The University of Virginia has reportedly created a fellowship named after a prominent Muslim leader. The university’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture announced the creation of the Abd el-Kader Visiting Faculty Fellow, named after a 19th century Muslim Algerian leader.
The fellowship was reportedly awarded to Larycia Hawkins, a professor who previously left Wheaton College after controversially claiming that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, reports Religion News Service.
“Professor Hawkins brings keen insights into the intersections of religion and race and will greatly enrich our scholarship in this area. We’re fortunate to have the opportunity to welcome her here,” said James Davidson Hunter, executive director of the institute.
Hawkins reportedly praised the new initiative by the University of Virginia aimed at fostering inter-religious dialogue.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue my scholarship and research at the University of Virginia and to remain engaged in issues of importance and relevance. I can’t think of a better fit for important discourse and work than the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins was reportedly at the center of controversy at Wheaton College, a Christian university in Illinois, after she posted her belief that Christians and Muslims worship the same God on social media and wore a hijab to allegedly combat prejudice against Muslims, reports WMAQ.
Wheaton College suspended Hawkins following the incidents, and stated that her views incited the suspension, rather than her headscarf. The Christian university alleged that her statements “seem inconsistent with Wheaton College’s doctrinal convictions, which she voluntarily agreed to support and uphold when she entered into an employment agreement with the college.”
In February, the evangelical private college announced that it had reached a “confidential agreement” with Hawkins for her to leave. She had taught at the university since 2007.