Former Congressman from Michigan, Mark Siljander, has finally been caught in the net the Department of Justice spread in 2004 when it closed down The Islamic American Relief Agency. Other defendants began to be formally charged almost a year ago. In March 2007, the Department of Justice issued a press release:
The U.S. branch of an international Islamic charity and five of its officers, employees or associates have been indicted for illegally transferring funds to Iraq, laundering money, stealing federal funds, and obstructing tax laws by, among other things, falsely denying that a procurement agent of Osama bin Laden had been an employee of the charity, Assistant Attorney General for National Security Kenneth L. Wainstein, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri Bradley J. Schlozman, and Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division Joseph Billy announced today.
The charity named in the 33-count indictment is the Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA), formerly known as the Islamic African Relief Agency-USA. IARA is an Islamic charitable organization headquartered in Columbia, Mo., that was officially formed in 1985 and closed in October 2004, when it was identified by the U.S. Treasury Department as a specially designated global terrorist organization.
Now comes word that the ex-Congressman was part of the terrorist fund-raising, may he rot in hell. Here are the choice specimens he worked with:
Also charged in the indictment are Mubarak Hamed, 50, of Columbia, Mo., a naturalized U.S. citizen from Sudan who served as executive director of IARA; Ali Mohamed Bagegni, 53, formerly of Columbia, Mo. and currently of Iowa City, Iowa, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Libya and a former member of IARA’s board of directors; Ahmad Mustafa, 54, of Columbia, Mo., a citizen of Iraq and a former fund-raiser for IARA; Khalid Al-Sudanee, 55, a citizen and resident of Jordan and the regional director of the Middle East office of the Islamic African Relief Agency (also known as the Islamic Relief Agency, or ISRA); and Abdel Azim El-Siddiq, 50, of Palos Heights, Ill., a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Sudan and formerly vice president for international operations for IARA.
“Today’s indictment paints an alarming picture of theft, money laundering, and fraud by the U.S. branch of an international charitable organization. These charges demonstrate our resolve to thoroughly investigate and prosecute any charities that abuse their tax-exempt status to engage in wide-ranging criminal activity,” said Assistant Attorney General Wainstein.
That was last year. NowThe Detroit Free Press has the next chapter:
A former Republican congressman from west Michigan was indicted today on federal charges of money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice in a scheme to assist a U.S.-based Islamic charity organization funnel money to Al Qaeda and Taliban-linked terrorists in Pakistan.
Mark Siljander, 56, also a former state legislator from St. Joseph County, was hired by the Islamic American Relief Agency in 2004 to assist in having the group removed from a U.S. Senate list of terrorist-linked charities, according to a statement released by the Department of Justice, then helping the group launder stolen federal funds with which to pay for his services.
Obviously Siljander was a slime ball before the IARA recruited him:
Siljander served five years in Congress beginning in 1981 when he was elected to replace David Stockman, who had been hired as President Ronald Reagan’s budget chief. He was defeated in a re-election bid in 1986 by U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Kalamazoo, following a well-publicized incident in which Siljander sent an audio tape to church pastors in the district urging them to fast and pray for his re-election to “break the back of Satan.” Today’s indictment describes Siljander as the owner of a company called Global Strategies Inc., based in the Washington D.C., area.
Searching for his company, Global Strategies, I found the wiki entry for this turncoat. He’s a busy boy:
– – – – – – – – –
Siljander is president of Global Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm in Washington, D.C., operates an import-export firm, and works as a radio commentator. He has written a book, A Deadly Misunderstanding: A Congressman’s Quest to Bridge the Muslim-Christian Divide scheduled for release in June 2008.
Well, he sure bridged that “divide,” didn’t he? There’s nothing like money to build bridges.
You’ll be happy to know that Siljander “takes an interest” in conflict resolution, particularly in the Islamic world.
…in recent years [he] has tried to publicize the common ground between Christianity and Islam, particularly in the portrayal of Jesus in the Qur’an. This is a turnaround from a previous position in which he objected to the Qur’an being read at a prayer breakfast, asking the emcee: “How can you read the book of the devil at a prayer breakfast?” He described himself as “trained as an evangelical Christian; I was a poster boy for Jerry Falwell.” He is widely traveled, and claims to have visited over 120 countries. Siljander is also one of the few American politicians to have visited Libya in recent years.
This is definitely an All- American fruitcake. Evangelical, ecumenical, and a bagman for an Islamic “charity.”
Well, his new role as a jailbird will no doubt bring forth yet another book, this one about his prison conversion. There is no doubt that’s where he’s headed….for a long, long time:
Siljander was indicted in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri for his role in helping the Islamic American Relief Agency raise more than $130,000 that was allegedly sent to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whom the United States has designated as a global terrorist. The indictment claims that the money, sent to bank accounts in Peshawar, Pakistan in 2003 and 2004, was masked as donations to an orphanage located in buildings that Hekmatyar owned. Siljander faces 46 counts on charges of money laundering, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying to investigators about lobbying senators on behalf of the charity.
Prosecutors allege Siljander was paid $50,000 by the Islamic American Relief Agency for the lobbying, money that was stolen from the U.S. Agency for International Development.[My emphasis –D]
It doesn’t get much more mendacious and cynical than this…
Hat tip: Gold Book