Hijab-wearing professor Larycia Hawkins backed by Wheaton colleagues

Hawkins has been associate professor of Wheaton College in suburban Chicago for seven years.Facebook / Larycia Alaine Hawkins

The Wheaton College professor facing termination for alleged theological unorthodoxy has won the backing of the college's faculty council in her fight to stay.

Larycia Hawkins came under fire for a Facebook post saying that she was going to wear a hijab as a sign of solidarity with Muslims facing discrimination and abuse in the US and that Muslims and Christians "worship the same God".

She faced a firestorm of criticism from conservatives who thought she was advocating a form of religious syncretism and the college moved to terminate her employment.

However, Wheaton's influential faculty council, made up of elected teachers at the college, has unanimously recommended that the administration drop the proceedings, citing "grave concerns" about the process.

According to an email seen by RNS, the council asked the administration for clarification on questions including:

"Does the college have a position on what can be said regarding the question: 'Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?'"

"What is the process for determining acceptable interpretations of the college's statement of faith?"

"Do faculty have a role in this process?" and

"How will faculty know if their views and/or statements are in danger of being judged unacceptable?"

The college said in response to the faculty statement that its recommendation was "within the guidelines for the Faculty Council provided by the Faculty Handbook". However, it said that the administration was following the "established process" and that the college president, Philip Ryken, would make a recommendation to the board of trustees after a hearing of the Faculty Personnel Committee.

The college has been widely criticised over its treatment of Hawkins, who has repeatedly affirmed her adherence to its statement of faith.