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‘Europe’s Muslims,’ ‘Musicianship,’ ‘Christians and Jews,’ ‘Jim Cotter remembered,’ ‘No wonder’
Professor Jonathan Laurence did an exceptional job in analyzing demographic and integration issues pertaining to Muslims in Europe within the next 20 years (“In the Year 2030,” Summer 2010). As an international human rights lawyer who has worked extensively with European governments and non-governmental organizations dealing with Muslim integration issues, it was quite heartening to see that he did not paint Islam or Muslims as a monolithic entity within Europe—either now or in the year 2030.
Just as we American Muslims are culturally distinct and have faced many integration struggles living in post-9/11 America, European Muslims have faced integration struggles in the aftermath of watershed events such as the Madrid train attacks in 2004, the London Underground bombings in 2005, and even the 2005 Danish cartoon controversy. As right-wing politicians have stoked anti-Muslim fears in the United States, we have seen the rise of ultra-nationalist (and anti-immigrant) right-wing parties across Europe calling for the banning of Muslim women’s headscarves and—in “neutral” Switzerland last November—the banning of mosque minarets.
Although the Swiss government was officially “against” the proposed referendum to ban minarets within its borders, many political observers noted that this referendum—the work of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party—was welcomed by leaders of other radical right-wing groups in Europe, including Heinz-Christian Strache of the Austrian Freedom Party and Marine Le Pen, vice president of France’s National Front.
Yet, future generations of European Muslims will call France, Germany, Holland, Italy, and all the other members of the European Union their home. Like their Christian, Jewish, and secular neighbors, they will have to endure the growing pains of integration before they are fully accepted as both proudly European and proudly Muslim in the year 2030 and beyond.
Boston College’s director of bands Sebastian Bonaiuto and his team are to be commended for the Mary Lou Williams Centennial Concert on May 9 (“Upbeat,” by Jane Whitehead, Summer 2010).
I grew up singing and playing trombone in school and with my father in weekend dance bands in Minnesota. At Boston College, I was an English and music double-major active in theater. Although the music department was fairly new then, I was attracted to the caliber of faculty and the individual attention given to students. The BC Bands program had already begun its steady growth, and I was happy to discover a very high level of musicianship, commitment, and camaraderie in BC bOp!
Having been back to campus many times over the years, I have seen how bOp! has grown in sophistication and adventurous programming. For the students involved, it’s not an extracurricular club—it’s a serious (and enjoyable) undertaking that’s a key component of their academic experience and growth as young adults. There are few things more demanding and collaborative than playing music in an ensemble.
Although I play only infrequently now, I’ve pursued a career as a composer, orchestrator, conductor, and producer in music and theater in New York City. My musical experience at BC was the strong foundation of everything I’ve done since.
Sean Patrick Flahaven ’95
New York, New York
Christians and Jews
As someone with Catholic and Jewish family members on both sides, I found Bishop Richard J. Sklba’s article “Know Each Other” (Summer 2010) very refreshing—and his emphasis on healthy argumentation reassuring. Sklba’s thoughtful approach allows the traditions to get to “know each other” better while remaining true to their identities. His assessment of Jewish-Christian relations since Vatican II offers a fresh challenge for, as he calls it, “interreligious maturity.” A hallmark of this maturity, he notes, will be when partners in dialogue are careful not to misunderstand one another. Bishop Sklba brilliantly outlines the subtleties and developments of the last 40 years of Jewish-Christian relations.
Jenni Login ’07, MA’08
Whiting, New Jersey
Christians and Jews have profound differences, among which are beliefs that form the core of individual identity. To be able to talk, we need to grow beyond the limitations that these differences impose, without losing ourselves as we change.
Only then can we engage in building a better world through effective encounters at the table of conciliation. I commend Bishop Sklba for his labor and am humbled by his courage to carry it on.
Carlos A Jaramillo IV ’05
Bishop Richard Sklba’s exhortation to “know each other” reminds us that the religious other is not a category, or a group, but a person. Interreligious dialogue is one place where Church teachings about the dignity of the person are put into practice. Indeed, understanding and appreciating the religious traditions of others is essential to respecting their dignity.
Joseph Mudd, Ph.D.’10
The writer is an instructor in religious studies at Gonzaga University.
Jim Cotter remembered
Re “Scalawag Days,” by Jim Cotter ’59 with Paul Kenney (Summer 2010): It was the summer of 1957—and my first football practice at Boston College. I was a 17-year-old freshman from Huntington, New York, and very nervous. After warm-ups led by Coach St. Pierre, whom the veterans called Zeus because of his physique and demeanor, Coach Holovak had us break off in groups for our first contact. No one spoke to or acknowledged me. I was a bit intimidated. The player in front of me, with whom I was to compete for the starting end position, turned to me and said, “Hi, I’m Jim Cotter. You’ll like it here.” Immediately, I felt comfortable and part of BC football. I’ll never forget Jim’s kindness.
Larry Eisenhauer ’61
The writer played defensive end for the Boston Patriots from 1961 to 1969.
In the summer before my senior year at Boston College High School, I decided my last hope of earning a varsity letter was football. As a sophomore, I was on course in hockey but broke my ankle. As a junior, I’d tried out for baseball but was cut.
I knew Coach Cotter because I had been the sports editor of the student newspaper, the Eaglet. When I told him I wanted to try out for football at five feet nine inches, 145 pounds, he was painfully honest. If it came down to an underclassman and me, he said, he would have to go with the future. And he did pick a sophomore, cutting me on the last day.
That afternoon the sophomore broke his leg in a scrimmage. Coach Cotter immediately gave me the spot. There were other sophomores from whom to choose, but he kept his word when it came down to just the two of us.
This was the beginning of a lifelong friendship.
Jim Scannell ’69, MA ’80
Honeoye Falls, New York
The writer was director of admissions at Boston College from 1974 to 1980.
I guess you could say I knew Jim Cotter in many different ways. I met him in the summer of 1957—we worked together on the construction crew for the company that was building Alumni Stadium. In September of the same year we played in the first game there against a great Navy team. Many years later, in 1993, Jim helped me get the job as athletic director at BC High. He was always a great friend and consummate teammate. One would be hard pressed to find a better person than Jim Cotter.
Jim O’Brien ’60, P’88
As Jim Cotter’s body relentlessly betrayed him in the last four years, his humanity, which was always there, seemed to grow larger. You can say that ALS is a cruel disease, and it is. But it allowed Jim to experience the love and compassion that so many of us had for him, and us to thank him for what he had given us each. How many people ever get to experience that? This was God’s final gift to Jim on earth.
I waited in line for hours to pay my respects at the wake of Jim Cotter, my football teammate at Boston College High School and Boston College and my lifelong friend. Waiting with me were high school and college students, parents of students, politicians, clergymen, teachers, classmates, and friends. We numbered well over a thousand. Forty BC High football captains were in the funeral possession the next day. I have never been to a wake or funeral like this before, where one man in his lifetime won the respect and admiration of an entire community. Along with his strong character and faith, Jim used his teaching, coaching, and counseling skills to help all of us become better human beings. May he rest in peace.
Frank Furey ’56
Thomas Groome makes a telling point about the difference between the old and new liturgies, in “Recycling” (Spring 2010). In the old rite, he says, the priest faces “an imposing altar, whispering in Latin.” Now, the priest “greets congregants across a table with a cheery ‘good morning’ and an invitation to worship together.”
With mystery and reverence expunged, how can we be surprised that the number of us who believe in the Real Presence has plummeted over the last 50 years and that Mass attendance has suffered significantly?
Tom Lloyd, Ph.D.’96
Front Royal, Virginia
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