March 27, 2008
Mark D. Siljander Is My Friend
Mark Siljander and
Your Business Blogger(R) And I’m not alone.
“You know about that cliche: Want a friend in Washington, DC, get a dog?” Mark asks me.
“Yep, Truman, I think…”
“Not true,” says Mark, laughing.
“No, no, the cliche is wrong.” He’s upbeat. A former public servant, currently indicted, unworried, unhurried.
Another congressman, Asa Hutchinson emailed us, “I consider myself an informal advisor and friend” of Siljander.
He still has friends. In this town! Alert the media…
Well, maybe not that.
Mark has been unjustly targeted and will be cleared. But this is when — with most indicted congressmen — friends who were actually “friends” and don’t recall knowing le accuséd.
This is a case study on having friends. (Mark does have the added benefit of being innocent…)
“No one has left me,” says Mark. “Except the media, thank goodness.”
The helicopters, the satellite dishes, the circus have stopped blocking his drive way.
His friends stayed with Mark. Clients, however, have become a bit skittish. It is business, you see.
So his business has stopped, the bills have not. And the kids refuse to stop eating.
So what has caused all the ruckus? The government is confused over the source of funding for Mark’s research. (Yes, yes, confused government is redundant.) Alert Readers can read the product of the work.
Get Mark’s new book is A Deadly Misunderstanding, published by HarperCollins.
A Deadly Misunderstanding
by Mark D. Siljander
Buy the book,
I did. His 13 trips to Sudan in 2007 seem to have raised some concern. And Mark speaks lotsa languages.
This is getting Siljander in trouble. Perhaps he should have traveled with Louis Farrakhan. And worshiped with Jeremiah Wright.
But instead of running for President, Mark Siljander was teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ attempting to bridge cultures.
And is paying for it dearly.
But Mark is taking this well and is not whining about the injustice –
(Nobody likes a martyr: that’s why they killed so many of them…)
Alert Readers will recall that Congressman Siljander was the author of the Siljander Amendment to HR5490, which says simply that life begins at conception and would be under protection of the 14th Amendment.
Al Gore voted for it.
Mark has spent his life working on the issues that conservative, pro-life, God-fearing citizens care about.
He needs your help today.
Friends have set up a defense fund to help cover his legal costs. Please buy his book and contribute to his defense.
Please send contributions payable to:
“Greenberg Traurig, PC”,
put on memo “Siljander Trust” and mail to:
The Honorable Edwin Meese
c/o Mr. Joe Reeder
Greenberg Traurig, PC
2101 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037
Donate to this hard working friend. One never knows where random injustice will strike again.
Thank you (foot)notes:
Debbie Shlussel wonders, What Happened to My Former Boss Mark Siljander?
On June 26, 1984, the U.S. House of Representatives was considering the Civil Rights Act of 1984, a bill to expand the reach of key provisions of four previously enacted federal civil rights laws, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Pro-life Congressman Mark Siljander (R-Mi.) offered a one-sentence amendment to revise the bill’s definition of the key term “person.”
The Siljander Amendment read, in its entirety, “For the purposes of this Act, the term ‘person’ shall include unborn children from the moment of conception.”
The House conducted a straight up-and-down vote on the Siljander Amendment which failed, 186-219.
Mark’s wife sent us an email. Excerpts at the jump.
Mark and I are profoundly grateful for your support and interest in his case and your prayers… We are in a fight for our lives as Mark faces charges in Kansas City dealing with his acceptance of grant money from a 25-year old U.S. Muslim charity that offered to support Mark’s work bridging the Muslim-Christian divide and especially his book research.
He is FALSELY accused of knowing the grant money came from unused USAID funding and lobbying for the charity.
Both are untrue.
The sad fact is that our family has suffered terrible blows from the severe media barrage that has followed us. We knew our lives were inexplicably altered when helicopters flew over the house, shooting aerial photos for hours.
Then camera crews lined our circular driveway, positioned to capture our movements, from walking our dogs to picking up our mail. For days we felt captive at home…
We longed to have him publicly defend himself, but his lawyers warned him that the best place to do that was in the court proceeding, and that he should keep silent for now.
The worst part of this misunderstanding has been the FALSE accusations of Mark having anything to do with terrorism and Al Qaeda. I cried with our daughter, calling from her Air Force Base, as I feebly explained how painfully wrong the media had “gotten it” and to disregard the awful hype. [She] had returned just months earlier from serving our country in the Middle East and protectively defended her dad.
We will always be grateful for the support and protective cover the Air Force gave our daughter following the media’s hype.
This case takes on new meaning as Mark’s book is near release. His last decade of work embodies the bridging of misunderstanding between the East and West, finding the common ground toward reconciliation between Muslims and Christians.
His book, due to be released in April by Harper Collins is titled A DEADLY MISUNDERSTANDING, and clearly his work has offended and produced misunderstanding among the traditional systems in our country.
His 13 trips to Sudan in 2007 to befriend and share Jesus of our Bible as well as the Qur’an, with leaders like President al Bashir, has been clearly misinterpreted. If Mark is guilty of anything, it is of loving our enemies and carrying Jesus’ name to the Middle East, where the Muslims have invited him back time and time again!
Mark’s engagement in translating an Aramaic Bible under the likely auspices of Oxford University for the Muslim community, has also been his burning passion. His mission to work for peace and mutual trust among people is only exceeded by his love to present Jesus as the answer to change and heal the hearts of mankind. I desperately want him to continue in his vital mission and believe he is uniquely gifted for such a time as this.
Mark’s eventual trial in Kansas City requires exceptional lawyers to hopefully sever Mark from the other defendants, and to ensure a speedy trial. The other defendants require the translation of 80,000 tapes (10,000 hours) from Arabic, causing a trial as late at mid 2009. Since Mark is charged with 7 counts and not the entire 40, we are praying his case is separated from the others. …
Please understand, we are not despairing by any means and our hope in the Lord is new every morning!
My deepest conviction is that befriending and caring for Muslims in our world, including those considered our nation’s enemies, must grow, not diminish! We are clearly commanded to “love our enemies”. In these times of war, we must desperately work to preserve and protect those gifted as peacemakers. Our traditional systems cannot conceive of praying with those it feels are enemies like al Bashir of Sudan, but we can and must.
Please consider giving NOW to Mark’s defense fund. Let the message be clearly heard throughout our country, that loving our enemies is not a crime, but a command by God!
Please send contributions payable to: “Greenberg Traurig, PC”, put on memo “Siljander Trust” and mail to:
Hon. Edwin Meese
c/o Mr. Joe Reeder
Greenberg Traurig, PC
2101 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037
…Mr. Siljander builds a compelling case that any faithful reading of religion and its teachings should serve to unite, not to divide. He documents what many of us instinctively believe: that people of the great faith traditions all share the same core beliefs and ideals. That compassion, solidarity, respect for life, and kindness towards others are but some of the many common threads tying together men and women of faith.
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, from the Foreword
As President George W. Bush has said, the West has no quarrel with the faithful followers of Islam, but rather with radical fundamentalists who have distorted a well-respected religion and, as a result, want to do us harm. Mark Siljander’s insightful book offers a sensible and compassionate explanation for this deadly discord between cultures. Siljander is right: a key to reconciling the East and West is to clear up the historic misunderstandings that define the Muslim-Christian divide. His book offers a blueprint for breaking this logjam of dissention that contributes to so much conflict today
James A. Baker III, 61st U.S. Secretary of State & Chairman Iraq Group
I cannot overstate the importance of Mark’s strategic efforts to defuse the activities of radical Muslims worldwide. Many are convinced that he is on the cusp of what will prove literally to be the tipping point in realigning radical terrorist enemies… These unique activities, which are crucial to our national security, have received enthusiastic support from Members of Congress, the Vatican, Oxford University, the UN Secretary General and a host of others. His acceptance and favorable response is derived in large measure from a mastery of the Muslim mind and culture.
Hon. Edwin Meese, fm U.S. Attorney General and Fellow at the Heritage Foundation
I believe passionately that Mark has discovered a real pathway here—a means to open dialogue that we have not seen in centuries.
Dr. Ergun Caner, President of Liberty University Theological Seminary
This is very good work Mark has been doing: building bridges, looking on what unites us as humans, and addressing our fears and prejudices with rational argument and love.
Dr. Yasir Suleiman, Professor of Modern Arabic Studies, King’s College, Cambridge
I have experienced first-hand the strategy underlying Mark’s book: that loving our enemies has the power to counter the threat of religious extremism.
Hon. Tony Hall, former U.S. Congressman (D-Ohio), U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Food Program and three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee
Mark Siljander’s belief that ancient “holy books” have been mistranslated and that warring factions don’t really know what they are fighting about — in fact, shouldn’t be fighting at all — is the most fascinating proposition I’ve read since Muslims, Jews and Christians started killing each other nearly two millennia ago. It warrants serious study and detailed analysis.”
Cal Thomas, syndicated columnist/Fox News contributor
A Deadly Misunderstanding is an astonishing piece of work. A self-described “conservative Republican and Evangelical Christian,” Siljander’s faith was literally burst wide-open amid rockets and rifles in the Middle East. The former congressman and ambassador began to study the Bible and Koran and came to realize that Islam and Christianity were “not contradictory at their core.” Siljander calls for a “friendship diplomacy” so that religions can become paths to love, paths to peace, and therefore paths to God. In a quietly passionate voice that speaks to our hearts, Siljander shows us how we can go from diversity to unity and from conflict to peace.
Ayatollah Ahmad Iravani, Ph.D., Director for Islamic Studies and Dialogue at the Center for the Study of Culture and Values, Catholic University, Washington, DC
Resolving existing hostilities between Muslims and Christians will require that we deal with the ideas behind the guns. This book does a masterful job of pointing the way.
Dr. Douglas M. Johnston, President and Founder International Center for Religion & Diplomacy & author of Religion the Missing Dimension of Statecraft & Faith Based Diplomacy
This exceptional and inspirational work reveals the possibility of firm conviction and non-exclusive faith that enables a person to approach to “the other” with open arms and become a bridge between two worlds. The author provides a precious balm for wounds that need to be healed and a most sincere and effective antidote to stereotypes based on fear and hatred that need to be transformed into love and understanding on both sides.
Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr: University Professor of Islamic Studies at the George Washington University, Washington D.C. is one of the most important and foremost scholars of Islamic, Religious and Comparative Studies in the world today. Author of over fifty books and five hundred articles.
Christians and Muslims have been in dialogue with one another from the very beginnings of Islam; Aramaic-speaking Jews and Christians were among those whom the Arabic Qur’an addressed in the time of the prophet Muhammad. In A Deadly Misunderstanding, Mark Siljander has highlighted one of the most exciting areas of contemporary research in Jewish/Christian/Muslim relations: the healing of memories through the historical recall of shared origins in the scriptural languages of all those whom God’s word addressed when the Qur’an came down to Muhammad in Mecca and Medina in the early seventh century of the common era.
Fr. Sidney H. Griffith, eminent professor of Aramaic/Syriac at The Catholic University of America, Washington is author of The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque& more than seventy scholarly articles. He is consulting editor of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations.
While the prophets of doom and gloom are busy promoting the cataclysmic philosophy of clash of civilizations, we now have a whole band of committed thinkers, leaders, and writers who are working hard to promote dialogue and reconciliation, building on our shared beliefs and interpreting our religious scriptures to give a message of hope and confidence. Mark Siljander is one of these bridge-builders. His book teaches us how to transform barriers into bridges and promote respect and understanding between Muslim and Christian believers. I would like to recommend this powerful book to Muslims, Christians, Jews, and to all the faithful who are concerned about the safety and security of our planet and the wellness of the human family.
Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed National Director Islamic Society of North America
This is a superb work of passion, reason and devotion, one that could have great impact in building bridges between societies, nations and faiths that seem to be getting ever more hardened towards each other. Instead of trying to connect dots between the languages of Gospel and Qur’an and going back and forth between the two, A Deadly Misunderstanding connects these two via Aramaic—this is absolutely brilliant. Understanding the two paradigms and their respective contexts on the basis of what was meant in Aramaic paradigm seems to provide a roadmap to peel through issues that are not only spiritual but also religious, political and civilizational.
Dr. Mohammed Karim, Islamic scholar & Vice President for Research, Old Dominion University. He has authored 10 text books and of over 325 research papers. He is a Distinguished Engineering Fellow of the University of Alabama.
Mark’s knowledge and understanding of the Aramaic language of the Scriptures
has given him a wide acceptance among Muslim religious and political leaders. I believe this book will be a breakthrough to overcoming the Muslim/Christian divide.
Rev. John Booko, Lecturer on Assyria and author of “Assyria – The Forgotten Nation In Prophecy” and “The Assyrian Revelation”
Mark Siljander arrived in the US Congress as part of the Gingrich-led invasion. To have a man of his background, a religious conservative who still affirms his faith and stand, write such a book is nothing less than astounding. ‘A Deadly Misunderstanding’ is extremely well researched and the product of enormous thought. This book demands to be read.
T. Davis Bunn; award-winning novelist of over 30 books & visiting teacher Oxford University.
A Deadly Misunderstanding is an incredibly important work in the field of ideology change related to terrorism and war. It represents hope for the integration of civilizations in a world much too fixed upon the clash of civilizations.
Rod A. Beckstrom, coauthor of The Spider and the Starfish