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January 16, 2008


Mark Siljander Oak Park & River Forest High School
Graduate at a
Family Picnic Several Years Ago

© Suburban Journals of  Chicago Inc. photo

Oak Park and River Forest High School Graduate is Being Charged with Aiding
Al Qaida Terrorists

by Ed Vincent

Oak Park and River Forest Graduate Mark Siljander has
made news all around the world, from the BBC to our
National news, both broadcast and print media.  I went
to school with Mark and knew his family fairly well.  Mark
was often a wild kid in his youth
, though at an age when
kids will be kids.  I never understood his or anyone's
jumping onto the evangelical band wagon, but when Mark
got on that wagon he had his share of sins to wash away.

I never felt that he bought any of his stated beliefs, but he
was at least consistent with his repeated views through the
years.  Since I was a friend of the family he was always nice
and polite to me.  Some folks had a different view of Mark
in High School, some felt that he was a bit arrogant.  He
always had a good sense of humor and could take a joke as well as give one.  His parents summer home in Michigan
was on a small lake and their modest sized A-frame had
pier going into the lake.  Some of the land owners and
visitors to the lake that did not have land, were given
access at public area right next to the Siljander's summer
home.  When some of the visitors came near the Siljander
pier to get into the water Mark and some of his friends would pretend to wrestle using stage techniques like those
employed in professional wrestling.  The fun part was when the boys got some theatrical blood pellets and put them in their mouths and hands.  When an imaginary blow to the face was given you could bite down on the blood pellet and
have artifical blood running from your mouth.  You could
also take a blow to the midsection of your body and squeeze a capsule, having the blood colored substance running from
your fake wound.  The police were called more than once
by visitors to the lake.

Mark also knew which end of bottle to put in his mouth,
perhaps a pre-requisite for evangelical converts or perhaps
merely a youthful stage,
but with some over exuberance
you will find your car upside down on a country road (once
or twice I believe and when it landed on top of him he started
to drive better with less spirits).

Mark had fast cars, and nice ones like a rare Hurst Olds. 
He even joined with his older brother William and bought
a used limousine.   They would take turns driving the other
one around on dates, one time Mark would be the chauffeur
and the next time William would be the driver.  They had
the proper hats for the role and wore suits.

Mark was always a character, but I never saw him being
cruel or unkind, he had friends and family that cared about him and the cruel talk about him on the internet on a number of blogs smells a lot like a lynch mob.  

I   would think  that  Mark  would  be  too smart to do something so stupid.  I would think that Mark was more
of a patriot than the headlines would lead us to believe.  I would venture to say that Mark might very well have been conned, deluded or used to the advantage of someone else. 

Did he not connect the name of the group he was working for to the name of the organization well known for trouble?  He must have, or the alledged attempt to have their name removed from the trouble list with the United States Government would make no sense.  It is reported though that he had not lobbied on their behalf and took the $50,000 to help finance  his  writing  of  a  book  that  was  to  bring  an understanding or peaceful common ground for Christians and Muslims.

Some of his efforts in this direction can be seen below on
his business site (
in an MS Word file).  I read the Word file
and it is indeed interesting.  I believe it misses the mark,
but does show some thought to the attempt.  When I had
spoken sometime ago to Mark he mentioned that he was
doing this proposed book.  I laughed at him and said he
was nuts.  I had just finished reviewing a book or two on
Islam and said he would never find this middle ground of
understanding.

Alan Watts, a well known English Zen Buddhist seemed
to touch upon Mark's journey when he wrote: " Fanatical believers in the Bible, the Koran and the Torah have fought
one another for centuries without realizing that they belong
to the same pestiferous club, that they have more in common than they have against one another.....A committed
believer in the Koran trots out the same arguments for his point of view as a Southern Baptist...and neither can listen
to reason."  Perhaps Mark was trying to find the reasons
in ancient texts and was pleased that he found a sponser for
his ideas.  It could be a noble cause in a road not built or
wild ride on roller coaster, but one with a check book.

Siljanders lawyer has said that his client is not guilty.  I
want to believe in Mark's plea, even though there has
always been that wonderful Burt Lancaster role of
"Elmer Gantry" which could be role model.  I wish the
best for Mark Siljander and hope that while he prays
some bureaucratic half wit doesn't try preying on him.


United States Department of Justice statements on the Charges Against Former Oak Park and River Forest
Student for Ties to Terrorism.


One of the better descriptions of the events

Another Link Going to Jihad Watch

The Company, Global Strategies Inc. where
Mark Siljander does business has in the upper left
section a MS. Word file that has a good representation
of his directions regarding views of Christian-Muslim
Alliance. (
His actual book is not in print yet)

List of References for Mark Siljander, from his Organization.

United States  Treasury
in 2004 Designates Global Network, Senior Officials of IARA for Supporting bin Laden, Others

United States Department of Justice Charges Against
IARA in 2007 (
A year ago with almost the same people with mostly the same people being charged again)

Some Evangelical Musings with the Korean Cult King
Rev. Moon


http://www.usaid.gov/about_usaid/

http://www.usaid.gov/

 





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