Wheaton Offers Scholarship Named for Former Professor Who Said Muslims, Christians Worship Same God

A new scholarship now being offered at a prominent evangelical college named after a former professor who infamously claimed that Christians and Muslims worship the same God is confusing some while being celebrated by others.

The Wheaton Record reported on April 5 that a scholarship in the name of former political science professor Larycia Hawkins was announced last month.

Wheaton College political science professor Larycia Hawkins posing in a hijab in a photo that was posted to Facebook on Dec. 10, 2015. | (Photo: Facebook/Larycia Hawkins)

The scholarship will be up to $1,000 and was created as part of a Feb. 2016 settlement with Hawkins, the first African American female to receive tenure at the school. Hawkins left Wheaton that month amid international controversy over a Dec. 2015 Facebook post in which she published a photo of herself wearing a hijab in solidarity with Muslims who had been antagonized following terror attacks at the time, and claimed that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. She was summarily put on administrative leave due to the “theological implications” behind those comments.

The Wheaton board of trustees admitted later that year that the school had made an “error in judgement” in handling the situation; a task force issued a report in October concluding that they could not decisively say whether or not Hawkins’ theological views aligned with the school’s doctrinal statement of faith.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISIAN POST 

Five myths about hijab

From hijabi Barbie to the hijabi emoji, the Muslim headscarf is now ubiquitous. For some, a woman with her hair covered or her face veiled evokes victimhood and a system of domination, or perhaps exoticism (think of the real-life and theatrical versions of “Not Without My Daughter”). Fox News host Jeanine Pirro stoked those fears this month when she said the “hee-jab” worn by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is “antithetical” to the Constitution. That’s one of many myths that persist about wearing hijab.

MYTH NO. 1
‘Hijab’ means’headscarf.’

This month, Army Times reported on an alleged incident in which an Army sergeant was ordered to remove her headscarf by a senior noncommissioned officer, even though the sergeant had “an approved exemption from her brigade commander to wear a hijab in uniform.” In a story about first lady Melania Trump covering her head for a 2017 audience with the pope but eschewing a scarf for a visit to Saudi Arabia, NBC News reported that the Saudi government “did not request that Mrs. Trump wear a head covering known as a hijab, or a headscarf.”

“Hijab” means “curtain” or “partition,” not “headscarf.” The Koran uses forms of the words “khimar” and “jilbab,” but not “hijab,” when describing women’s dress. “Khimar” means “cover” and corresponds to what we would call a scarf; “jilbab” is an outer garment.

“Hijab” has become a common way of describing a Muslim woman’s head covering, but sharia rules on modesty are about more than covering one’s hair — they deal with a range of attire and conduct, applicable to both men and women, intended to protect interactions between men and women from sexual innuendo. It’s not necessarily offensive to use “hijab” as a synonym for “headscarf.” (It’s a lot closer than other terms, as long as you say “wearing hijab” rather than “wearing a/the hijab.”) But either way, fixating on one piece of cloth misses the point of sharia’s holistic rules for modest behavior.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST

Muslim women in Ireland urge non-Muslims to ‘look beyond the veil’

imageMuslim women in Ireland have urged non-Muslims in their communities to “look beyond the veil” and to see beyond negative stereotypes of the hijab.

Irish Muslim women and men gathered for a breakfast event on Friday to celebrate World Hijab Day, which is marked around the world on February 1st.

The event was hosted by Muslim Sisters of Éire, a voluntary organisation which provides support to women (in particular Muslim women), and to encourage integration.

Chair of the organisation Lorraine O’Connor from Dublin converted to Islam in 2005 from a predominantly Catholic background.

“I noticed when I became Muslim and I started wearing the hijab that there was quite a lot of hostility so I decided to wear my hijab and to be Irish I needed to kind of be proactive,” she said.

Sarah Babiker pictured at the event in the Hilton Hotel, Dublin. Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times
Sarah Babiker pictured at the event in the Hilton Hotel, Dublin. Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

 

She and others established Muslim Sisters of Éire in 2010 with a mission to “break stereotypes” and to combat negative public discourse, she says.

One of its visions was to bring Muslims together on World Hijab Day to celebrate the wearing of the veil.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE IRISH TIMES 

Do Republicans Believe in Religious Liberty for Muslims?

181129-Obeidallah-Ilhan-Omar-tease_edcminIlhan Omar, the first hijab-wearing member of Congress, will be seated next January. Will Republicans back a rule change ensuring her right to wear it on the floor?

Donald Trump and his GOP talk and talk about their love of “religious liberty.” In May, there was Trump declaring that religious freedom is a “priority” of his administration.  And in July, Trump’s Department of Justice even announced the formation of a religious liberty task force.

Well, if Trump and the GOP truly believe that religious liberty is not just for Christians, then here’s a no-brainer for them. The Republicans in the House should unanimously support a recently proposed rule to ensure religious liberty for a soon-to-be-sworn-in Muslim member of Congress and push back against the anti-Muslim voices in their party when they attack this change—which, if history is any guide, they will!

Come January 3, 2019, Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar (D-MN) will be the first Muslim member of Congress ever to wear a hijab (head scarf). The problem is that a House rule enacted in 1837 bans any type of headwear, which would include Omar’s headscarf.

In response, Democratic House leader and expected next speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has formally proposed to ditch this 181-year-old ban on headwear in order to “ensure religious expression.” As Pelosi explained to NBC News, “After voters elected the most diverse Congress in history, clarifying the antiquated rule banning headwear will further show the remarkable progress we have made as a nation.”

This rule, while on the books, doesn’t seem to have been enforced. As AshLee Strong, the spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, explained in an email, “Under both Republican and Democratic Speakers, the House has never prohibited any kind of religious headwear.” That’s great to hear. But forgive me if I’m not quite reassured.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE DAILY BEAST 

Controversy over Wheaton professor’s hijab captures evangelical rift in new film

16mag-16hawkins-t_CA1-facebookJumbo(RNS) — Larycia Hawkins never questioned what she should do.

It was days after the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, in which 14 people were killed at a center for people with developmental disabilities. Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump seized upon the religion of the two shooters and declared he’d ban all Muslims from entering the country, and Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. encouraged students at his evangelical Christian school to get concealed-carry permits because “good people” with guns could “end those Muslims.”


So Hawkins — then a political science professor at Wheaton College, an evangelical school in the Chicago suburbs — posted a photo on Facebook of herself in a hijab and announced plans to wear it through the Christian season of Advent as an act of “embodied solidarity” with Muslim women.

“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,” she wrote.

The pushback was immediate. Within a few months, the first black, female tenured professor at Wheaton had lost her job.

Hawkins’ story is detailed in “Same God,” a documentary that premiered late last month at the LA Film Festival.

To filmmaker Linda Midgett, responses to the professor’s act revealed the polarization within both evangelical Christianity and the country as a whole.

The documentary tells Hawkins’ story through interviews with student and faculty supporters who were at Wheaton at the time and with the interfaith leaders who rallied to her side. Several more screenings are planned, including showings this month in New Orleans and Chicago.

So far, audiences’ reactions show the importance of Hawkins’ story and its resonance beyond Wheaton, Midgett said.

“In some ways, I felt like she got her voice back,” she said, “because she lost her voice when she lost her job and she just was kind of shuttled out of the evangelical community.”

What happened at Wheaton was the perfect storm, according to the filmmaker, touching on hot-button issues of theology, race, gender, academic freedom, religious freedom, Islamophobia. Some evangelicals thought that Hawkins was a heretic. Others believed she was doing the things Jesus had told his followers to do.

FULL ARTICLE FROM RELIGION NEWS SERVICE 

More than a headscarf: Forum takes aim at misconceptions about Muslims

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Sameena Zahoor has been wearing a hijab since she was in college studying to be a doctor and she is aware that non-Muslims often have questions — and misconceptions — about the headscarf commonly worn by Muslim women.

Zahoor, a family physician from Canton, said it is not much different than coverings donned by nuns or members of religions outside of Islam.

“Yes, my experience being a Muslim woman has a lot to do with me wearing a headscarf,” Zahoor said. “No, I don’t think I’m a better Muslim because I cover — versus a person who does not cover. Yes, I do have hair underneath (my hijab). No, I don’t wear it when I go home, sleep in it or shower in it. Yes, it makes me feel hot and sweaty when I wear it in the summer. No, I was not forced to wear it and no I am not oppressed.”

It was that kind of open discussion — intended to break down barriers and spread understanding of Islam — that highlighted the Building Bridges: Getting To Know Our Muslim Neighbors event hosted Sunday by The Waterford Refugee Welcome Alliance and held at the Christ Lutheran Church in Waterford.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE DETROIT FREE PRESS 

Students of all religions wore hijabs to celebrate Islam Appreciation Month

5a72962988f03.imageSoha Samla doesn’t typically wear her Islamic hijab, but she wrapped a tan one around herself Wednesday to feel closer to God for the day.

Samla was one of about 80 people, some for the first time, who tried on hijabs of various colors and patterns. UF’s Islam on Campus put on the “Hijabathon” to kick off Islam Appreciation Month, said coordinator Sana Nimer. They invited students of all religions to wear a hijab for the day and take it home.

“Islam is not this big, scary boogeyman that people want to make it out to be,” Nimer said. “If you come talk to us, hopefully we can help you understand that and get rid of some misconceptions.”

The hijabs were donated by individuals and businesses, such as Haute Hijab, Abaya Addict and Hijab Culture, Nimer said.

FULL ARTICLE FROM ALLIGATOR.ORG