Accomplishments

Writings – Our 26 staff members, 20 fellows, and other contributors published about 500 articles in 2022, on topics ranging from Daniel Pipes' take on Israel's partial victory and Jonathan Spyer's on-the-ground reporting from the Iran/Iraq border, to Sam Westrop's analysis of American Islamic finance and Ahnaf Kalam's outing of a fake anti-Muslim "hate crime." Our work appeared in mass publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek; D.C.-focused publications such as The Hill and The Washington Times; foreign publications such as The Jerusalem Post and The Australian; and specialist publications such as Defense News and Nordic Monitor.

Webinars – Our thrice-weekly series has attracted 9,000 unique participants. Recent topics have focused on how Qatar spied its way to the World Cup; Western Islamists realigning with the right; and how Israel stopped Syria's nukes. To sign up for notices of future events, click here. For past ones, please go to YouTube, or read select write-ups and transcripts.

Top MEF Advocacy Wins of 2022

1. #NoJetsForTurkey

As part of a coalition, MEF convinced Congress to issue a proclamation attached to the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) opposing the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey and condemning its repeated unauthorized overflights of Greek airspace. This followed months of government outreach and a letter-writing campaign asking Congress to pass an amendment prohibiting the arms sale until Turkey demonstrates that it will not use the American-made fighter to provoke hostilities with U.S. and NATO allies. In particular,

A. MEF organized an online campaign during crucial committee negotiations over the NDAA, facilitating over 800 connections between constituents and their congressional representatives. To capitalize on these connections, MEF's Washington Project reached out to those Congressional offices that received the most constituent letters.

B. MEF compiled two separate letters (here and here), signed collectively by over 60 members of the House of Representatives, opposing the sale of advanced F-16s and upgrade kits to Turkey.

C. MEF helped secure a resulting amendment (Sec. 1271 of the House version of the 2023 NDAA), introduced by Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH), which would restrict sales of F-16s to Turkey if it refuses to disavow using them against fellow NATO ally Greece. This amendment passed, with heavy outreach by all parts of the coalition, by a margin of 244-179. MEF and the rest of the coalition were cited in Pappas's press release.

D. MEF compiled a follow-up letter signed by 22 members of Congress asking that the Pappas Amendment be kept in the final version of the NDAA, as it was not included in the Senate version for complicated procedural reasons. This included at least one signatory who did not originally vote for the Pappas Amendment.

E. MEF Washington Project Director Smith met with officials from the Turkish, Greek and Cypriot embassies to gather intel and discuss our work on Turkey.

F. MEF published five articles related to its coalition work, at least one of which was widely read on Capitol Hill.

The Forum was recognized by The Hill for "advocating American interests in the Middle East ... [and] pressing Congress to overturn the Biden administration's planned sale of weapons and military equipment to Turkey."

2. Defeating Ilhan Omar's Islamist-Backed Legislation

MEF spearheaded grassroots campaigns against two Islamist-backed bills introduced by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), both of which expired.

Starting in January, MEF initiated a grassroots advocacy campaign to discourage U.S. Senators from supporting the Combating International Islamophobia Act, which would require the Department of State to establish a Special Envoy for tracking and combating "Islamophobia" globally. Advocates responding to the campaign sent nearly 1,000 emails and 200 tweets to their senators explaining how the "Islamophobia envoy" would be used to further Islamist goals by attacking American allies in France, India, and Israel, while ignoring the Muslims living under Islamic rule who experience the harshest forms of government oppression. Campaign participants have reported receiving positive responses from their Senators, and the bill will expire in 2022.

Shortly after visiting Pakistan, Rep. Omar introduced legislation accusing India of religious persecution targeting Muslims and other minorities. H.Res. 1196 called on the State Department to list India as a "Country of Particular Concern" under the International Religious Freedoms Act. including it among genocidal regimes and human rights abusers in countries such as China, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Iran. MEF organized a grassroots campaign that put constituents in touch with their Congress members, sending 324 emails and 82 tweets targeting members of the House of Representatives. Omar added just two co-sponsors to the bill before it expired.

3. Opposing Pakistan's New Terror-tied Ambassador

In January, MEF generated Congressional opposition to the appointment of Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S. Masood Khan, after an MEF report revealed Khan's involvement in anti-India causes and his close association with Islamist nonprofits tied to foreign terrorist organizations. First, Rep. Scott Perry (R-Penn.) sent a letter to the Biden administration citing MEF research and asking the president to reject Khan's diplomatic credentials "in light of Khan's perverse attachment to Islamic terrorism."

Next, MEF started a contact legislator campaign resulting in nearly 600 letters opposing the nomination that were sent to Congress in just two days. Biden approved the nomination despite these concerns, prompting a second letter from three Congress members asking Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate Khan's terrorist associations before awarding a diplomatic visa.

4. Exposing Bigotry and Election Fraud in Hamtramck, Michigan

MEF published an exclusive report revealing racist and antisemitic Facebook posts authored by the Mayor Amer Ghalib of Hamtramck, Michigan. The same report also exposed a social media post where the mayor admitted to multiple cases of potential voter fraud.

In response to this article, citizens of Hamtramck called for the local city council to censure Mayor Ghalib. Additionally, Harvard University subsequently replaced Ghalib as a panelist for a voting rights panel following an online pressure campaign.

StopGhalibFraud.com

5. Investigating and Sparking Congressional Inquiry into Oberlin Professor Mahallati

In September, two U.S. Representatives opened a congressional inquiry into an Oberlin College professor after an MEF investigation revealed his ties to Iran and Hezbollah. In a September 28 letter, Reps. Jim Banks (R-IN) and Virginia Foxx (R-NC) asked Oberlin officials to recount the process that led to its hiring of religion professor Mohammad Jafar Mahallati, who was involved in the alleged cover up of mass killings that took place in Iranian prisons during his tenure as a UN ambassador in the late 1980s.

6. Stopping Terrorists at the Southern Border

In March, MEF activists worked in conjunction with Uvalde County Sheriff Ruben Nolasco to convince local ranchers who own property along the U.S.-Mexico border to help prosecute and detain illegal immigrants entering U.S. territory. MEF helped convince 10 ranchers to become part of a "semi-permanent complaints pool," whereby any illegal aliens captured on their property could be held on trespassing violations, rather than sent to the federal government agencies known to observe "catch and release" protocols. The program is expected to aid in the interdiction of Special Interest Aliens, or immigrants from countries vulnerable to radicalization and terrorism recruitment.

7. Persuading Illinois Congressional Candidates to Boycott Islamist Event

MEF wrote to eight U.S. Congressional candidates from Illinois after learning that they planned to attend an August 17 candidate forum at the Mosque Foundation, an extremist mosque in Bridgeview, Illinois, allegedly involved in terror finance cases. Three candidates contacted by MEF ultimately chose to boycott the event.

8. Pressing Palm Beach School Board to Return Award from Islamists

A July MEF article detailed how members of the Palm Beach County School Board in Florida received awards from the South Florida Muslim Federation (SFMF), a terror-tied coalition of the region's most radical mosques and Islamist nonprofits. Islamist Watch activists called on three members of the School Board to return the awards, which were granted for allowing students a day off for a Muslim holiday.

After a meeting with MEF activists, Vice Chair Karen Brill agreed to rescind the award and never work with SFMF again. To convince the remaining two school board members to return their awards, the same activists attended an August 17 hearing, where they took turns criticizing SFMF's extremist connections. IW published a video of the hearing with an accompanying article.

9. Removing CAIR from Florida Governor's Program

On August 18, the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations published a Facebook post claiming that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis presented its office with a Certificate of Recognition for CAIR's work with "vulnerable populations in Florida" as part of the Governor's Faith and Community Initiative. MEF questioned DeSantis's office about this award and learned that the certificate was an automatically generated thank-you note sent to any group that signed up to the governor's program. "The faith office will certainly review this oversight and remove CAIR from our list of partner organizations," a spokesperson for DeSantis told MEF. (DeSantis co-chaired the Forum's Congressional Israel Victory Caucus when he served in Congress.)

10. Fighting San Diego County Funding of CAIR

After learning that the San Diego County Board of Supervisors was considering a bill to pay for the Council on American-Islamic Relations' banquets and fundraisers in California, MEF mobilized local residents to write to the county board and ask them to vote against the funding measure. Participants sent hundreds of letters and left 30 public comments opposing the spending that were entered into the government's records. MEF staff spoke at the live hearing and described CAIR-California's history of inviting extremist speakers to its banquet fundraisers. One district supervisor contacted IW to confirm that he would never allow CAIR to receive funding from his district.

11. Exposing San Diego Cleric's Fake Hate Crime

In March, a prominent Muslim preacher, Uthman Ibn Farooq, told the world he had been stabbed in downtown San Diego by a man shouting anti-Muslim slurs at him. He shared a video of the beginning of an angry exchange with a white male, and showed pictures of his bloody clothing. Crucially, Farooq claimed that he filed a police report with the San Diego Police Department (SDPD), and months later reported that his attacker was finally arrested.

MEF looked into the alleged stabbing after parts of Farooq's story appeared dubious and unlikely, determining that Farooq never filed a police report with SDPD. The San Diego County District Attorney also told MEF that none of the county's various police agencies recorded a stabbing against Farooq. MEF subsequently offered Farooq or anyone else $5,000 for information confirming the identity of the attacker and other relevant legal information confirming an attack.

12. Promoting Israel Victory

MEF's Israel Victory Project (IVP) reconstituted the Knesset Israel Victory Caucus with parties from across Israel's political spectrum, calling for new policies and spirit to defeat Israel's enemies. Maj. Gen. (ret.) Uzi Dayan, a former head of Israel's National Security Council, credited IVP with "ripening in the Israeli public the idea that things can't continue this way [i.e., endless rounds of war]."

IVP placed billboards throughout Israel featuring Ahmed Tibi and Ayman Odeh – the two most anti-Zionist Arab leaders in Israel – draped in Israeli flags with the caption: "This is what Victory looks like." The billboards dominated news coverage across the political spectrum (e.g., see these three TV news panels). "We ask nothing more than what Jews have offered when they live as minorities: loyalty to their country," MEF President Daniel Pipes wrote in far-left Haaretz, in response to its negative coverage.

13. Promoting European Counter-Islamism

MEF helped organize a coalition of reform Muslims, ex-Muslims, and non-Muslim allies in Salzburg, Austria to formulate a grand strategy to counter Islamism. The coalition will ask politicians to sign a "Salzburg Pledge," while combating efforts in the West to manipulate Muslims into extremism. The conference was positively covered by Riyadh-based Arab News.

14. Thwarting Qatari Drone Scheme

MEF uncovered a complex Qatari scheme to transfer American drone technology from South Carolina, where drones are designed, to Qatar and then manufactured and used by U.S. enemies such as Turkey and Pakistan. We informed the FBI, which followed up on the matter.