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WASHINGTON — A former congressman and delegate to the United Nations was indicted Wednesday as part of a terrorist fundraising ring that allegedly sent more than $130,000 to an al-Qaida and Taliban supporter who has threatened U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan.
The former Republican congressman from Michigan, Mark Deli Siljander, was charged with money laundering, conspiracy and obstructing justice for allegedly lying about lobbying senators on behalf of an Islamic charity that authorities said was secretly sending funds to terrorists.
Siljander was born in Chicago, Illinois, where he attended the public schools, graduating from Oak Park-River Forest High School in 1969. He received a B.S. from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1972 and a M.A. from the same university in 1973. He served as a trustee on Fabius Township Board in St. Joseph County, Michigan from 1972–1976 and also worked as a real estate broker. He served in the Michigan State House of Representatives from the 42nd District, 1977–1981, and was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1980.
Siljander was appointed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan as an alternate representative to the United Nations General Assembly, serving from September 1987 to September 1988. He is president of Global Strategics, Inc., a consulting firm in Washington, D.C., operates an import-export firm and works as a radio commentator. He was an unsuccessful candidate in 1992 for nomination to the 103rd Congress and is a resident of Reston, Virginia.
Siljander takes an interest in conflict resolution, particularly in Islamic countries, and in recent years has tried to publicize the common ground between Christianity and Islam, particularly in the Koran's portrayal of Jesus. This is a turnaround from a previous position in which he objected to the Koran being read at a prayer breakfast. He is widely traveled, having visited at least four continents, and is also one of the few American politicians to have visited Libya in recent years.