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The day before Moharam's visit to the federal building, a routine traffic stop (he was pulled over for speeding) turned into a five-police-car nightmare. The officer who ran Moharam driver's license saw that the speeder was on a terror watch list and called for backup.
This wasn't news to Moharam. For two decades, he has been given the once-, twice-, thrice-over, everywhere he goes. "I have a problem with Oak Grove cop, I have problem with Grain Valley cop, I have a problem with Independence cop, I have a problem with Blue Springs cop," he says. "I've been treated like this for 19 years."
But the FBI isn't allowed to confirm who is on a terror watch list, which means there's no easy way for Moharam to deny it, either. He went to Bolling hoping to hear why his name was still flagged and what he had to do to clean it up. He didn't expect the visit to end with a bomb robot wheeling up to his car in a show for news choppers.
Sitting in his living room, he hears his phone ring. It's his wife, Debra Hurlburt, checking on him, just as he said she would.
"Hi, sweetheart," he says. The phone's volume is turned up — Moharam's hearing is bad — and her half of the conversation spills into the room. "Honey, you aren't telling him things you shouldn't be telling him, are you?" she asks him, referring to the reporter in their home. "No, I just tell him the basic things," Moharam replies. He puts her on speaker phone.
"The FBI needs to make it right," Hurlburt says. "They need to make a public announcement, a public apology. They need to do more than that. They screwed up your reputation. There are all kinds of people out there who would try to believe that rather than the truth. Everybody's calling us and wondering, 'Aren't you a little scared? Aren't you a little afraid?' "
After Moharam's latest misadventure, reporters staked out his house and asked his neighbors whether they worried that their neighbor was a terrorist. The "propaganda," as Moharam calls it, has crippled his already struggling cleaning business, Xtreme Clean, since the bomb scare. He says he owes $54,000 in back child support, and he demonstrates the depths of his troubles by pulling out two payroll checks to himself that would bounce if he tried to cash them.
He says he just wants the harassment to end and to have his name back — to be known as the Moharam his friends know.
"Ask anybody," he says. "Print in the paper, say, 'If anybody have a bad thing to say about Wahed, call this number.' I guarantee you, nobody will call." He wipes away another tear, then smiles. "Well, except my exes. But that's why the world calls them exes."