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. WeealITea

    It will be interesting to see how the attacks on 9/11 are remembered at this new Islamic cultural center.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  2. Greg N

    Randall Lewis: They don't have to assume the ADL "is out of step" or "wrong" (phrases which do not appear in the article). A rebuke is an "expression of strong disapproval" which according to Zakaria's own words (which *do* appear in the article) is exactly what Zakaria intended. I don't perceive CNN doing anything other than reporting on an event. Of course they used "editorial liscense" (sic) in choosing to write the article at all, but that doesn't seem to be your beef. I suspect that next time you decide to return $10,000 because you are taking a stand for your conscience, that will be a newsworthy event as well.

    In the meantime, I'm personally impressed with Zakaria's stance on this issue, even though I have often disagreed with him in the past.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
    • Greg N

      I also feel obliged to point out two other things.
      1. It is not "a mosque." It is "a community center which includes a mosque." Kind of like a YMCA/YWCA including a Christian prayer room.
      2. When our "founding fathers" chose to protect "freedom of religion" in the Constitution, they explicitly discussed Islam as one of the protected religions (as can be found in written letters from that time). It seems that these folks are conveniently remembered when people talk about gun rights, and conveniently forgotten when it comes to the issue of whether a city such as New York should be able to establish or prohibit a religion in the issuance of building permits. Freedom of Religion happens to have come first (amendment #1), before gun rights (amendment #2).

      August 7, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
  3. Steve Smith

    Why would Jews attack a country that gives them billions annually?

    August 7, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  4. Sean

    IGNORANT. How does sticking up for his fellow Muslims make him a Jew hater? You obviously know nothing about the man.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  5. Chris (DC)

    Congrats to Fareed for maintaining his integrity. He is right. The ADL has ruined its credibility over this giant blunder. If they actually believe it is just about sensitivity then they never should have said anything. They are not the pro-sensitivity league. Clearly they are pushing an agenda while trying to deflect the real issue. Shame on them for getting involved.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Shawn Feaster: I agree with you!!! I always thought it was done by Bush and Cheney so they could start the Iraq War...

      August 8, 2010 at 11:45 am |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Tony: Right Israel started WWII right??? Racist like you blame Israel for everything that happens!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 11:55 am |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      To my understanding it isn't only the ADL that feels that way in NY!!! So why only go against them because they put Their feelings about the subject???

      August 8, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  6. Howard

    Despite the many advancements that Jews have contributed to the world, and despite the fact that Israel is the only democracy in the middle east, and despite the fact that Israel is a major force in helping the US fight terrorism, there will ALWAYS be people who hate Jews. At least we're moving in the right direction, when the majority of this country, regardless of religion, is opposed to the mosque being built near ground zero. Knowing that Jews and Christians have this in common should open the eyes of some, except for people like MANGO.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
    • Charles

      Those who tried to oppress the Jews came and went. The Jews keep on accomplishing and excelling.

      How would the muslims feel if we nuke the mecca and build a church a few blocks away?

      August 7, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
    • Shawn Feaster

      9/11 was an inside job.

      August 7, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
    • Oliver

      Israel is not the only democracy in the middle east. Jordan is a contitutional monarchy (like Britan), Egypt and Iraq are republics (like the US), so isTurkey.

      Also, I think he choise was the right one. The ADL was supposed to protect the rights of ALL religious groups, not just the ones that are currently popular in the country.

      August 7, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
    • Tony

      Believe it or not, the 9/11 happened because of Israel's opression of Arabs in Palestine and USA supporting that policy.

      August 7, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
    • kalel

      Charles..Obviously you are a Jew promoting the Jew! Yea, they keep excelling by taking from everyone else and being selfish. They don't excel for humanity, they excel only for themselves!!!

      August 7, 2010 at 8:05 pm |
    • kalel

      Thank you for that comment Tony! Another example that helps prove my point!!!!

      August 7, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
    • yammy

      howward ,
      You are the biggest moron. Read the world history.
      All your posts are full of wrong informations.

      August 7, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
    • NotIntoSillyPeople

      Howard, just so you know–there ARE Christian congregations in Mecca. They just don't advertise on the evening news.

      August 7, 2010 at 10:39 pm |
    • Sane

      Are you crazy, christian congregations in mecca? They don't allow Christians to practice their faith anywhere in Saudi Arabia – Chrisitans aren't allowed to build churches anywhere on Saudi soil except – the first church that was allowed to be built in relatively more open Qatar was only in 2008!!!!!!! Stop making up stories.. Muslims should not enjoy the privileges of a free society that they deny others in their own lands.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:52 am |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Amen To That!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 11:29 am |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Charles: The Muslin that live in the area did not have nothing to do with 9/11!!! So why should you punish them for something they had nothing to do with??? Our Prisons are full of Catholics!!! Do you think we should punish all Catholics because of that???

      August 8, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  7. Sean

    Fareed Zakaria is one of the most intelligent, well-spoken hosts that CNN has and he deserves a lot of respect.

    He's not doing this for ratings... He's doing it because he has a great deal of honor. Giving back the reward gives a clear message to the ADL that they really need to hear.

    The new movement among certain groups that makes it OK to target Muslims (Fascism) is really scary and needs to be stopped dead in it's tracks.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
    • Ana

      I don't agree with Fareed, I am not a muslim, and I don't want a mosque at Ground Zero. BUT... I totally support his right to make a statement by returning the award. He obviously has integrity and is expressing his own strong opinion on this mosque issue. We don't always have to AGREE with people to support their right of Freedom of Speech- remember, this is America.

      August 7, 2010 at 10:47 pm |
  8. johnrj08

    Zakaria is one of the more insightful, knowledgable journalists around today. And this decision, which I'm sure was a very difficult one for him, is an indication of how principled he is. The ADL's decision to oppose this mosque was a bad one and seems to contrary to the original charter of that organization. Allowing this Islamic center to be built in that area is a stick in the eye of Al Qaeda. Opposing it gives Al Qaeda exactly what it wants.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Don't you think that These People don't have the right to worry about it might happen again since it was Muslin that cause it in the first place??? I know all Muslin are bad... But I can understand where they are coming from... After all their is not a lot of love between the Muslim and the Jews as is!!! I'm Jewish and I have Muslin Friends... But not all Jews are Muslin feel the same way as I do are My Friends do!!! Look at all the People on here that hate Jews for know reason at all!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  9. Joe Williams

    Jews are our friends; Muslims are our enemies. No Jew has ever attacked the US!

    August 7, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  10. A Humanbeing

    Whatever Mr. Zakaria's motives are, they have to be respected as an individual's exercising their own opinion.
    He may not be the most tactful or objective person in the media but at least he doesn't seem to wear any underlying fear, anger or bitterness on his sleeve. Cowardly folks like "Mango" who harbor hatred are THE REASON why organizations like the Anti-Defamation League exists. It exists for all individuals, not just Jews.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
    • freepalestine

      except palestinians and their advocates...

      August 7, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
    • Fernando F.

      you implied that Mr Zakaria is not a "tactful or objective person in the media". That of course is relative. For you he is not. For me he is. I smell a little bit of hate in your statement. I will made the same comment if I was trying to put somebody down.

      August 7, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
      • Truculentturtle

        Typical liberal reply... attack and use either the Hate card or the race card to press a point forward... bankrupt tactics as ever.

        August 8, 2010 at 3:24 am |
  11. Howard

    Despite your dislike of Jews, I'm sure they'll continue to survive.
    By the way, where are the adults? This forum seems to be rampant with high school children.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
    • ReMote

      it's Saturday. Maybe that has something to do with what you are perceiving.

      August 7, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
      • ReMote

        Sorry, the above post was intended as a reply to Howard.

        August 7, 2010 at 8:45 pm |
        • John E.Hopkinson

          Your reply to Howard is in very poor taste.

          August 8, 2010 at 8:59 am |
    • Richard Nixon

      send all the jews to somalia! for free1

      August 7, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
      • pnfctg

        And morons like you, who most likely is the outcome of countless genetic deformations, should be sent to the land of no-return.

        August 8, 2010 at 12:44 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Would you rather have them here at least talking about real world issues if tolerace and hatred of talking about lady gaga or TI ?

      If there are kids here then welcome to real life kids. High school never really ends

      August 7, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
  12. notdumb

    I don't like Fareed Zakaria period.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
    • Tom

      I think you got your name wrong notdumb, need to drop the furst 3

      August 7, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
    • Renate

      (not) dumb
      You don't like Fareed Zakaria? Wow what an earthshattering anouncement.
      Who cares what you think!

      August 7, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
    • yammy

      you are a straight hater and biggest dump. Why don't u like Fareed? Just because he is a muslim? Yeah I know you all chosens are love to call all muslims terrorist.Now a days people know your trcks. Thanks to Americans.

      August 7, 2010 at 9:04 pm |
  13. hmmm strange

    mango, post your address and Ii'm positive you wont like any group of people.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
    • Howard

      I second that request.

      August 7, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  14. Michael A.

    What is with us in US. If any one stands for what they like, but not fully stupidly Jewish, it makes them with the enemy. Wake up US and find who is the real enemy.

    August 7, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Sane: It is funny when People bring the Jews into a subject that has nothing to do with it... It is alright!!! But mention the Catholics and it isn't???

      August 8, 2010 at 10:54 am |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      There is so much hate towards the Jews on here!!! That they are put into every subject that these Racist post on... Even if it has nothing to do with Us Jews!!! What else can you expect from them???

      August 8, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  15. nomoregbldgk

    it's not about hating jews muslims your mother's ex-boyfriend, wake Up people you can learn alot just by reading more " The Secret of Min" at a pageinthe life

    August 7, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
    • right

      would u plz quit asking ppl to go to that dmn web address? thx

      August 7, 2010 at 9:42 pm |
  16. Tom Mundy

    Zakaria is a brave man, but I think Zakaria's career is done. He could have done the politically correct thing to do, but he didnt. I doubt he will last another 3 months at CNN. To be a muslim and to promote the Islamic viewpoint ( however, right he might be ) is not kosher in America.

    August 7, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  17. randall lewis

    Interesting journalism. It is a rebuke to the Anti Defimation Leage when Fareed Zakaria returns the award. Why do you assume it is the Anti Defamation League that is out of step or in the "wrong" Isn't it just as possible that Mr. Zakaria is returning the award as a sign of HIM being out of step with society/community/etc. CNN using editorial liscense to put their own spin on the situation to advance the position of their commentator. Real honest journalism....

    August 7, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
    • Sean

      Wow! That's a dumb thing to say. Fareed chose to return the award because of the ADL's actions...

      He's not returning it because he realizes that he's wrong about Muslims deserving equal rights...

      August 7, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
    • deb

      Wow, you read too deeply into things. I doubt this is for ratings at all. If all religions are condemned for life due to the fanatical, then no religion could build anything anywhere. At some point, you and others need to realize that the fanatics do not represent the entire Islamic religion (or, if so, then the assumption can be that those christians that kill in the name of their god represent the entire christian religion).

      August 7, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
    • Gisele Fattal

      I find it rather noble on the part of Mr Zacharia in returning the prize. The ADL has alleged to be an organization working on behalf of minorities from all religious belief. In supporting the suppression of the Islamic centres right to freely build their community centre, the ADL indeed demonstrates that their agenda is more sweeping than a simple "rights protection" group.

      August 7, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
    • Lori

      @Gisele "The ADL has alleged to be an organization working on behalf of minorities from all religious belief. In supporting the suppression of the Islamic centres right to freely build their community centre, the ADL indeed demonstrates that their agenda is more sweeping than a simple "rights protection" group."

      That was not the ADL's position. They are not challenging the right of the Islamic group to build a mosque at that site. The ADL's position is that the pain of 9/11 is still so great that it may be a more *sensitive* thing to move to a different location. They made the same point when a convent was built right outside of Auschwitz (the Pope agreed and moved the convent a mile away).

      August 7, 2010 at 10:05 pm |
    • Bill

      Okay, what I read on these boards is disturbing, very disturbing indeed. You say that not all muslims are radical terrorists and that gives them a by... But Jewish people don't get one because they are all part of some grand scheme to oppress the world. Christians don't get a by because they are christians and everybody knows they are evil. Then you take these opinions and accuse people who don't like his views or his politics and accuse them of being bigoted, and racist. This sounds so much like the "radical" Islamic people that it is not even funny. I am sure you will attack this statement but frankly I don't give a krap. You are all acting like children.

      August 8, 2010 at 12:50 am |
    • Travis G

      @ Bill

      I assure you that the only Christians that are called evil are the Westboro church nuts who protest. The rest of us real Christians who don't froth at the mouth and are peace loving people really have no problems with other faiths. Just because I believe that Jesus is my path to God, doesn't mean that I need to force my crucifix into the face of other monotheistic faiths and halt them from performing their works. If we Christians wanted to build a center on that site, we would have found a way to do it. If our secular cousins wanted to build something there, they would have come up with the money to buy the building and exercise their will on the building project, but neither of us did.

      Instead of slapping the muslims around, and instead of making this a thing about the Jews being intolerant, lets work WITH the Muslims to make this a multicultural multi-faith center where we can all come together.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:32 am |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Jack why is it Bigot when a Jews protest something??? But let you talk against the Jews it isn't??? You are a real Racist against us Jews!!! I really wonder if you know whether You know a Jew are not??? I'm the only one I know that wears Jewelry showing I'm a Jew!!! That is because I'm proud I'm one... I hope You feel the same about Your religion???

      August 8, 2010 at 10:30 am |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Travis G: How would you feel if they build a Muslin in Rome??? The Jewish People as others feel it isn't proper there!!! I don't live there so I don't care if they do!!! But I can understand why NY feel that way...

      August 8, 2010 at 10:41 am |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Teufel Hunden: I can understand why these People are against it!!! I don't agree with them... But I also live in Calif. not NY!!! We have them here already including all the others Religions and Temples here!!! If maybe We had something like what happen in 9/11 I would feel different... So how is it Our right to say they are wrong??? Just as People that didn't have Family killed in the Holocaust wouldn't know how that feels!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 10:51 am |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Bill: Don't you know the Christian feel they are above everyone else!!! They can't do wrong... Even when they try to force Their beliefs on every one else!!! The only difference between the Muslin and Catholics is how they are trying to change the World...

      August 8, 2010 at 11:08 am |
  18. Sal Voce

    BIG DEAL! I guess Zakaria's ratings must be down so he had to do SOMETHING to get his name back in the headlines...too bad he chose to do something as totally STUPID as this.

    Eventually People will wake up and realize just how UN-benign Islamic agressive tactics really are...then it will be way too late...

    August 7, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
    • Howard

      I agree.

      August 7, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
    • Jerry

      so to get attention, he got the adl to send him a award so that he can send it back? you are a moron. He obviously has moral point to make and is going to stand by his conviction instead of just accepting the award from people he doesn't agree with. Sound like you would kept the award and kept quite about ur moral convictions. What a model citizen you are.

      August 7, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
    • don

      Do you have any proof for your point? Fox News and Sarah the Quitter don't count.

      August 7, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
    • Aaron

      Sal, if you had ever actually read Fareed's articles or seen his show on CNN you know that this is one of the last true journalists that are more interested in a story's integrity than it's appeal for ratings. It appears there are a lot of people blasting Fareed that don't even know who he is, other than a journalist with a strange looking name.

      Fareed clearly doesn't care about gaining ratings, (does he even still have a TV show anymore?), nor does he care how popular he is. What he does care about is exposing injustices and real issues, which unfortunately in America doesn't garner much in the way of TV ratings.

      Fareed is a highly respected journalist who could not possibly side with the wrong decision the ADL has made by siding with bigotry towards a religion that had nothing to do with 9/11. Yeah, I know some of you won't believe that, but 9/11 was not about a violent religion, it was about a violent group of individuals misinterpreting a religion. We have plenty of Christians in this country that do just the same.

      It is absolutely absurd for a group that defends discrimination to side with a discriminating ideology that blames all Muslims for the 9/11 attacks, or at the least expects them to hold their head down as if they are in some way responsible for the acts of a few foreign nutcases.

      August 7, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
    • ifly2

      Throughout history, whenever Muslims have won a battle they built a mosque. We cannot let this happen here!

      August 7, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
    • yammy

      sal V,
      you are the biggest stupid and blind ignorant.

      August 7, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
    • Bill

      Jerry, read SAL's post again... this time put your brain back in your head.

      August 8, 2010 at 12:55 am |
    • Bill

      Dan, this is an opinion area ... not a debate area.... why do you care? You are taking the typical liberal stance ... If so one does not agree with you then become combative.

      August 8, 2010 at 12:58 am |
    • Bill

      So Aaron, you may believe what you have said but there are plenty of people posting here that think Christians are evil. A group of christians interpreting the bible incorrectly is enought to condem all christians ... but the same is not true for Islam. Islam's radicals do not require censure of any kind .. .but you and all other liberals require the censure of christians because some christian radicals interpreted the bible incorrectly.... You need some consistency.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:03 am |
    • Bill

      Yammy, don't know what to say, that is a very confused statement, perhaps you need to calm down before you go hijack a plane and fly it into a building or something

      August 8, 2010 at 1:04 am |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      I don't know what is wrong with building a mosque where they want to build!!! It is not on the site... I think that they should build all the different Temples and Churches on the site!!! It would make it a religious area... It is a shame about what happen on 9/11!!! But it would be better if They did something like that rather what They want to do... That way all Regions would feel good about it!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 10:24 am |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Ex NCO: I wonder if you would know a Israeli if you ever meet one??? How do You know one of Your Friends might be one??? They are no different than anyone else!!! If you kill Their People... They will kill Your People!!! Isn't that what is happening now in Afghanistan and Pakistan??? How would you like it if some o9ne came where you lived and killed the People there??? Would You turn the other Cheek???

      August 8, 2010 at 11:03 am |
  19. Gregg P.

    *I dont like Jews either* WOW, what an intelligent thing to say.

    August 7, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
    • Tom

      You don't like Jews????????????? How does it feel to be a bigot?

      August 7, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
    • Ex-NCO

      Jews are cool. Its Israeli's I cannot stand.

      August 7, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
    • Fernando F.

      I hate bullies... Israelis are bullies... make your own conclusion.

      August 7, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      For one thing all the Jews are not like that... There are radicals in all Religion and the Jews have it in Their Orthodox Jews!!! They feel that the Conservative and Reform Jews aren't even Jews...

      August 8, 2010 at 10:20 am |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Really I could never tell how you talk about us!!! I hate Racist too... So that makes up even!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 11:23 am |
  20. Kristen

    Good for him. Zakaria is a class act. The ADL is wrong on this and should know better. Shame on them.

    August 7, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
    • don

      Thank you Kristen. When Fareed first showed up on CNN I didn't like him. But he has earned my respect.

      August 7, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
    • Adnan

      Now its about bashing the Jews. WOW.....typical american bigotry at work. Fareed Zakaria had a right to express his disagreement with the ADL by returning the award. But to suggest that he "stood up to one these powerful and influential Jewish Organizations" is clearly a bigoted remark. Why cant we disagree without the hate? Thats what weakens America. Agree to disagree without spewing divisive hatred. The Catholic Church is way more powerful organization. Lets just leave it there.

      August 7, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
    • Aaron

      I read through the entire article and nowhere did Fareed Zakaria say he "stood up to one these powerful and influential Jewish Organizations", as you claim. I'm not sure what you read, but it wasn't something that came from Fareed Zakaria.

      Perhaps that rewording is how you read what he wrote, but what I and most other level headed individuals read was a very eloquent and respectful letter of concern and disagreement with the ADL. He most certainly did NOT refer to this group as a "Jewish Organization", quite the contrary! He reiterated his deep respect for the organization for fighting against discrimination against all "religions, races, and creeds".

      August 7, 2010 at 7:56 pm |
    • nick2

      No Adnan, its about bashing ignorant Jews. Bigoted Jews. Fortunately Jews are a diverse as any other ethnic group – and I hope that people who value high moral ground continue to expose those who would spread hatred.

      August 7, 2010 at 8:08 pm |
    • TK

      Maybe if the Muslims really wanted to have peace they would show respect and build their mosque somewhere else. Not likely.

      August 7, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
    • jody

      Does his returning the award surprise anyone...Remember he is a muslim ......Gave him the benefit of that doubt ....Will no longer be watching him

      August 7, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
    • arlene

      Good for Zakaria! He should return the award. Shame on them for opposing the mosque.

      August 7, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
    • Jack

      "Now its about bashing the Jews. WOW.....typical american bigotry at work."

      A thoroughly asinine remark that positively reeks of the ADL and AIPAC. Here's a hint, Adnan: a lot of us have finally had it up to here with the decades-long, relentless victimization routine that we hear from the ADL quarter. You've finally milked it to death.

      It is the ADL that has adopted a bigoted stance by opposing the building of an Islamic center and in so doing has nullified any vestive of moral authority it had left.

      August 7, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
    • wearethem

      The ADL is not prejudiced against Muslims; they are deeply concerned they may lose their status as perpetual victims to another religious group.

      August 7, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
    • UDontKnowJack

      @Jack:"...finally had it up to here with the decades-long, relentless victimization routine that we hear from the ADL quarter. You've finally milked it to death."

      Would you tell the families of the 9/11 victims to "just get over it" too? Would you say the same about the NAACP as you did about the ADL?

      August 7, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
    • Gerry Dantone

      I would agree with Mr Zakaria that those fighting the mosque are betraying American principles of separation of church and state. If this were a Christian church, there would be no controversy. Under our Constitution, no distinction may be made. All religious beliefs and non-beliefs are equal under the law.

      However, although the proponents of the mosque are supposedly moderate Muslims, a mosque, or ANY religious institution so near ground zero can be considered offensive by some persons .

      For example, a Catholic orgnization proposed a memorial near a Nazi death camp in years past. Although technically legal, it made little sense. It was in poor taste even if the organization had the best of intentions in honoring Christian victims of the Nazis and their armies (since the Nazis and their armies were overwhelmingly Christian themselves.)

      Is a mosque (or even a church) near ground zero in poor taste? Probably to many, since 9-11 was the greatest faith-based initiative of all time and those of us who are secular are offended that the faithful have placed us in the middle of their holy wars. However, offensive speech is protected in our country (although ironically not in most Muslim countries.)

      As a patriot I would defend the rights of those who propose this mosque; as a humanist, I am saddened and resigned to the fact that they probably still just don't "get it."

      August 7, 2010 at 9:31 pm |
    • FelipeBR

      I agree with Aron, it was a very respectful letter and he was exercizing his right to desagree and therefore being consistent with his believes.

      August 7, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
    • FelipeBR

      @Adnam., How did the catholic church got into that?

      August 7, 2010 at 9:34 pm |
    • Nancy Solomon

      I, too, believe that Mr. Zakaria was correct to return the award and the honorarium. I'm also disappointed in the ADL's
      opposition to the mosque. I view the mosque as an attempt to reach out to the Muslim and non-Muslim communities and work toward reconciliation. I also see it as a valuable educational resource. In general, all of us need as many opportunities as possible to get to know one another. With luck, the more we understand and respect one another, the safer we all might be.

      August 7, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
    • UDontKnowJack

      @Nancy: "I view the mosque as an attempt to reach out to the Muslim and non-Muslim communities and work toward reconciliation. I also see it as a valuable educational resource."

      That is a very positive outlook that is unfortunately not grounded in reality. How many non-Muslim New Yorkers do you think are going to visit this (or any) mosque for educational purposes and reconciliation? About the same chance that your local mosque holds a Ramadan bake sale at an elementary school.

      August 7, 2010 at 9:45 pm |
    • Travis G

      I'm a Christian, but I have finally gotten behind this mosque thing. No one else was bringing any value to the building at that site, I'm glad someone decided to step in and do something about it. I applaud FZ for doing what he felt was right. Perhaps cooler heads will prevail and embrace the Islamic community and thank them for the beautification that will most likely come from this construction effort.

      I think it's high time that the zealots I'm ashamed to worship alongside return to embrace the peaceful teachings of our religion. To my fellow Christians, peace be with you, and to my Islamic friends out there assalamu alaikum during these perilous times.

      August 7, 2010 at 9:46 pm |
    • anancain

      Mohammed is rolling over in his grave with the way the sons of Cain – not the sons of Ismael – have used the prophet's words to justify hatred and murder. True sons of Ismael need to step forward and shout the words condemning the actions of terrorists. Sons of Ismael have the strength to die for speaking the words of truth. Sons of Ismael need to bring honor to the name of Islam.

      August 7, 2010 at 9:49 pm |
    • bp

      Agree 100%. It's surprising that the ADL came down on the side of bigotry and intolerance with this issue.

      August 7, 2010 at 10:10 pm |
    • Big Joe

      Let's see how long it takes before they call him anti-semitc (funny since he's of arab heritage) and a holocaust denier to boot.
      Glad he's tearing down the zionist wall.

      August 7, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
    • Timmy

      Here's the amazing part – The Muslims working in the Pentagon have prayers daily, INSIDE the Pentagon. They have since 2001. These sheep haven't complained about that one bit. These maggots come crawling as soon as the media starts making an issue over nothing.

      August 7, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
    • Rose

      Shame on you, Kristen! The Anti-Defamation League is completely right on this one, and if you knew anything about conservative muslim culture or what the muslims are saying about this imosque in their own Arabic media, you'd eat your words. This is not about tolerance or racism. The fact is, (and this comment is coming from a muslim friend of mine), this mosque is being built to symbolize a beachhead for Islam in America that began with the 911 bombing. It signals to all the muslim world that the United States, beginning with 911, is now formally targeted for conversion to Islam. If you can find someone to translate the Arabic for you, go look up in the Arabic media and see what the backers of this mosque are saying. It's completely different than what they are telling the non-Arab media. Believe me, the builders don't support tolerance, diversity or dialogue in the name of peace. The only peace for them is for America to become Islamic, and they will do it through any means possible, even if it means lying to your face, which is OK for them as long as it accomplishes their purpose. If you don't believe me, check out the countries where the backers are from – there is no tolerance, religious diversity or interfaith dialogue. So wake up and get informed!!

      August 7, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
    • Who needs him

      Many Muslim countries don't want Chsitians in their countries or practicing their faith. This is scared ground to America & to allow Muslims anywhere near this site is a disgrace. It's our Christian country & that's what it was founded as–just as Muslims don't want Christians...we really don't want them. If it's built I hope it's taken out like how Muslims bomb Christian churches.

      August 7, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
    • massms

      I expected Zakaria to be above such childish nonsense but it appears he's no different than the rest of his tribe. What an empty jesture.

      August 7, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
    • willowspring

      Adnan is turning Zarkaria's decision into a Jew hating position. No, he is standing up for what he believes in. At this time he still has the freedom to do just that.

      August 7, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
    • Teufel Hunden

      Gotta say a big "F no" to a mosque at ground zero, and i'd love to say I am suprised that FZ sides with the other spinelss folks that support this. I'll make a deal with ya, i' ll support it just as soon as we can build a synagogue in Riyadh.

      – always faithful

      August 7, 2010 at 11:55 pm |
    • Travis G

      @ Who Needs Him

      This is exactly the type of hate speech coming from Christians that makes us look bad. Our nation may have been founded on some Christian faiths, but we are a nation that enjoys an almost absolute freedom of religion. Just because some other countries practice theocracy, and those religious leaders don't want us there doesn't mean that we transfer that belief here. We need to lead by example, and I'm afraid the example you're setting is that of ignorance and intolerance. Fall back to your Christian teachings and turn the other cheek.

      August 8, 2010 at 12:11 am |
    • anti-Kristen

      Hey, Kristen, have you lost somebody close to you on 9/11? Apparently not. You and all others that are so fast to name others bigot, because they think that those who lost family members and friends deserve consideration. Why muslims are hell bent on building this "community center" right where it hurts so many people? So if we ask for sensetivity, it is bigotry? I would much rather be called a bigot that have sharia a part of the law in this country. Shame on all for not remembering the history, shame on all who is passing politically correct jugment without knowing basic historic facts. CNN need to listen to Fox News.

      August 8, 2010 at 12:22 am |
    • Travis G

      @ Anti-Kristen

      I'm sorry if you've lost anyone close to you in 2001, and I certainly don't want to make things harder for you. But part of the process of grief is acceptance, and then moving forward. Land is a precious commodity, and in these days if there are no plans on improving a piece of property, then someone with an ample pocketbook needs to step in and buy it. Those of us who wanted something other than a mosque/community center to be built there had ample opportunity to buy the property and improve upon it. The group currently building the mosque were the only ones committed to doing something with a piece of property that needed to be improved.

      The only real solution here would be to buy the property back, and then do something with it. We can't make that entire area into a shrine. Ground zero where the two towers fell is already enshrined, and someday we'll have an adequate memorial there. Holding concentric areas outside of ground zero in moth balls because it hurts is counter productive to our collective grieving process. We've shed our tears, and God knows that the media will twist the knife every Sept, 11, but we can't keep holding ourselves back.

      August 8, 2010 at 12:33 am |
    • Kelly

      Hey, "Anti-Kristen", would you please open your eyes and think about what you're saying right now? Supporting the building of a mosque at Ground Zero is not the world-dominating, anti-American move you think it is. Or are you only speaking for the white, Christian victims? Have you done your research? It's not like the Muslim faith was spared heartache and suffering that day. Based on various sources, over 60 practicing Muslims....who were NOT terrorists, might I add, were killed on 9/11. Do you think the terrorists sent out one big text message, urging Muslims to avoid airports or the World Trade Center that day? What about the families left behind? What about the hatred they have to bear simply because they share the same religion as the terrorists? Trust me, I know from experience that people can have the same religion, but not the same beliefs. Muslims may not practice what you consider to be the "right" religion, but they are allowed to practice nonetheless. Remember, 9/11 was a painful day for all Americans and to perpetuate hatred even among our own ranks shows 1) that we have learned nothing and 2) it'll happen again.

      August 8, 2010 at 12:43 am |
    • Sane

      @Adnan – Are you just so used to spewing hatred about the catholic church that you pull it out of your hat of excuses even when it has nothing to do with the issue?

      August 8, 2010 at 1:34 am |
    • MKLS

      It sounds to me like he never deserved it in the first place. That so called "islamic center" should never have been approved there, and shame on them for pushing this issue. What about being sensible to the opinions of the majority- we have a right to object and not have the BS that is political correctness being thrown in our faces every time. Political correctness is a 2 way street. They should be held to the same standards.
      The same way they have a right to burn the flag, we have a right to stand up and say "Enough is enough!" Besides, you don't see us going to Damascus or Tehran building Christian churches.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:45 am |
    • Nite Shayde

      Oh look, a whole column of antisemitism at it's best. I'll look forward to the next Holocaust.

      August 8, 2010 at 3:08 am |
    • vousmonde

      Maybe he should move to Pakistan where Muslims cut off people's heads, put them on sticks and give it to a Taliban General as a trophy ....

      August 8, 2010 at 3:11 am |
    • joseph cecil smith

      yawn.. the Islamic Center is actually across the street.. it's legal, but very poor taste, and loyal jihadi's will DEFINITELY come there and pray to Allah, whilst hating the infidels. it won't be obvious, but it's going to happen. But the ONLY reason it will happen is because of all the stink raised by opponents.. pass it during the night and nobody would have even noticed.

      August 8, 2010 at 3:19 am |
    • Sol

      This is soooooooooooooooooooooo your typical CNN. They should just come out like PRESS TV and state we are Anti Israel and are not fond of Jews.

      August 8, 2010 at 8:29 am |
    • Thomas T.

      Looking over all of these comments, I see that a lot of people are "tap dancing" around several points. Our country founded on several principles including freedom of religion. But what people need to realize is:
      The First Amendment contains two clauses about the Freedom of Religion. The first part is known as the Establishment Clause, and the second as the Free Exercise Clause.
      The Establishment Clause prohibits the government from passing laws that will establish an official religion or preferring one religion over another. The courts have interpreted the establishment clause to accomplish the separation of church and state.
      The Free Exercise Clause prohibits the government from interfering with a person’s practice of his or her religion. However, religious actions and rituals can be limited by civil and federal laws.
      On the last sentence.... There is no law against practicing your religion, or not having one. But when your practices, rituals and actions taken in the name of your religion bring harm to another person, then you become succeptable, at the worst, to possible criminal prosecution.
      No one can stop you from choosing Islam as your belief system, and no one can stop you from conducting Islamic rituals. The problem is when people wrongfully choose to cloak their criminal and terroristic activity under the guise of Islam to bring hate and harm to others. One must ask oneself why a group would want to build a center identified with a religion that was perverted by terrorists to murder a great many people within spitting distance of the scene of the crime? Is it so that they can bring harmony to those who lost loved ones in the terrible act committed in the name of Islam? Why THIS particular siight? The building has to come down before the proposed building goes up.
      I am all for building religious centers of worship. I am just wondering why this particular site, with its recent history, was chosen.
      Tell me if this would be irony.... sometime in the near future after this center is built, a terrorist act occurs on our home soil again. During the inevitable investigation, it is detirmined that those who participated in the act itself or who aided in the planning were influenced at that center..... wouldn't be ironic that the very center (I use center instead of mosque even though the mosque would be the main purpose of the center) built so close to Ground Zero was used to bring terrorism back to our cities? Granted, that is a worst case scenerio, but you have to admit it IS a plausable one, and a justifiable concern.
      And for the record, other religions have been used to bring harm of some type to other people, like the Protestant/Catholic conflicts in Northern Ireland to the right-wing extremist groups who use contorted Christian beliefs to suit their goals, and others; the focus right now is the concern that terrorists and extremists will use this center to hide behind.

      August 8, 2010 at 8:56 am |
    • Interfaith Forum for Peace, Harmony and Solidarity

      We congratulate Fareed Zakaria to this heroic act... Returning the Award and the remuneration with it to the ADL group is a good way to begin Ramadan.

      August 8, 2010 at 9:21 am |
    • nwman7

      ya'll are all ignorant. Muslims place mosques wherever they have conquered a land. To allow this mosque is like a white flag. Please get a backbone and stand up to this degrading event.

      August 8, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
    • lindy

      Churches and Synagogues are not allowed in Mecca. How does Zakaria feel about that?

      August 8, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • lindy

      Where is the respect for the families of 911?

      August 8, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
    • Patrick

      Letting this mosque be built at ground zero is like erecting a statue of Adolph Hitler in a former Nazi concentration camp.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
    • wasabiwahabi

      Shame? "Fight those people of the Jews and Christians who do not believe in Allah and
      the Last Day, do not refrain from what has been prohibited by Allah and His Messenger and do not embrace the religion of truth (Al-Islam), until they pay Jizya (protection tax) with their own hands and feel themselves subdued."9:[25-27]

      August 8, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
    • Mona

      Fareed, Congratulations on your courage and being a principled man. This stand may hurt you politically and with CNN. I truly hope it does not. This country that I love, to which I chose to emigrate and which provided me, a single woman many opportunities, is based on Freedom of Religion. Perhaps this is an opportunity to begin a dialogue about the true teachings of Islam and how it is being kidnapped by Islamic estremists

      August 8, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
    • Poppy

      Joseph cecil smith: It isn't across the street. It's two blocks away and not even visible from Ground Zero.

      August 8, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
    • Bill

      I hope that put a massive golden Buddha right next to the statue of liberty. We are getting so soft we should really start preparing for the arrival of China when they finally decide to demolish us while we are too busy trying to get other nations, races, religions, ect. to like us. Ohh.. we need to be liked soooo bad.

      August 8, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
    • Lynn

      I had always supported and appreciated the ADL fighting prejudice not only toward Jews but toward any group that experienced prejudice. Foxman's stand against the Mosque undermines what I had always thought of as the core beliefs of the ADL. I applaud Fareed Zakaria for his principled and public stand.

      Prior to this distrbing incident, there was the equally disturbing lack of response from the ADL (as well as other human rights agencies) when a community in Staten Island violently opposed a Catholic Church selling its property to a group wanting to build a Mosque. The story and the pictures reminded me of 1968 in Selma and the famous quote "when they came for the Blacks, I wasn't Black so I did nothing and when they came for the xxxx, I wasn't that either, so I did nothing and when they came for me, there was no one left to help.

      We're on a slippery slope. I would be interested in working with a group taking active steps to fight intolerance toward all groups- including Muslims? Do you know of one?

      I was shocked and deeply disturbed and would like to work with others committed to a more open and accepting community.

      August 9, 2010 at 11:31 am |
    • Chris

      Kristen what is wrong with you. Wake up!!This is sick, twisted, rancid, pathetic, profane and offensive in the extreme. But this is what they historically do. Muslims see our 3,000 murdered citizens as a conquest to be celebrated, so they’re going to memorialize their bloody victory by establishing a mosque in honor of that sad morning.

      Whiny Islam says we must not draw any offensive cartoons and must remove Jell-O from public schools because of trace pork products; they demand people be fired for bringing BLTs to eat at lunch; they want to rename our wars and re-write our history because it wounds their sensitive psyches; and in return they want to jam a 13-story, 100 million dollar Ground Zero mosque up our tailpipe.

      August 9, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
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About this blog

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.