Secret meetings with Saddam, skin heads, and prison, all in this final episode with former Congressman Mark Siljander!
Mission Frontiers Magazine – The ISIS Crisis: The Plan to Defeat Radicalism by Mark Siljander
Sponsor Music by: Drunk Pedestrians – Mean
Interlude Music by:
Josh Woodard – Insomnia (No Vocals)
Pinar Akbay –  Light as Rain Weldroid Remix
Graham Bole – Theme for Rosa
Steve Combs – Delta Is Theme K1
Sergey Cheremisinov – Mindship
Trans Alp – Gnossienne N1
Chris Zabriski – That Kid in the Fourth Grade Who Really Liked the Denver Broncos, Cylinder One
Jelsonic – Seasong
04 – Aeoa

Former Congressman Mark Siljander Imprisoned for Building Bridges To Muslims – Part 4:

Hey, this is Truth About Muslims podcast. And this is Howard. And this is Trevor. And we’ve got our 4 part series of interviews with former congressman Mark Siljander. This is our final, installment of the 4 part series.

But before we start, we wanna play a clip from last week. Yeah. I gotta give you a heads up, at least know where we’ve been so that you can see where we’re going. If you do anything that impacts policy or the regime itself, they will crush you like a cockroach if it goes against their interests. I went to prison is very simple.

I was interfering in 3 of the 7 countries that Bush wanted regime change. I worked with Libya for years, you know, with Gaddafi’s regime. He denounced weapons of mass destruction. He’s selling us his oil, which he didn’t before. US is building huge hotels.

So so that looks good. You’d think that they would give you a hug for it. No. They said you’re interfering. For it.

Like deploying peacekeepers and war ravaged genocidal rape massive rapes in Darfur. Right. You think they’d wanna give you an award, but, no, they threatened indictments from going working with the regime. Alright. So, there’s 4 episodes.

There’s a lot to sift through, and, you know, Trevor’s the kinda guy that says, hey, just start in the middle. It can work. Right. It’s intriguing enough in the episodes due to the end of the year. You’re right.

Right. And so, but I still wanna hear a synopsis. So, Trevor, just give us a rundown of what’s happened these last 4 episodes. Alright. So episode 1, essentially, Howard and I going to meet Mark Ziljander and kind of our fears, anticipation Right.

Concerns. Episodes, 1, 2, and 3 are essentially his political career and how he comes to the conclusion that his faith and his politics and his political career are really competing ideas. Right. And he didn’t think it needed to be that way. So, eventually, he is, he loses his seat in Congress, moves on into the UN to work as a diplomat, and there is where he begins to build bridges with heads of state in Muslim countries using Jesus.

Right. And he’s doing really, really good work. He is I mean, the entire last episode is about Darfur and the prince of Saudi Arabia and Peace. Yeah. Yeah.

And he’s doing some amazing things. And as you just heard in that, clip from last week, he’s working with Gaddafi. Mhmm. He’s working with the president of Sudan. He’s working with Saddam Hussein.

Which we get into a little bit more in this week. Little preview. Right. And, essentially, he feels like because of his work in Muslim context that he is targeted. I was targeted for two reasons in brief.

1, the work mainly the work overseas that went contrary to the special and self interest of certain people in the government and in the military industrial complex. There’s no money in peace but as we found out by Brown University there are trillions in war. Secondly, Islam is a new enemy to replace the Soviet Empire And when you say, oh, well they can actually be friends and we can find common ground and undermine radicalism while empowering a new awakening, spiritual awakening amongst more most millions of Muslims in the polls can count. That’s a threat. So Mark Zildander thinks he’s targeted.

Explain to me why he’s a threat. Go into that a little bit more in detail. Well, he did quote a study that came out from Brown University and it was essentially saying that the global war on terrorism has cost upwards of 4, $1,000,000,000,000. Wow. And so the threat is if he’s making peace in these areas, that are really generating a lot of income for, as he said, certain entities within the government, then he becomes a threat.

And if they want regime change and they want the regime to look bad and he’s going over and deploying peacekeepers and everybody’s looking good and there’s peace in the area, you’re not gonna have regime change. So, essentially, he thinks he got, pushed out targeted, for being a peacemaker. So he even talks about some secret meetings that were happening. Yeah. Apparently, he was having meetings with, well, Saddam Hussein before the invasion and the war in Iraq.

And he wrote a chapter about it in his book, but it never made it into the the version that’s out now. We were working in 2,001 trying to stop the war with Saddam Hussein at secret meetings in Baghdad. There was a chapter in the original A Deadly Misunderstanding called the the undisclosed reason for the war in Iraq, highly critical of the Bush regime who of course was in power at the time and Dick Cheney personally. And for some reason, HarperCollins took it out of the book, the only chapter they were just removed. Now, they asked me if it was all right and I was busy worrying about, threat to the by my own government.

So, oh, yeah. Yeah. Go ahead and take it out. Come to find out later, isn’t it coincidental that chapter was removed? So we are we are trying to re release the book and include that chapter that I think the government did not want you to read.

You gotta give us at least a preview of the chapter. Just a preview. I know people will want to buy the book, of course, and read the chapter. I’m gonna get one. I’m hoping you’ll send me one for free, but, give us a little give us a little extra so plus a free book.

Yeah. That’s right. Anything else? Yeah. Should I pay I hope I’m buying my lunch too.

Yeah. No. Buy your lunch, of course. Yeah. Well, I’ll give you a summary.

The neoconservatives, which are mainly conservative, evangelicals, and Jews, politically, they they function on the lifting of democracy as divine. That if once people taste democracy, even if it’s forced on them, especially Arabs in the Middle East in their mind, that they will embrace it, denounce radicalism, and be so captivated by freedom and democracy they won’t want anything else. But they don’t know that yet so we need to force it. Hey, ladies. I’m from, truth about Muslims podcast.

Have you heard of it? Yeah. Okay. So we want you to read an ad for us. Can you do that?

You’ll be famous, like, world famous. It’ll be amazing. C I u? C I u. C I u.

C I u. C I u. I’m Kevin Kekaisen. Kevin. Yeah.

I’m a woman. I’m a woman. You mean me. Oh, wow. That’s nice.

He just Luke Fain. Luke Fain. Luke. Alright. CIU educates people from a biblical worldview to impact the nations with the message of Christ.

You wanna read that again? Yeah. Feel like I’ll be so embarrassed by you now, man. Yeah. So, this divine democracy, it It’s a funny term.

Right? It’s not funny. It’s scary. Oh, I didn’t mean funny I meant funny strange. Yeah.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Definitely strange. And it bothers me a lot because I I remember hearing a lot of this rhetoric growing up, you know, in the Bush era.

And, I remember thinking this way. What do you mean? That this was that we were, Democracy With God’s You know, I was a kid of the Cold War. You remember Rocky 4? Oh, yeah.

And and we were and America was the group that was gonna go and save the world. Yeah. You know, I think the evil empire. Yeah. You can change.

Can change. World can change. And and I just remember thinking, wow. Yeah. This is right, and we are in the right.

And and now as an adult, I’d look back and I’m like, wow. I can’t believe I just swallowed that whole. Well, that’s what you would call the power of a public narrative. Right? There is a public narrative that happens through media, happens through film, happens through books, and to have a public enemy, gives power to these narratives.

And so Rocky 4 was way more than a movie about boxing. Yeah. It wasn’t about boxing. Rocky 5, total bomb. Rocky 4, definitely about Ivan Drago and the evil, you know, communist nation.

They weren’t boxing just for themselves. That’s right. Yeah. That’s right. So that’s the whole concept.

Right? This new divine democracy and this concept that if we, just give it to these Muslim countries, they will realize that this is really God’s way. And it it’s caused some problems, actually. Yeah. Because, forcing somebody forcing something on somebody that doesn’t want it, that’s not a really good way to change the world.

But the idea that I think it comes off of from the Muslim perspective is that this is just neocolonialism. This is just, a new way of enacting what was enacted upon Muslim, context back in the 18th century. Yeah. It fuels the fire. Right.

So you have areas of the world that have tried imperialism, British imperialism, and colonialism working in all these different Muslim countries all across North Africa, India and South Asia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, all these places, Indonesia with the Dutch. Mhmm. And so, a lot of the, Muslim world feels like this new divine democracy, if we force Muslims to become democratic, is really just a neo colonialistic, neo imperialism of the West. That’s the way that they see it. Okay.

So democracy isn’t really just for the area that they’re they’re trying to go into. It’s it’s also for us. Right? Yeah. I mean, there’s a a strategy that’s being employed, and Siljander makes the case that, we’re going to implement democracy as a means of being able to stabilize a unstable region.

So we need to get rid of Saddam Hussein, put a wedge of democracy in Iraq, which will check Shiite Iran because Iraq is 80% Shiite Muslim. So in order to check the whole process and protect Israel, this is the this is the main agenda. How do we protect Israel and our oil interests? The only way to do that is to put this wedge in between the Shia domination. If if Iran and Iraq joined forces with oil and the Shia threat, the whole gulf could be under attack.

Alright. So I have a couple of questions. Israel. And I know that this is kind of a weird touchy thing, but what why do we wanna protect Israel exactly? I know that there are allies, but other than that So there’s definitely the sense of we need to have an ally in the region.

So we have Saudi Arabia as an ally. We have Jordan. Right? Jordan ally. Israel is really an important land bridge between Africa and the Middle East.

I mean, we need to have that that area to be stabilized. And that’s just if you’re leaving all the religious stuff aside. Just looking at it from a political point of view, And it’s always been this way. It’s always been critical for Absolutely. The continent.

That that land has been critical, since the beginning of time. And it’s a land bridge. It makes sense. It’s kinda like Afghanistan was critical when the communists were coming down Uh-huh. And America needed to stop the flow of communism because Afghanistan served as a land bridge between all of Asia, the Middle East, North Africa.

It became a very important, pinch point to win and stop the flow of communism. Got it. Imagine if communism had flowed through into Pakistan and across all of Central and South Asia. It would have been detrimental. That would have been the end, the cold war.

It would have yeah. It would have been a totally different history. We’d be speaking Russian or some I don’t know what he’s speaking. Yeah. Second question has to do with Iraq and Iran joining forces.

Explain, you know, I I see these little Facebook things about, you know, like, Shia and, Sunnis. And Iraq and Iran, they share, some religious commonalities. Right? So Iran is primarily Shiite. Mhmm.

And so they’re, Iraq is majority Shiite. He said 80%. I think it’s more like 70, 75. But you know what? He’s a foreign diplomat, so we’ll just go with his 80%.

Saddam Hussein, when he was in Iraq as the leader, was operating as, under the Baathist party, which primarily favored the Sunni. Now, if the Shiite were to gain power in Iraq, and the Shi’ite were to have the power they already have in Iran, and those 2 were to join forces, you would have a Shi’ite domination in this area that is would destabilize the entire region and would potentially wreak havoc on our ally, Israel. So the Shia wouldn’t the Shia and Sunni just fight one another then? I think the fear is you have Iran with all of their power and they operate the, a very strait in the Middle East Right. That is of great access to the entire world and importance to the entire world, Iran.

And then you have the oil of Iraq, and if Iran and Iraq were to join forces under a Shiite domination, that would be very troublesome, not just for us, but for everybody that is not in the Shiite ally camp. So the idea would be that if democracy were to come into Iraq, then what would happen is you would have sort of a, I guess, a peace between the Shia Muslims and the Sunni Muslims in Iraq, and then eventually a democratic sort of alignment with the US at some point being an ally and also a democratic Right. So another ally. Country. But but it blows up in our phases.

Right. Because they actually put a Shia person in power, and that Shia person begins to wreak havoc on the Sunnis living in Iraq. And so what we do is we dismantle the government in Iraq. We let the army go home. We essentially fire the military in Iraq.

And then what happens is a a, Shiite, leader becomes democratically voted in, and it becomes a Shiite theocratic rule, meaning they are wreaking havoc on the Sunnis. And so where we thought if we were just to give them a taste of democracy, that they would love it And they would figure it all out. Right. What ended up happening is we gave them a taste of democracy, the majority people voted in their their ruler, their Shiite ruler, and then the Shiites started wreaking havoc on the Sunnis who had been wreaking havoc on them through Saddam Hussein and his Baathist party for so long. Oh, man.

And so the Sunnis eventually, and this is just now becoming everybody’s becoming aware of this, but the Sunnis, in Iraq are now what we would call ISIS. The former Baathist party of Saddam Hussein who were secularists until the invasion of Iraq are now what we would call ISIS. And so Mark’s work what? It just Mark’s work in some ways could have prevented a lot of this, I guess, would be his perspective that if they had just let him promote peace and get Saddam Hussein to, be more kind to the Shiites, because Saddam Hussein, although Sunni, was really operating as a secularist. Right.

He didn’t let the religious aspect of it rule what he did or didn’t do. Now granted, he was ruling in a tyrannical fashion, but when you have a country that’s divided by 2 religious ideologies Yeah. Some would say you’d have to. And so removing Saddam Hussein, creating the vacuum, the vacuum eventually gets filled by something twice as wicked. And so, Mark’s thought, I guess, would be if he had just been given the time to promote that piece, who knows what would have happened?

Because he ends up getting in trouble because, essentially, he’s messing with the wedge. And messing with the wedge gets Mark into a lot of trouble. I was threatened with treasonous activities back in 2,002 if I didn’t stop my quote unquote crusade against the Iraq war. So I turned my attentions to Sudan finding out that they hated the regime in Sudan. They hated Saddam, of course, we know that.

They hated Gaddafi. And here I was working in 3 countries that the Bush regime, according to general Wesley Clark, wanted to change the regime, and our efforts were quite successful. So who is general Wesley Clark? He’s no, you know, small time guy. He’s a 4 star general.

Wow. Graduated first in his class from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He, was a Rhodes Scholar, went over to, Oxford, studied there. 34 years of service in the United States Army. And, eventually, he runs for the Democratic ticket for, president.

It’s interesting to hear what he has to say about the regime change after 911. About 10 days after 911, I went through the Pentagon and I saw secretary Rumsfeld and and deputy secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the joint staff who used used to work for me. And one of the generals called me and he said, sir, you gotta come in you gotta come in and talk to me a second. I said, well, you’re too busy.

He said, no, no. He says, we’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq. This was on or about 20th September. I said, we’re going to war with Iraq? Why?

He said I don’t know. He said I guess they don’t know what else to do. So, I said well did they find some information collect, connecting Saddam to Al Qaeda? He said no, no. He says there’s nothing new that way.

They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq. He said, I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments. And, he said I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail. So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, are we still going to war with Iraq?

And he said, oh it’s worse than that. He said he reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. He said, I just he said, I just got this down from upstairs, meaning the secretary of defense’s office today. And he said, this is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out 7 countries in 5 years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and finishing off Iran.

So that’s a clip from a talk that general Wesley Clark was giving on Democracy Now. I was really surprised by his candor. I know. Right? I mean, he just comes out and says, why?

Yeah. It was kind of, funny. But then when you think about war, it’s, like, not funny at all. Yeah. Because you’re talking about people’s lives and just whims and I don’t know.

It just felt really uncomfortable to me. Yeah. But it does give credit to what Souljander is saying because this is what, I think, for me, was just so mind blowing is that Souljander is having these secret meetings with Saddam. Right? He’s told to back down.

And he’s like, fine. I’ll back down. He turns his attention to Sudan. Sudan. And then while he’s in the Sudan, it’s like, wait a second.

This is one of the other countries. And now, no matter how hard he tries, like, he’s working with areas of the world that people that are more powerful than him don’t want him working in. And in his mind, this is going to be bad. And and what gets him in trouble is that he’s actually doing a good job. Yeah.

You know? It’s like you can’t win. You just can’t win. Yeah. Actually, Mark’s success in bringing peace to these areas ends up resulting in what he says is being indicted for his making peace in Muslim countries.

But they do offer him a way out. Yeah. They offer him a way out. They in the beginning, they indict him and essentially ask him to make a deal, I guess. And in making a deal, it would be another compromise of what he believes.

They end up wanting me to testify against Muslims that I was a conspiracy with them and they’d let me go. But of course, if I lied, my personal integrity is crushed. My work with Muslims is destroyed because I’m speaking untruths to save myself. I refused to do so. So that was the key for the Washington DC Bush era neoconservatives to layer the lower the hammer on me.

So they held a news conference saying I was indicted along with these Muslims for conspiracy money laundering of terrorist funds. Well, when they found out there is no charges even against the Muslims for any terrorism charges, They had to come back and correct the record, but who listened to that? So they end up indicting me into these ridiculous charges, all of which were dropped, by the way, immediately because they’re absurd. Money laundering, a conspiracy with Muslim charity whom I didn’t know. I mean, it was absurd.

But what stuck was lying to the FBI. It’s called obstruction of justice, but it’s a fancy felony then. About what? Really, let’s bring all these horrible charges down to what it would have been now. Did the donation given by this Muslim charity when they were still in good standing with the IRS and everyone else, did I use the money as a quid pro quo to lobby?

Or was the money used for our charitable purposes? That was the number of the issue. Alright. So what’s the big deal about lobbying? That’s just what I don’t understand.

Okay. So the group that he received this money from is a group that was eventually put on, the terrorist watch list as a charity that was, using funding Mhmm. To engage in terrorism. And so if they if Vasil Jander lobbies for them, how does that in any way cause problems for him? Well, he says he wasn’t lobbying for them.

So I just to clear that up, he he didn’t lobby for them in his, his own words. What he says is that he received money from them in order to do charity work and he says that he did that charity work. Now what he is accused of is that he was lobbying on behalf of this terrorist organization, and the accusation is that he was trying to get them off of the terrorist watch list by using his lobby in in Congress. Oh, okay. That’s interesting.

Registered as a lobbyist, and so there’s there’s these accusations that he was doing that. But then he’s saying that nothing really sticks except for, the FBI, lying to the FBI. Right. Because in his mind, he’s thinking I’m gonna take this thing to trial because he can show that if he wanted to lobby, he would have gotten, you know, he can lobby. He can go and and register and and do a lobby outright.

He wouldn’t have gone through this, you know, backdoor process and he felt the charges were just absolutely absurd. And so what ends up happening is right before he’s ready to go to trial and defend himself, there is a Supreme Court ruling that changes everything. They used the Supreme Court ruling that occurred a week before my trial that giving food, clothing are you with me? Food and clothing, medical supplies to anyone on the terrorist list is material sport of terrorism because they’d have to buy it. Otherwise, if you’re giving them clothing, they don’t have to buy clothes.

Giving them food, you don’t have to buy food. And justice Roberts, guess what he added? Because I wasn’t giving clues, clothes or food or medical supplies to Sudan or Libya or any of these countries that are on the terrorist list. He added verbal advice. Whoops.

Well, he was yeah. Oops. I mean, he yeah. He he was giving advice. Of course, he was giving advice.

But not in the same way, you know, they would accuse him of, like, you know, causing more war, causing more problems. He was trying to fix it. Yeah. Doesn’t matter. They’re on the terrorist watch list.

You cannot be involved. And it seems a little bit suspicious. What? Was it a week before, the trial he went to trial? Well, he says that the he doesn’t think there’s, it’s totally coincidental, the timing in in Mark’s opinion.

Okay. Somebody else might be like, this seems a bit odd. You know, who knows? All we know for certain is that there is a ruling that that changes everything and he can no longer go to trial. And so under the advice of his family and his wife, I mean, imagine walking through this for, like, 4 years of your name being smeared in the press and people accusing you of being a terrorist and this and that and you’re, like, friends with public enemy number 1.

He just gives up. Even if you go to court and win on the line to the FBI, you will be reindicted for going to Sudan. And what are you gonna say? I said, but wait a minute. It was to stop a genocide and help a million, 2,000,000 people displaced to go home and stop rapes.

No. It doesn’t matter the reason. Did you give verbal advice or not? Eventually, Mark pleads guilty and is sentenced to a year and a day in prison. It’s called a low security prison in Petersburg, Virginia.

It was, you know, barbed wire movements each hour, 67 naked nude searches, humiliating searches. And when I’d have to squat to make sure I wasn’t hiding anything in certain orifices, that they would say, come on, congressman, squat again, cough again. I mean, just to be insulting. And if I didn’t admit I was a former congressman, which would be a jewel in their crown to cut up or kill a congressman, I had to just let them assume I’m a pedophile. What’s a white man, middle aged man without tattoos and their teeth doing in a pedophile prison who claims to only have a 4 to 6 month sentence to serve.

And I’m certain I’d be cut up or beaten up repeatedly. Okay. It’s a little bit shocking that they put a congressman in with general population. Yeah. So explain that because I’m not really, you know I don’t know.

I was shocked myself. I mean, in the interview I was like, wait a second. What is where do they usually put congressmen? I don’t know. I just assumed they didn’t go to general population.

I thought they probably had, like, a resort style, prison camp somewhere where, you know So this is really a thing. There’s like white collar, prisons and then there’s blue collar prisons. Is that what you’re saying? Well, there are minimum security prisons. There are maximum security prisons.

Well, this one’s a minimum security prison. I don’t think it was minimum. I think he said it was low. I think that’s probably a different category. But he’s, you know, as he describes it, I’m still shocked.

Yeah. And it was funny that he said, you know, a middle aged white guy with his teeth. So, honestly, when I first heard him say that, I thought, why would people just assume because you have all your teeth, you don’t have tattoos, that you must be a pedophile? But, there was something he didn’t mention that gives clarity to his statement. This prison actually is part of a program called the sex offender management program.

The prison that Mark was in, upwards of 40% of the people in there are sex offenders. And so, when he says he was part of a pedophile prison, and if I don’t if I’m a white middle aged man with 4 to 6 months and I don’t have tattoos in my teeth, I must be a sex offender, his assumption is probably right. The thing that sticks out to me that’s kinda sad really is that he has to kinda decide whether or not being known as a congressman is better than being known as a pedophile. Yeah. The way he describes it is I could be like a jewel in someone’s crown as a congressman.

I mean, that that is insane. And in the end, he decides to maintain his integrity. Then I said, well, the truth will keep you free according to the scriptures. That is in the scripture. It’s that I’m a former congressman and I used to work with when working with Muslims and I’m I’m really a political prisoner.

What it amounts to, I’m here for lying the FBI. They said, you could not be. You wouldn’t be here in this prison lying to the FBI. You’d be in the camp, if anything. I said, they won’t put me in the camp.

They wanna make a point to other people of my ilk who would dare work with Muslims. This is what’s gonna happen to you. So without really having Jesus, overwhelming me at the time, I would have been very bitter and angry. Alright, so the story at this point takes on kind of like a Joseph feel to it, right? What, man intended for bad, God is going to use for good.

So, siljanders in general population, he’s terrified, but he doesn’t have a bad attitude. He’s actually thankful for the situation he’s in, and he starts preaching the gospel to people. And things in prison start to change, starting with the skinheads. Top 2 skinheads, Nazis with bare heads and swastikas met Jesus in a powerful way. So we started holding prayer meetings.

And then we started praying with Nazis, former Nazis, and Latino gang lords. And then the black guys, and the gang bangers, and the rednecks with the meth dealers in the mountains and the Buddhist gangs. Before you know it, the whole prison’s like in an uproar. And I was called in repeatedly by the captain to tell me that I had to stop my purveying these dangerous ideas in the prison. What?

What’s funny? It just seems like no matter where this guy goes, he he keeps getting in trouble, and it’s because he’s trying to be obedient in his faith. It reminds me of Acts 24 where Paul is accused of somebody that, like, stirs up riots. Oh, yeah. This warden is angry because he’s having bible studies with skinheads and stirring up, the skinheads and the Latinos to, you know, essentially pray and worship and get excited about Jesus.

This is problematic for people apparently. Yeah. And they they go to great lengths to keep them from doing it. They basically banned me from working anywhere because they felt anywhere worked that I could teach or share ideas would be dangerous because they don’t like inmates praying together. They wanna keep them in in division.

There’s control. So but you don’t have to worry about they’re not gonna form a gang and escape. This is the Jesus gang. Alright. So this show wouldn’t be possible without sponsors.

And at this point in the show is where if you wanna partner with us, we would put your ad. So if you wanna be a part of the show, you wanna partner with us, you like what we’re doing, you wanna be on our team, what have you, bringing this show to the world, then email us and let us know. Alright. So, Howard, do you see the common theme here of what he was trying to do in the Muslim world and now what he’s trying to do in prison? Yeah.

He’s constantly building bridges wherever he’s at. And building bridges and promoting peace scares people in his mind because what if these gang members start meeting together for prayer? What could happen? And I love that he says it’s the Jesus gang. Oh, that was awesome.

It’s the Jesus gang. These guys aren’t gonna run away. They’re not gonna escape. Yeah. They’re just gonna pray for you guys.

To love one another. And so there is a hint of, like, idealism from Mark, but I don’t know that it’s really idealistic. It might just be that we’re supposed to believe that god could actually build bridges of peace and unity with some of the most divided people on the earth. And I think his work is showing it in the prison and in the Middle East and, you know, areas of conflict in the world. Wherever he goes, when he applies the principles that he’s learned from following Christ, it makes changes.

But in the same way that he was, in his mind, targeted by his own government, he feels as though now he’s being targeted by the prison system. And they go a step further, and they try to nail him on anything they can. But they tried. They’ve they threatened me with criminal activity 3 or 4 times, new charges, because my wife kissed me or my son put the phone on speaker phone so my daughter could hear a phone call saying it was illegal call. They were all dropped, but it was harassment.

And the more they harassed, the more the inmates respected me and the more open doors so just the opposite happened. Every so for over months, 20 copies of A Deadly Misunderstanding are floating all over the campus. The guards were reading it. The inmates were reading it. They said, whatever you do, don’t talk to the Muslims.

Okay. You talk to the Mexican heads, the Latinos, the Asians, and the the Africans, and the and the meth white guys, but please don’t talk to the Muslims. They will cut you up for sure. Alright. This is unbelievable.

He’s being gagged again. Don’t talk to Muslims. Stop talking to Saddam Hussein. Stop working in the Sudan. Do not meet with Gaddafi.

And now it’s like, do not talk to the imam in prison. And I just feel like Mark has this spirit about him that it’s like, who is it better for me to obey, God or man? Like, that’s what it sounds like. Right? And and and the idea behind it is the same.

Like, they will kill you. They will cut you up, you know, and it’s both in both scenarios, but that’s not what happens. Well, the first person I went to then is the head imam of the prison. I mean, the inmate, not the chaplain. And we had such a exciting conversation.

We started studying the Quran together. I had a audit a book signing session in his cell where he had 2 copies of my book and his sons were said were straying from the faith and he thought if they would read a deadly misunderstanding, maybe they’ll come back to God. So I’m sitting there autograph my book in the cell of the her imam with all these Muslims around praying, Bismillah Ar Rahman Ar Rahim in the name of God who is compassionate and merciful. So it was a riotous time in the context of the Holy Spirit moving. I was never threatened.

Everyone I had had my back from the Buddhist to the gangbangers. And there is prayer and deliverances and salvations and and life changes and but let me tell you something. I was probably the most changed myself. I mean, I went in there scared to death. Went from palaces to prisons.

Alright. Seems like Mark is actually having ended up having a really good time. Yeah. And the way that he describes his prison sentence is just not the way you would anticipate somebody viewing it. It reminds me of Paul, actually, of the apostle Paul because, you know, the circumstances, he said it was really hot, there’s cockroaches, it was really tough, A tough situation.

Obviously, he didn’t wanna be there, and then he ends up praising the Lord. Yeah. And it ends up being, like, well, sounds like revival’s breaking out. Yeah. And that’s really cool.

And I really think it’s neat how the way he views it is that he was the most changed by this process. Even though the holy spirit was totally working through him, he still is accrediting the fact that he was changed. And it sounds like everything was great, but it wasn’t all great. Mark eventually finds out that he’s got cancer and it’s terminal. Yes.

They it took him 4 months to do a biopsy, and they said, you have rhabdoid sarcoma, and which is pretty fairly indigenous to infants. And when it spreads to adults, they die in 6 months. And you’ve had it for probably 8 or 9 months. So you’re already in the record book, but you don’t have more than weeks, maybe 3 months to live. That’s the bad news.

The good news, you’re going home every week. So I decided voluntarily since I had no money, no insurance. Obamacare hadn’t been, implemented as yet, you know, for pre existing conditions. So I voluntarily went to a prison hospital in North Carolina to be treated at the at the, with the blessings of the US government and the federal penal institution. They paid for my radiation and surgery, and it was an anomaly, a miraculous anomaly.

I stood the only person according to Duke to ever survive this cancer, and I’m completely cancer free 3 years later. So prison, you everything could have happened horrible, did and didn’t happen. In other words, meeting all the wrong people, but the Lord turned it around as a blessing. Cancer, terminal cancer, well, it wasn’t terminal, but it sounded bad. But I look back at that whole experience.

I wouldn’t wanna repeat it, For sure. But God really used it in personally my own life. And I look back thinking, well, was it worth it? Well, it must be because I’m doing the same thing. Although, I’m not going to any countries under the sanctions of this government at the moment.

We are going to other countries and working on wars in Central Africa and other places. So before we ended the interview, Howard had this one question that he wanted to ask Mark Seljander. I just wanted to know what advice he would give to other Christian politicians. And I’d tell him the same thing I told the form one of the former Republican leaders of the Congress. We need to be completed or shalom, the real shalom or salaam in Arabic.

The real completion of peace will come as we love God and we love the Democrats, if a Republican or if a Democrat, the Republicans. And that’s completely contrary to common sense logic and political instincts. I know that, I’ve been there 30 years in DC, very aware of it. But since everything else has failed, I’m just looking for 1 or 2 politicians that would consider experimenting, perhaps at their political peril, this construct that Jesus taught about and applying it in a political situation because we’ve applied it in diplomacy. So I’ve told you all over the world.

Before we left, we asked Mark one last question. We wanted to know how he saw God using him in the future and what exactly it was that he was attempting to do now. I’m committed to continue the work in bridging between Muslims, Christians, and Jews and taking the model of peacemaking that brings Christian, Muslims, and Jews together through the powerful ideas of Jesus and apply those to areas of crisis and conflict. Alright, Howard. What what were your thoughts about our time with, former congressman Mark Zilljanger?

I can’t help but feel this trend. You know, in this studio, we’ve interviewed a lot of missionaries that have gone through a lot in their life, but they, like Mark Zillgander, attribute it to God. Yeah. There’s the bad, but then there’s also this eternal good, that results. And I kinda have that feeling with Mark is that, like, as I hear his story, I’m thinking inside, like, how how much I’m grieving for the guy because it’s like he can’t catch a break.

And everything that he’s trying to do is is for the Lord, and according to man, he says it himself in one part of the interview that he’s a failure. Yeah. I think for me, Howard, prior to meeting him, I had some presuppositions that I think he kinda blew out of the water. All I had known about Mark was from what he had written in his own book and from what I had seen in the media. And to the media’s, you know, defense, Mark actually was thankful for some of the things the media said, and he didn’t he wasn’t angry at the media.

But the media representations of him over the last 10 years have been pretty wicked. And so when I met him, I just thought, this isn’t the guy I anticipated meeting. He just had a real sweet spirit about him. Yeah. He wasn’t bitter.

Like, he really wasn’t bitter. You know, like, if I if I was in that situation, you know, any kind of crisis I go through, I’m just, you know, all of a sudden it throws me into a tizzy. I’m I’m sure, like, you know, he’s been there, but I’m just saying, like, I didn’t pick that up from him. No. I didn’t pick up any bitterness.

I actually picked up, a real sense of hope, gratitude. And I think that’s something that needs to be told in this story. That’s not a story the media is normally gonna tell about Mark Seljander. It doesn’t mean that Howard and I agree with everything that he said. It doesn’t mean that Howard and I believe everything that he said.

But we as we at least wanna be able to say that we told his story accurately. And so, Mark, if you’re listening, we hope that we told your story accurately and that you would approve.