January 16, 2008
WASHINGTON (AP) - A former Michigan congressman has been indicted as part of a terrorist fundraising ring that allegedly sent more than $130,000 to an al-Qaida and Taliban supporter.
Mark Siljander has been charged with money laundering, conspiracy and obstructing justice.
He's accused of lying about lobbying senators on behalf of an Islamic charity that authorities say was secretly sending money to terrorists.
The 42-count indictment unsealed in a federal court in Kansas City, Missouri, accuses the Islamic American Relief Agency of paying Siljander with $50,000 of stolen money for the lobbying.
Siljander is a Republican from southwestern Michigan who served two terms in the House during the 1980s. Fred Upton defeated him in the 1986 primary.
Original Headline "Former Mich. congressman charged in terror fundraising ring"
Mark D. Siljander, Ph.D.
Interfaith Prayer Breakfast
Member of Congress (ret)
Mark Siljander will be speaking about the "Common Ground Between Faiths" at the Interfaith Prayer Breakfast. Mr. Siljander represented Michigan for 15 years from the "Heartland of America" and paradoxically, the home of one of the largest Arab populations outside the Middle East. His public service included three terms as a Member of the United States Congress, where he served on the International Relations Middle East Subcommittee and was Ranking Member of the Africa Subcommittee. He was the primary sponsor of the African Famine Relief Act and was later appointed by President Reagan as a US Ambassador (Alt. Delegate) to the United Nations in New York, where he served as a member of the Middle East and Africa Strategy Group of permanent representatives.
Ambassador Siljander is uniquely qualified to engage the Muslim world. With over 24 years serving in the power circles of Washington and semi-official travel to nearly 130 countries, he has generated unique opportunities for frequent access to world leaders. These experiences have led him to develop a unique paradigm for the peaceful resolution of conflict that has been successfully applied in several challenging areas of the globe. These methods are outlined in his soon-to-be-released book on building bridges to the Islamic world and strategies to thwart the growing threat of terrorism.
Congressman Siljander has received acclaim for his work in reconciliation. He received various leadership awards, including the 1996 Mohandas K. Gandhi International Peace Award, in recognition of his courageous statesmanship in international reconciliation. In addition, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright honored Ambassador Siljander, at the United Nations, for his efforts toward a more just, humane and peaceful world. American and international Muslim leaders have lauded Siljander for his compassion and understanding of their culture and distinctive approach to bridge-building techniques.
HOW MARK SIJANDER LOST HIS CONGRESSIONAL SEAT
[FROM: Frederick S. Upton (R), Incumbent Profile/USA Today]
Fred Upton won a seat in the House in 1986 after defeating incumbent Republican Rep. Mark Siljander in the primary.
Siljander had attracted controversy with his strong religious convictions _ he issued a tape recording that asked local fundamentalists to help "break the back of Satan" by praying and fasting for his re-election. Upton's upset of Siljander embittered Siljander's fellow conservatives in the House, with Rep. Robert Dornan, R-Calif., accusing Upton of running a "slimy, lying campaign."
Upton, the wealthy grandson of Whirlpool Corp.'s founder, prided himself as an individual thinker who doesn't necessarily vote the party line. In January 1993, he quit the post of minority deputy whip, which he held since 1989, because he had voted against a handful of positions pushed by President Bush and the GOP congressional leadership.
Upton joined a host of other Republicans in Congress in supporting the North American Free Trade Agreement, a measure that was vehemently opposed by organized labor. With Upton's long-awaited decision _ the final one among Michigan lawmakers _ the trade pact with Canada and Mexico split the state's delegation along party lines.