, and the support of many other people, Muslims and non-Muslims.