August 7th, 2010
06:23 PM ET

CNN host returns award from Jewish group over Islamic center stance

Fareed Zakaria, the CNN host and Newsweek columnist, has returned a prestigious prize to the Anti-Defamation League, another rebuke for the esteemed civil rights group's opposition to an Islamic center near ground zero.

Zakaria, who received the ADL's Hubert Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize five years ago, gave back the honor to ADL for publicly siding "with those urging the relocation" of the center, which would be located near the site of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

"I cannot in good conscience hold onto the award or the honorarium that came with it and am returning both," he said.

Watch Zakaria explain his decision

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Houses of worship • Islam • Judaism • Mosque • TV

soundoff (585 Responses)
  1. mak

    We can't have it both way, either we are the greatest county on planet or not. We can be changing constitution base on what people think. Why are we so attached to only NYC how about the other places the other plane crashed. Just a reminder Muslim tax dollar are going into building ground zero, Muslim tax dollar are being used in the war and some of the people who are against Islam are collecting unemployment, food stamp, free medical, etc. may be they want to return all of the money, because it has Muslim tax dollar

    August 29, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
  2. Dr. Shaun Goldstein

    Fareed Zakaria is a hate-filled bigot and should never be allowed to poison the airwaves again.

    August 25, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  3. Mike

    Many keep bringing up the feelings of the families of those lost in 9-11. This would be a vaild point, except that some have come down on both sides of this issue. For those that bring up the "no church in Saudi Arabia" arguement, since when do 2 wrongs make a right? Insults don't help either...they only serve to keep the "ugly American" image alive and well in the eyes of the world. Then there's the generalizations about Islam and it's followers all being terrorists; guess that also means that all Catholic priests are pedophiles-both statements are just as ignorant. Speaking of ignorance...not all Muslims are of Arab descent, and large populations of white Muslims exist around the world...not to mention non-Arab countries like the Phillipines.
    Most major faiths have, or had, issues regarding violent intolerance of other faiths...even within the faith itself. We're all too young to actually remember the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, or the Salem witch trials; but don't tell me everyone has forgotten the violence that occurred daily in Ireland between the Catholics and the Protestants?
    I could go on and on about the arguements raised against this Mosque & its community centre...including those using patriotism to hide their obvious racism...but most of you appear to have blinders on and won't listen anyway.

    August 24, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  4. Susan

    The United States of Islam, get use to it! I cant wait for the hate comments on my post,lol

    August 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  5. Denny

    I think they should build it and Islam should spread in the West....we really need it over here......, because I too believe that men are above women, and I too would love to marry a few 9 year olds, since my wife is getting old now ( these marriages are legal in most Muslim countries) (like Muhammed's favorite wife, A'isha)........ I too would love to have the death penalty for homosexuals (at least five Muslim countries currently have this...including Saudi Arabia and Iran), I too believe that I should be able to hit my wife if she talks back, I too would love to be a man in such a culture. If you were a man (or at least a cowardly power hungry one) it sounds great ( unless you are a gay man of course). I think we should build it...lets all be religious Muslims and the men can take over again.... Doesn't any of this stuff bother you? I bet if they had bombed Hollywood instead of the WTC you'd feel differently.

    August 19, 2010 at 1:44 am |
  6. Denny

    Mohammed's successor, Abu Bakr prescribed being burned alive as the penalty for homosexual acts, and you can do your own research on the teachings of modern Islamic scholars on homosexuality to see how "tolerant" Islam currently is. Just as many of you fight angrily against Christianity because you fear its spreading of hate, I think if Islam spreads there will be alot more hate than you see now, and alot less "tolerance". If they will stop disallowing (by penalty of death) any non-Muslims from entering Mecca, and I consider anyone who does not have a healthy skepticism of the current Islam to be as blind as anyone not skepical of the current KKK. And I certainly am not "tolerant" of the KKK, because they are not tolerant.. Are you? If you are really not an " Islama-phobe" , then go to a non-secular Muslim country and walk around......go ahead.......then give me your opinion. I do not fear secular Muslim countries, but the religious ones I do. To simplify it..... most very religious people believe in their religion too strongly to really be tolerant. And that includes the "religion" of secular humanism.

    August 19, 2010 at 1:13 am |
  7. Denny

    The one thing that always puzzles me is why the same people who are supporting the building of this mosque have not also been lobbying for ONE worship building other than a mosque to be built in the country of Saudi Arabia (the country contains only mosques now), or the city of Mecca even (where any non-Muslim entering the city will literally be killed if he is discovered in the city). Perhaps people would be more open to Islam if it were more open to others. If you are fighting for tolerance, why not fight for tolerance on BOTH sides?

    August 19, 2010 at 1:11 am |
  8. jaffa

    Muslims are the haters, they are intolerant & show no respect for other cultures. They use our political correctness and tolerance against us and continue to spread their backwards, destructive, depraved culture into areas that have long since moved on from such beliefs and practices. IMHO all religions are nonsense and all religious people are deluded, however, I see most religions and religious people as benign while I see Muslims as malignant.

    August 16, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  9. Acmed Shams

    can we not relocate?
    regarding extremism...


    August 12, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  10. Altee11

    This issue of the mosque near ground zero is complex and emotional. Fareed Zakaria made a statement through a grand gesture. It was a gesture meant to punish the ADL Dialogue before punishment may have been a better choice because.sometimes selecting the route of punishment makes things worse. Time will tell how his choice plays out for him and the ADL.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  11. curious

    Zakaria should get off his high horse. However the mosque issue is decided, let's at least show a little respect for the memories of the 9/11 victims–who were killed in a terrorist attack carried out by Muslims from a country that does not even allow churches to be built in its holy cities. The ADL is with the vast majority of Americans on this issue.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:58 am |
  12. Lee

    Either most people do not know history or they choose to ignore it. Since the beginning of Islam, every major victory over an enemy by Islam would find a Mosque built at the site of that victory. It is a beacon, a sign of victory and celebration of their triumph showing all Muslim's how the enemy has been defeated and forced under their design by being able to now rejoice in a Mosque at the site.

    This is no difference, and proven even more by the announcement months ago that the planned opening of the new Mosque would be Sept 11th of 2011. If this was truly about having a place to worship then it would not be an issue to build the Mosque a few blocks away, however it is being placed here for one simple reason, to be a sign of Islam's victory over the U.S. on Sept 11th.

    August 11, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  13. Mike

    One to remember.....Extend Fareed an olive branch and he will slap you in the face with it. Just so you know Italians, Irish Germans , and Hispanics dont want the mosque built there either. I guess you cant single us out since we wouldn't honor you in the first place. What next, beat them down if they dont agree with your favorite color?
    Zakaria, you turned out to be a real bum!

    August 9, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
  14. Peace

    I sent a comment and it has not been posted. Why? Should I sent it again?

    August 9, 2010 at 9:08 pm |
  15. Reality

    What Fareed Zakaria fails to say:

    What drove the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon? The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means. Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed. Then we can talk about the safety of mosques and what is taught therein. Until then, no male Muslim to include Fareed Zakaria can be trusted anytime or anywhere.

    Once the bowers to Mecca, however, see that they have been conned by the "angelic" hallucinations of a long-dead, warmongering, womanizing (11 wives) Arab, these 1.5 billion lost souls will quickly become secularists, agnostics or atheists and a semblance a global peace will spread across the globe

    August 9, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  16. Dutch Israeli


    Under the pretext of "religious liberty" you permit, no, encourage the building of a Mosque (whose financing is a mystery to many, not to those who know) close to Ground Zero? And you call people and institutions bigots that have sincere objections against this? Is your name-calling part of your personal kind of liberty?

    Let me put it simply: religious liberty is for those who promote, or at least permit religious liberty themselves. Once you refuse anybody else's religious liberties, you have absolutely NO right to make use of another country’s or culture’s religious liberties, as is the case with Islam.....as is clearly written in their holy book, the Qur'an, and as is clear every day with Islamic countries refusing any other religion, be it a person, a book or a place of worship. No worse, if you have another religion in countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Lybia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia, you always risk to be either thrown in jail or killed, like yesterday the execution on Afghanistan, in name of Allah, 9 volunteer physicians "just because they were Christians".

    Your reaction to return your ADL award is not only loathsome, but shows in reality how small you are. Do you realize how insulting that is? Especially in Islam this is taken very seriously, mostly punished by decapitation. But, don't worry, both Abbas and Nasrallah are now vying to offer you a Fatah Prize and Hezbollah Award, and I heard Ahmadinejad would like to be interviewed by such a great person you have become now, in their eyes.

    For me you have become an insignificant person.

    August 9, 2010 at 9:04 am |
  17. Bill

    What is missing here is that the ADL is right in opposing the Victory Mosque at Ground Zero.

    August 8, 2010 at 11:57 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.