Former U.S. congressman Mark D. Siljander, 56, a graduate of Beye School and Oak Park and River Forest High School, was named in a federal indictment Wednesday for his alleged role in lobbying for an Islamic charity that allegedly funded a terrorist organization.

Siljander, who is the owner/director of Global Strategies, Inc., a planning, marketing and public relations company in the Washington, D.C. area, was charged with money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice in a 42-count indictment by a federal grand jury in Kansas City.

According to the federal government Siljander was hired in March 2004 by an Islamic charitable organization, IARA- formerly known as the Islamic African Relief Agency-USA, to assist in getting it removed from a Senate Finance Committee list of non-profit organizations suspected of being involved in supporting international terrorism. Siljander was reportedly paid $50,000 by the organization, which was also indicted.

The government alleges Siljander obstructed justice in a grand jury investigation in the Western District of Missouri “by making false statements to FBI agents in December 2005 and to FBI agents and federal prosecutors in April 2007.”

“Siljander allegedly told federal officials that he had not been hired to do any lobbying or advocacy work for IARA and that the money or checks he received from IARA were charitable “donations” intended to assist him in writing a book about bridging the gap between Islam and Christianity.

According to a written statement from Siljander’s lawyer, James R. Hobbs, Siljander will plead not guilty. Said Hobbs, “Mark Siljander vehemently denies the allegations in the indictment.”
Siljander remained in Michigan after graduating from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo in 1972. He received a masters degree the following year. Siljander, a Republican, served in the Michigan State House of Representatives from 1977 to 1981, was named to replace then 4th District Rep. David Stockman, who was named White House budget director by Ronald Reagan. Siljander was re-elected twice, serving until 1987.

Ironically Stockman himself was also indicted last year on charges of conspiracy and securities fraud involving a Michigan auto parts company.

A press release from the Edinburgh Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies referred to Siljander as “Dr. Mark Siljander” in announcing two 2005 Special Lectures as part of a series entitled “The place of Muslim-Christian dynamic in international negotiations.”

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