Clark appealed to group suspected of terror link
By JAMES GORDON MEEK
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON - Retired Gen. Wesley Clark sought the political support of a Muslim group that is under FBI investigation for terror ties, sources told the Daily News.
The Democratic presidential candidate's videotaped message was played Dec. 27 in Chicago for the annual conference of the Muslim American Society and the Islamic Circle of North America - a Queens group being probed by the FBI counterterrorism agents, said two federal law enforcement officials.
Both groups have held conferences featuring speakers accused of terror ties and have published material supporting suicide bombings against Israel.
Clark campaign spokesman Matt Bennett said yesterday they were unaware of the allegations or the FBI probe.
"I wish I could be there with you in person," Clark said in his four-minute video. "I hope I will have your support in the months and years ahead." An audiotape of the Clark speech was provided by terrorism investigator Steven Emerson and first aired on MSNBC.
Two past conference speakers face terror-related indictments and a third is identified in FBI reports as a Hamas terror leader. In March 2002, American Muslim magazine - described as "the voice of [the Muslim American Society]" - interviewed assassinated Hamas leader Abu Bakr's wife, who said she was "willing to give my life and the lives of my children" and advocated "standing beside the families of the martyrs."
Another article explained that "martyr operations are not suicide."
Islamic Circle President Talat Sultan and Muslim American Society spokesman Raeed Tayeh denied their groups have terror ties.
Originally published on January 30, 2004