Latest: Illinois college responds to prof who wore headscarf

AP News
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Posted: Jan 06, 2016 5:51 PM

CHICAGO (AP) — The latest on a Christian college professor who wears a headscarf in an expression of solidarity with Muslims and was placed on administrative leave for saying Muslims and Christians worship the same God (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

A suburban Chicago Christian college says it doesn't agree with a professor's statements made in the wake of her assertion that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

Larycia (lah-REE'-shuh) Hawkins, who's Christian, posted her views on Facebook last month and wore a headscarf in solidarity with Muslims. Wheaton College officials say her views contradict that college's and she refused to participate in subsequent "clarifying conversations." The private evangelical college has initiated termination-for-cause proceedings.

Hawkins said Wednesday she worked to reconcile her relationship with the university, meeting with officials several times and providing written statements. She claims university officials kept changing what was required from her. Hawkins spoke Wednesday surrounded by religious leaders, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

In a Wednesday statement, university officials would only say the college "disagrees with some of the facts presented in the press conference" but admires her commitment to "caring for our Muslims neighbors."

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11:45 a.m.

The professor of a suburban Chicago Christian college who asserted Christians and Muslims worship the same God is disputing the university's account of interactions with administrators who've initiated steps to fire her.

Larycia (lah-REE'-shuh) Hawkins, who's Christian, posted her views on Facebook and wore a headscarf to show solidarity with Muslims.

Wheaton College officials say she refused to participate in "clarifying conversations" about theological issues. The private evangelical college on Tuesday initiated termination-for-cause proceedings.

Hawkins says she met with administrators several times and provided statements explaining her beliefs, which she believes are line up with the college's mission. She says she was initially told further discussion wasn't required. She says then college officials changed requirements, saying her tenure would be revoked while she would have to participate in two years of conversations.

Hawkins spoke Wednesday surrounded by religious leaders, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

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6:45 a.m.

A professor who wore an Islamic-style headscarf to her Christian college in suburban Chicago says she continues to support the Muslim community after officials at her school said they plan to fire her for saying Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

Wheaton College initiated the termination-for-cause proceeding against Larycia Hawkins on Tuesday, saying she refused to participate in "clarifying conversations" about theological issues.

A spokeswoman for Hawkins says the professor plans a Wednesday morning news conference in downtown Chicago. Hawkins is a Christian and an associate professor of political science.

The private evangelical school west of Chicago placed Hawkins on paid administrative leave in December. Hawkins also had started wearing a hijab, the headscarf worn by some Muslim women, but the school has said that is not why she was placed on leave.