Beliefs News Revelations

Wheaton prof gets new post named for Muslim leader

Larycia Hawkins speaks on Jan. 6, 2016, at First United Methodist Church in Chicago. Religion News Service photo by Emily McFarlan Miller


(RNS) Larycia Hawkins, who left Wheaton College in the wake of controversy over her statement that Christians and Muslims worship one God, has a new gig: a fellowship named for a Muslim military hero.

The University of Virginia announced Thursday (March 3) that she will join its Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture as the “Abd el-Kader Visiting Faculty Fellow,” named for a 19th-century Algerian leader who was committed to intercultural dialogue.

RELATED STORY: Wheaton professor who left college over ‘same God’ flap: ‘I would do it again’

“Professor Hawkins brings keen insights into the intersections of religion and race and will greatly enrich our scholarship in this area,” said James Davison Hunter, executive director and founder of the institute, in an announcement. “We’re fortunate to have the opportunity to welcome her here.”

Hawkins and Wheaton jointly announced in February that they had reached a mutual agreement to part ways after Hawkins had taught at the college for nine years.

“The Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture provides a wonderfully vibrant, intellectual community and it is the perfect place for me to pursue my scholarship,” Hawkins said.

In 2007, Hawkins was a fellow at UVA’s Miller Center, which focuses on the presidency, policy and political history.

(Adelle M. Banks is production editor and a national reporter for RNS) 

About the author

Adelle M. Banks

Adelle M. Banks, production editor and a national reporter, joined RNS in 1995. An award-winning journalist, she previously was the religion reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and a reporter at The Providence Journal and newspapers in the upstate New York communities of Syracuse and Binghamton.


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  • Well this should put to rest all the speculation that the same-God kerfuffle was in the end a ploy to get a cushier gig at ta friendlier school. #academia

  • No matter how the media wants to spin this Laryica Hawkins, is incorrect in stating that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Muslims would disagree with her too, but of course none of them would come forward and state this. Perhaps they did that on purpose, in order to make Wheaton College look intolerant. Let Ms. Hawkins stand in a mosque and state this. Christians worship Jesus as God incarnate. Do Muslims believe this?

    Muslims, Christians, and Jews can work together, as we can find a lot we agree on. My muslim friends and I respect each others religion and agree to disagree.

  • Believers in all religions worship, by whatever name, the one & only GOD who created the Universe and all within it.

    Jews, Muslims and many Christians do not worship Jesus as God incarnate. The debate among Christians occurred during the meeting of Councils 325 – 451 A.D. The two sides were designated as Eastern & Western churches. Some Christians see the Trinity as worshiping 3 gods.

    After study with Jewish & Christian scholars, Muhammad took the message to his tribes. Ancient Aramaic texts (which Jesus spoke) spell God as “Elah” (short E) which sounds like Allah, the spelling Muslims use. Even Pope Francis said, “we worship the same God.”

    Any believer of any faith who thinks the “other” worships a false god, needs to do extensive study of the history of the world’s religions. There one can find peace in understanding. 80 years, much of it spent in religious education, has led me to say I am a Christian who tries to follow in Jesus footsteps and love my…

  • The shear ignorance.

    “Jews, Muslims and many Christians do not worship Jesus as God incarnate.”

    This is the heart of the problem, the lack of understanding yet good at blabbing.

    Jews as in the Jewish faith do not worship Christ, Muslim as we know do not worship Christ either (they in my view worship muhammad but don’t seem to realize that) And one cannot be called a christian and not worship Christ, so don’t use the term. A Christian is a CHRIST follower.

    Jesus was a Jew, Christians follow the message of the Jew Jesus, muslim are a confused bunch who have no business in the conversation. And should be isolated. They bring nothing of value to the Jews or the Christians.

  • When your learning and experience are only within one religion, your education is incomplete and your understanding skewed. Junebug is correct, as is this professor. For those who have this narrow stream of knowledge, who see insult and heretics everywhere and are misguided into thinking they are discriminated against, you have multiple opportunities to expand your knowledge and understanding. When you pipe up in conversations like this you sound like children with just the most rudimentary understanding. You are historically, theologically, factually incorrect, as we’re those at Wheaton college who were outraged rather than enlightened. You can’t learn of your mind is closed, especially if you’ve been taught that hearing anything that wasn’t from your single source (whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish or other religious source) is blasphemous. This is the outcome of being indoctrinated from birth then never having exposure to different ideas/people and not having a curious mind.

  • Junebug writes, “The debate among Christians occurred during the meeting of Councils 325 – 451 A.D. ”

    Since people don’t live to be 126 years old, this is clearly a somewhat truncated statement of the situation. Debate among Christians over the threeness kerfuffle continues to this day. People are no longer burned at the stake over the question; these days we tend to use high explosives dropped from airplanes, or machine guns when we want to get personal.


  • ISLAM – Essential Facts to Know—Truth cannot be an “insult” nor a “phobia”….just irrefutable.
    by copyright c Samuel A. Nigro, M.D. January, 2011+January 2015

    (Not wanting to offend, Mein Kampf and The Communist Manifesto were not vigorously explained and condemned enough to the people because “most Germans and the Soviets were not that way, would take offense, and would quit being nice.” Right?)

    1. Islam is not a religion of the one true God. Without TRANSCENDENTAL LOVE, Islam is a POLITICAL SYSTEM masquerading as a religion…There is no possible “separation of church and state” because the Koran and the Sharia makes them identical for Islam. In this way, Islam is unconstitutional in America. Islam is pure primitive savagery and hardens the heart. Civilized cultures must offer Christianity at some minimum level or the culture is a disaster.
    2. Muslims operationally adore the pagan moon god of POWER—“Al lah”—unidentifiable with the LOVING…

  • I’m very disappointed in this story about Larycia Hawkins.

    Your headline and your story will only serve to feed the minds of ignorant and bigoted people who don’t care about the facts.

    They won’t care that the Abd el-Kader Visiting Fellow has nothing to do with propagating Islam.

    They won’t care that Dr. Hawkins is a devout Christian. Thanks to your headline and the details of your article, they’ll continue to ignorantly believe that she is actually a Muslim in disguise.

    They won’t care that the University of Virginia was founded by Thomas Jefferson, because you chose to ignore that and focus on a Muslim-sounding name.

    This article is an embarrassment to any organization that cares about fair and balanced journalism. I’ve very disappointed in RNS.

  • FYI, muslims do not worship Muhammad. They worship Allah, the same and only God that Jesus worshipped.

  • Junebug you are patently wrong. The Jesus of the Bible claimed that He is the way, the truth and the life and that no man comes to the Father except by Him. In John 1:1-14 We see that He is the Creator of all. His is God. To worship any other god, that is not triune is to worship an idol, or false god. To say that there are Christians that don’t worship Jesus as God is demonstrating how little you know about Christianity. If they don’t have the Son, they are not Christian, period.

  • This is so funny!

    Islam is a political system masquerading as a religion.

    Christianity used to be such, until disgust with priestly abuse and secularism finally began disestablishment. And for a great many so-called Christians, they want it to be again. Ted Cruz, people who claim this is a Chrisitan nation founded on Christianity, the Huckster, The Mormon church…

    Christianity, as practiced by people who claim that islam is pure primitive savagery, definitely hardens the heart.

    Thank god I’m an atheist.,

  • “To worship any other god, that is not triune is to worship an idol, or false god.” So you agree, SnydersSoapbox, that Jews worship a false god. But somehow we only hear that Muslims do so.
    Junebug didn’t say that there are Christians that don’t worship Jesus as God, she said there are Christians that don’t believe in the orthodox formulation of the Incarnation. You might not consider Mormons or Oneness Pentecostals to be Christians, but from an outsider objective definition it’s hard to call them otherwise.

  • We recently hosted Dr. Hawkins for a public conversation about the question of “The Same God?” We also invited Ahmed Rehab, executive director of Chicago CAIR, to the conversation. We talked for nearly two hours, and a good portion of that was spent exploring thebpoints where Christans and Muslims *disagree.* You can watch the entire conversation for yourself here:
    The topics, with time codes, are in the video description. I hope that critics will engage what Dr. Hawkins actually says, instead of reacting to soundbites. Respectfully,
    David Dault, PhD
    Executive Director
    Chicago Sunday Evening Club (co-sponsor of the event)

  • Jesus Christ was quite clear about the “many paths to God concept”. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6) We need to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Turn away from sin and false teachings, and abide in Him through the power of His Holy Spirit. God Bless

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