(Toledo, OH) I helped my daughter buy a car today from a business on Monroe Street called RAM Auto. Nick and Jay at RAM are hardworking businessmen who provide quality used cars for their customers (no, this is not a paid plug).
They happened to rent their building from someone involved in the so-called Toledo terror plot several years before Mohammad Zaki Amawi, Marwan Othman El-Hindi, and Wassim I. Mazloum were arrested on terrorism charges.
"We have nothing to do with any of that," said Nick as he filled out some title papers for me. "But the media looked us up on the Internet, saw we rented from them, and were harassing us for weeks."
Both men were reluctant to talk about the experience, saying that they just want to look forward. Nick, though, said that business was "terrible" for months after the arrests.
"They showed our business on television. Who would want to buy a car from a 'terrorist'?" he asked rhetorically, declining to quantify his losses. "We put up signs in the window saying we were not involved, but it was a long time before business picked back up again."
Things have improved in the past few months as the memory faded, said Nick.
"Thank God - we were able to survive this," he said, pausing to answer a ringing telephone.
Guilt by association is tough to defeat, especially given the fact that Nick and Jay have Middle Eastern accents. In this day and age, just looking or sounding diferent is enough to arouse suspicion.
By the way - the car runs well, so I give a hearty recommendation to RAM Auto. Maybe if Toledoans keep RAM Auto in mind when they are making a used car purchase, we can make up for the losses Nick and Jay incurred during our terror mania last year.