Dec 20, 2006

On School Zones and Toledo's Muslim Community

(Toledo, OH) I pass the Toledo Islamic Academy on Secor Road at least a dozen times per week during one of the restricted time periods in which flashing yellow lights inform motorists of the 20 MPH speed limit.

Invariably, I see many motorists ignore these particular traffic signals, zipping merrily along at 45 MPH or more.

By comparison, I do not see the same number of scofflaws at other nearby school zones, such as Trilby School on Secor Road. I have arrived at the conclusion that at least some of these speeding motorists consciously disregard the speed laws because they have problems with either the school or with Muslims in general.

I would love to pontificate about how much I love all children - and put their welfare above my own need to get to work on time - but I have to admit my first thought is the expensive tickets associated with speeding in a school zone.

Still, I do not differentiate between public or parochial schools or, for that matter, between Christian, Muslim, or Jewish schools. I drive 20 in all of these zones to keep from getting nailed with a pricey citation.

My suggestion to the city of Toledo is to set up some targeted speed enforcement in the vicinity of the Toledo Islamic Academy, as there appears to be quite a bit of untapped revenue in the form of inconsiderate motorists who seem to feel that speed zones near Islamic schools are less important than those by other Toledo schools.


Mark said...

First of all, I don't think that there is anything wrong with going 20 through school zones because your first thought is "I don't want to get nailed with a ticket." That's okay. The local government thought of the children's welfare, so they imposed the speed limit. Their welfare has already been considered so that you need only consider your own wallet when going through school zones.

Second, if your assumption might be correct, that people ignore the speed limit in front of the Islamic Academy because of its religious affiliation (which I hope isn't true), police enforcement is unlikely to be coming, because we all know how positive police-minority relationships tend to be.

But here's hoping that it is. And here's hoping that any kind of police enforcement is coming out where I live (but I'm realistic).

Stephanie said...

Your schools get flashing lights?!? My schools don't get any flashing lights. Maybe a crossing guard if they're lucky, but no lights.

As for the reason people are speeding... It's hard to be sure. It's a sad thing to assume it's prejudice. It may simply be that this school is located on more of a thorough-fare than the other schools you pass. There's some streets that are still designated 25 mph here in Janesville, that have grown up into big travel areas without the city responding to the change. It might be something like that, especially if you and a whole bunch of other people pass the school on a regular basis.

That being said, it's no excuse for speeding through a school zone, whether it's the ticket or the kids you're worried about. (Hitting a kid would actually cost you more in the long run than a ticket, just so you know.)

But, I agree with the not-my Mark...if it is prejudice, the cops are not likely to do anything about it. But, the school may want to hire a crossing guard out of their own pocket, which may reduce the speeding problem.

Maggie Thurber said...

Mike - I'd hate to think people are speeding because of the religious sponsor of the school.

I think it has more to do with the fact that the building is an old office building and doesn't look like a school. If you're not familiar with the school, it's difficult to spot it when driving normally down the street.

Michael said...

I'd echo Maggie's point about the Islamic Academy not looking too much like a school. Maybe it's an education issue -- as in educating the driving public that it *is* a school with young children and we should be careful driving past it.

If anyone does drive by there at higher than legal speeds because it is a Muslim school -- disregarding the welfare of the children there -- then they are no or barely better than the Muslim extremists who hurt and kill innocent people for their cause.


microdot said...

I don't think talking about Muslim extremists is even in the least bit relevant to this post.
In the last few days and weeks, we've had to endure Conservative "pundit" Debbie Schlusser questioning Barack Obama's right to hold public office because his father was a Muslim and he stated in his book that he was interested in his Kenyan heritage. That was Dec. 18th, then this morning there was the letter by Virginia Republican Congressman, Virgil Goode, distributed to his constituents stating that Muslims were not fit to hold office in the United States.
Obviously, he was referring to Representative Ellison, the newly elected Muslim Democratic Congressman from Illinois. Ellison was recently attacked by Dennis Praeger as subverting American values because he purports to want to swear his oath of office on a Koran.
Not that I am in the least way insinuating that Michaels comments above had any intention of slanting the discussion in this direction, but I'd like to point out how easy it is to fall into the trap of generalizations and failing to see individuals instead of a stereotype.
Xenophobic fear is a tool being used to manipulate us.

Stephanie said...


1) Keith Ellison is from Minnesota, not Illinois.

2) Associating Muslims with terrorists and the wars we're fighting would be the most likely reason for the inclination of people to willfully speed past an Islamic school full of children, which Historymike brought up and thus is relevant to the discussion.

3) Since there are those who are xenophobic, with or without outside urging, and they're already thinking Islamic school = terrorist training; Michael's tactic to turn those thoughts in the other direction, i.e. risk lives of children = terrorist, is a reasonable tactic to use to get people to think outside their little mental box.

It is easy for people to fall into stereotyped mindsets. For those people who do it, stereotyping is the natural state of their minds. In order to change that, such minds need to be confronted and educated. If the people involved are reasonable, little concessions can be made that can, in time, make big changes in their behavior. Letting these people know that they're not so far from what they hate is a legitimate way to educate people.

Besides, people who willfully risk mowing down children coming out of school with their speeding vehicle are not so very different from people who willfully mow down children with machine guns as they scurry for presents from our soldiers. The difference is merely in a manner of extremes. Yes, the images this language provokes is's supposed to be. The more we fight these wars from hate and prejudice, the more like them we become; and even if we win the war, we still lose...and lose more than we bargained for.

Historymike is against this war (Iraq), and I respect his decisions and his opinions. I'm not. I believe both wars can and should be fought, and fought respectful of the actions we're taking; just not necessarily for the reasons (or lack thereof) given. However, as much as I want us to win the War on Terror, like we won the Cold War (i.e. long fight, re-thinking tactics, and with the use of actual strategy), it's not because of hate.

The people of Afghanistan and Iraq have lived lives of oppression and terror, we have the chance to change that. We have the chance to give them the chance to change that. We have the chance to ensure that Islamic children do not have to be in America or Europe to be able to choose freedom. Maybe they're not ready. Maybe, whatever we do, we'll fail. I acknowledge that possibility. But, imo, we don't know that yet, because the boys on the top of the hill haven't done what's necessary to give them that chance. Our soldiers are doing they're jobs, but they're not being given the right jobs to do. And that's sad, really sad.

To give the people of Afghanistan and Iraq that chance, we need to give them room to breathe over there, room to be at peace, room to cast off their would-be new oppressors, and we need to fight prejudice over here so that we can truly claim to be friends to the Islamic people who want peace, instead of the hard-fisted war-mongers some would like us to be. Right now prejudice against Muslims is pretty normal, almost acceptable, and with that being the status quo even if we defeat every terrorist over there, we will still have lost.

Instead of picking nits about which means of fighting this prejudice are acceptable and savory, we should each fight this prejudice in our own way to show that it's not just X-people who say this, but Y & Z people too. And A,B,C,ect. people too. There's no one way to do it. There's no one type of prejudiced person either. Some people need well-reasoned arguments to overcome prejudice, some need flowery rhetoric that gives them warm & fuzzy feelings, and some need it shoved in their faces so they can smell how much it stinks. And most need a little bit of all of it to be finally won over. And, sadly, some never will understand/believe/agree.

microdot said...

Stephanie, there are so many ponts in your post with which I agree. I was wrong about Ellison's home State...oops.
I do think the "War On Terror" is something much more vague than the Cold War ever was. It's not a "War" that could be ever won with the use of armed forces.
I do believe that the phrase "War on Terror" is a marketing tool to hide a much bigger agenda.
This agenda has been stated as part of the NeoCon philosophy...I think that in reality, with the Israeli Invasion of Lebanon last summer, the Neo Con tactics and ideas have begun to be totally discredited.
Unfortunately for America, we are left with a population traumatized into accepting hate as a normal feeling. As much as you'd like to see us rise above the reality of this hate, it is fueled and fed daily by those whose power base relies on it's existance.
I have no problem with Muslims being citizens of the USA and I would expect them to aspire to public office and want to participate in this society in a positve manner.
That is the right and duty of us all.

Dariush said...

Despite the fact that the American people have been the target of a concerted propaganda campaign, since well before 9/11, designed to instill a virulent and vicious xenophobia, I find it difficult... okay impossible to believe that very many, if any, people would actively seek to run down children who are attending a Muslim school.

It's important for people to remember that the net is not representative of the real world. And that while the presence of such xenophobes is nearly ubiquitous in the blogosphere (even outside the self-contained universe of PJ Media/Jawa Report/Frontpagemag/LGF/JihadWatch etc.) in the real world they are on the outs politically. Fully two-thirds of the American public rejects them and their politics, as we have seen not just in the elctions, but in poll after poll after poll.

Stephanie said...


"I do believe that the phrase "War on Terror" is a marketing tool to hide a much bigger agenda."

I certainly agree with you there, but that doesn't mean that there's no core of truth to it. The Cold War was a marketing tool to further agendas as well, but the underlying effectiveness of it was real eventually. I don't think anyone has really figured out what the "War on Terror" is or what it should consist of to be effective. However, the citizenry has the ability to shape that in the long run.

We went into Afghanistan with a very specific get OBL. As far as the American citizenry knows, we failed in that goal. Whether that's true or not, we don't know for certain. Perhaps we never will. We also took down the Taliban. Vengeance turned to freedom, turned to in-house violence. Warlords trying to wrench power granted to the people, some succeeding some failing. Should we leave it like that? If so, the War on Terror becomes the War for Terror.

We went into Iraq with a specific get Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction. While we got Saddam, the weapons never materialized. Again, they may have existed, and thus are still a threat, or they may never have existed at all. We don't know with any certainty. We may never know. Which is more humiliating: letting the people believe they never existed and it was all a lie, or letting the people know that they did exist and we let them get carried away? I don't know which Bush would choose had he such a choice to make. However, I do know that because of poor strategy on the part of the people in charge (not the soldiers themselves), Iraq is now a bed of terror activities. Good Iraqi citizens are fleeing their country to avoid being murdered by the terrorists who've taken over the streets. Should we leave it like that? If so, the War on Terror becomes the War of Terror.

Whether or not you'd be happy to have this as Bush's legacy...whether or not the Democrats would be happy to have this as Bush's legacy...I don't want it to be America's legacy.

Bush f***ed up. Let's admit it, as a nation, and move on. So, our President messed up. This isn't a first. It won't be a last. That doesn't mean we can't fix it. We can't give the people their lives back. But, we can give the people left a decent place to live.

Our soldiers are dying. The war is costly. The two are tied together, and it's not about the enemy from without. You're right, there are agendas at play here. Costly idiot contracts are turning out shoddy equipment, or equipment that never materializes. The troops are not getting our best. They cannot do their best. We can fix that. Give them the equipment, the supplies, and the missions to do their jobs. They'll win the war, but they've got to have the resources and the right objectives. We can give them that.

If the American people can end a war in failure, as it did with Vietnam, it can win two wars with success by supporting the troops. We may still be ashamed of Bush when it's over, nobody can fix that but Bush; but we won't have to be ashamed of ourselves.

microdot said...

Stephanie, I like what you say, but unfortunately this real world we live in is too screwed up to do anything more than grin, shake it's head in agreement and then go back to the Same Old Shit.
I supported Democrats over Republicans in the last election, but I think most of them are yahoos and open to corruption as well and won't do their job unless we hold them to account every day they are in office!
We are having some guests over for dinner, I made dessert and I have to take a bath and change now!
Merry Christmas, my best wishes for a saner new year and the hope that we can make our selves understood by better blogging!

Hooda Thunkit said...

I'm inclined to agree with Maggie, that the former use still overshadows its present use.

Too bad that the transportation people can't put up different, more eye-catching signage in such reuse cases, to draw more attention to the changed usage. . .

If someone, say on the 22nd floor had a clue, maybe. . .