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. snj

    Way to jump to a nonsensical and illogical conclusion about one of CNN's finest reporters, you dummy.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
  2. joseph cecil smith

    giving the award back is just to make news.. opposing ADL in print or blog or on camera is enough, but had to make a splash.. so wrap $10k around the opinion and hurl it into the commons.. i give back this award.. for six years i accepted, but now, i want a divorce.. whatever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the community center should look nice, and modern.. and it should promote higher issues.. it's not right near the site anyway.. blocks away. this mosque isn't the insult to the families, our govt and the lies and failures are the real insult. they had advance notice hijackings could target big buildings, but the govt didn't put marshalls on planes til late, the CIA ws tracking and the FBI was tracking the 9-11 hijackers, all kinds of warnings, but our govt isn't as much for the people, bought out by business.. which is part of WHY the hijackers targeted us anyway, because of corruptions govt conduct and the way Israel oppresses Palestine, as our govt allows it.. Zion should be, but must wait until the Hebrews learn the lessons of the Holocaust: Never harm children of the holy, that most definitely includes Palestine, with a shared capital of Jerusalem.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
    • DR DAVID

      What a peice of trash writting. It doesn't matter if the CIA and FBI or SKY Marshalls did or didn't do their jobs the right or wrong way. No one in those building asked to be in the middle of your war. Were the twin towers in the middle of a mine field. Did it fly the Isreali Flag at high mast. What stupidity. Those people wer just doing their jobs and living their lives in those building s and even after 9 year you and others here wnat to somhow make them casualties of war. Please, you leave this counrty also! This is the United States of America... made and built by Americans of all shapes, sizes, and colors... We don't want a part of your wars and biggotries.

      August 7, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
    • levine

      Hello hate monger.
      Showing opposition to ADL or Israeli incursion is not hatred toward Jews.It is right thing to do.
      Remember, the old trick does not work now a days.

      August 7, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
    • NotIntoSillyPeople

      DR DAVID, really?

      You resorted to the lamest retort in the book–"get out of my country that was build by real Americans".

      First, nearly none of our European ancestors (allowing for the Vikings) were here before 1492 and no permanent settlements were built by English speakers till 1600 or so. The Spanish were already here 100 years, so think about THAT part while you spew the racism.

      Second, the only "real "Americans" were here about 30,000 years before your ancestors and they are pretty P.O.'d at the whole " 'our' country" schtick. I know my relatives are not amused.

      Point is, silly man, ALL the founders of this nation were immigrants. Up until the day the Revolutionary War was won by the colonists, the fighters were considered terrorists and insurgents by the British government since those in revolt were British subjects. The real nation building came later and on the backs of immigrant labor who weren't all Protestant Christians who spoke the Queen's English.

      To use your own foolishness against you as the odds are good your family immigrated, too–"Go back where YOU came from!"

      August 7, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
    • NotIntoSillyPeople

      As an addendum to my post–DR DAVID, did you even catch the irony of the person's "nom de plume"?

      Clever and pointed...

      August 7, 2010 at 11:45 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      So you are saying the Jewish People have no right to Their opinion especially if it has to do with Muslin??? But the Catholics have the right to force Their believes on the rest of the World???

      August 8, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  3. jaffa

    The fact that they want this monument to Islam so close to the site where they killed thousands confirms that Muslims truly are vile and hateful.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
    • tolerant

      10% of the 911 victims there were Muslims and many Muslims participated in the rescue effort. Moreover, the Muslims who are trying to build that center are not the same as the ones who committed the evil acts of 911. America needs the moderate Muslims in its fight against radical Muslims, for her own security.

      August 7, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
    • jeff

      it's not a "monument to islam", smart one. do a little research before just accepting what rush and glenn feed you nutjobs. it does include a mosque, yes, but also an inter-religion center for people of all faiths to get to know and understand each other, to eradicate the hate people have towards others just because of their religious faith (or lack thereof), whether it be against christians, jews, muslims, hindus, etc. it's scary how ignorant some of us have gotten.

      August 7, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
    • jaffa

      Sure we need more moderate muslims like Muzzamil Hassan, remember him, the 'moderate', touchy-feely muslim who wanted to show the 'true' islam, he was so keen to engage with others that he started Bridges TV to promote the friendly side of this wonderful peaceful religion. Unfortunately he's in jail now for beheading his wife in his office at the TV station in Buffalo NY.

      August 7, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
    • tolerant

      To jaffa: So I guess, every single one of the 1.5 billion Muslims is evil, including those who have sacrificed their lives fighting evil alongside the Americans, those who fought with the allies in WWII, and even those who have perished during natural disasters, right?

      Your capacity for stereotyping is amazing! A clear sign of ignorance and hatred.

      Thank God, the more responsible people in America recognize the need to support moderate Muslims to defeat the evil of Radical Islam.

      August 7, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
    • levine

      Hello bigot.You need some type of anti-bigotry training to fix your alignment problem.

      August 7, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
    • NotIntoSillyPeople

      jaffa, remind me to tell my Muslim friends in the U.S. military right now that they should stop fighting right now because it isn't worth their deaths to protect idiots such as yourself.

      August 7, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      The American Muslin had nothing to do with 9/11!!! Just as not all Catholic are Criminals...

      August 8, 2010 at 1:28 pm |
    • John E.Hopkinson

      @ tolerant::
      It appears to me that the underlying problem is the fear of the writings in the Koran. You may consider some Muslims to be "moderate", and I know several who appear to be just that. But But.......But, these moderates will succumb to the teachings of the Koran when pushed by external forces. (Any threat to the existence or promulgation of Islam.) It is in their psyche to react that way, and was injected into their psyche at a very early age.
      "Give me a child at the age of 5 and I will have that child as a Catholic for the rest of his life" (Catholic priest)
      "Be careful what you put into that small mind because you will never ever get it back out." (Wolsely??)
      So moderate is probably a dhimmi delusion. However, the children of Western Civilisation need to practice the moderation and tolerance fwhich has assisted in the development of the most advanced democracies in history.
      From this perspective, you are correct in your crticisms.

      August 8, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  4. rural Amerians

    Caliphate National News reports that (for religious reasons) one of their own returned a gift from some extraordinarily awesome people - ah, ok - do he think returning the gift will save his credibility as a, whatever-he-is host at CNN?

    You people at CNN are forcing independent thinkers to turn to Fox News - thanks for nothing.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:44 pm |
    • Oldphoto678

      Anyone that turns to fox was never a independent thinker.

      August 7, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Sure someone from SC would say that!!! Go UCLA... (Wink)

      August 8, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      If they are turning you to fox!!! You have to be really stupid to do so... At least CNN gives both sides of the story... Not like Fox with Their lies!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 1:26 pm |
  5. ReligionIsEvil

    Abraham should have used a condom.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:44 pm |
    • Abe

      Don't you mean Adam?

      August 7, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
    • Adam

      Hey, I didn't know any better, k? The woman tempted me. How was I supposed to know all this was going to happen????

      And I didn't have any money to put into the condom machine because it hadn't been invented yet. Get off my back already!

      August 7, 2010 at 9:23 pm |
    • TrojanMan

      Did someone say rubber?

      August 8, 2010 at 12:23 am |
    • IsaacandHagar

      @TrojanMan FAIL

      August 8, 2010 at 1:43 am |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Then People like you wouldn't be around!!! Don't blame Adam... Blame the way you were brought up!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Your Father should have used one!!! Not Adam...

      August 8, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  6. religions spread hate

    devout muslim men are mostly misogynists- (reference- moslem woman/girls have to shroud their bodies b/c moslem men have no self control.& subjugate them)
    Religions are sexist find your own spirituality, unless you have a sheep mentality and need to be told what to do .

    Its rude putting a mosque 180 metres from ground zero.it insensitive have some respect
    .ground zero is a place for mourning.put up yr mosque and wait for some disturbed person to firebomb it-really smart.

    why would a muslim want to stay living in the u.s.a if the u.s is so terrible to moslems anyway?why arent you living in a islamic country if islam is so wonderful.??

    August 7, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  7. Bill

    Good for Zakaria. The ADL is acting against its mission on this one, and it's fairly obvious why. In order for their mission to have any credibility, it needs to supersede religious and political differences.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      That is a real Racist thing to say about the Jews!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
  8. toby hill

    Anmar, are you saying that everyone should support terrorist or they are one? The way you phrased it doesn't mention Muslim, it merely mentions terrorist. I am against terrorist and I'm against the mosque being built where it's being built.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
    • Anmar

      I am not too fond of the mosque being built there either but I will not side against those who want to build it and generalize them as terrorists, or terrorist sympathizers as some of the comments here implied. My comment was a general one that sometimes people are labeled as pro terrorist simply because they have an opinion that is critical of the US or Israel or show some support for the Muslim world. I am a non Muslim but grew up amongst Muslims and the vast majority of them are peaceful and loving people who have nothing to do with terrorism. Most of us here are guilty of viewing the world in black and white

      August 7, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
    • levine

      be agaist terrorist, thats fine . Don't be against Mosque or Islam. Get your common senses back you bigot.

      August 7, 2010 at 9:26 pm |
    • NotIntoSillyPeople

      Toby, bet you have NO clue as to where the proposed site actually is. Hint–it ISN'T at "Ground Zero" (a really poor use of the term for the attack site because that term is generally used in referencing the two atomic bombings that took out almost 100 times as many people).

      August 7, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Not all Muslin are Tarriest like not all Catholics are Criminals!!! There are good and bad in all Religions... So why pick on them because of 9/11???

      August 8, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Can you tell Me how building a Mose has anything to do with Tarriest??? You are saying that all Muslin are Tarriest that way!!! That is not fair to the Muslin... I'm Jewish and I still feel that way!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  9. Jerry

    Mango is exactly whats wrong with America today. I totally agree with "A humanbeing".

    August 7, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
  10. babzc

    I am of no particular religious persuasion.i do not attend church services . if this gentleman feels he must return his prize to sleep at night , more power to him. i lean more towards thinking nine eleven was a conspiracy than the reason we are at war in the middle east, since we are not at war with saudi arabia and most of the hijackers on the planes were saudi..but i know if this mosque is built no one who worships there will ever have a moments peace inside of it. there will have to be guards outside, because you know how "offended"people are about patriotism and religion .is that what is preferable in our houses of worship ?fear? my friends who were in 9 11 will never be the same and i only have a few friends that were there on that day . i cannot imagine that all that many people of new york city will ever be the same. their shattered nerves and assaulted bodies deserve the final vote of what is put on that holy ground (if there is any more holy ground than ground zero it is gettysburg, and we all reverently visit there.)

    August 7, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
    • NotIntoSillyPeople

      I understand what you are saying about the Saudis and I have made the same argument several times. However, you forget–they already have a mosque in that neighborhood and this new structure is to replace the existing one which is too small for the services they already provide to the community.

      August 7, 2010 at 11:13 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      If it is a HOLY GROUND??? What is wrong with a Muslin Temple being build near it??? After all it is one of the Temples of GOD!!! If they are afraid the Muslin will use it for another 9/11??? Get over it already!!! There are good Muslin just like there are good and bad in all religions...

      August 8, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  11. keyser soze

    The vast majority of American citizens and New Yorkers do not want this mosque and Islamic centre in that location. It is insensitive and down right disrespectful to the memory of those killed on 9/11. Fareed Zakaria needs to understand that America is a democracy and the wishes of the people should be respected.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
    • Greg N

      Can you help me understand how someone... anyone... building something to commemorate the sad events of 9/11 is "disrespectful?" The people who are doing this are spending their hard-earned money to build a center where people of ALL religions can meet, get to know one another, and NOT hate each other the way so many people posting here seem to do right now.

      August 7, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
    • levine

      Keyser soze is a stupid ignorant.
      You need to see how many muslim Americans are killed in 9-11 attack. Tell me how many Jews been killed in 9-11? answer is none . Can you smell something now.
      Take your head out of the stupidy box.

      August 7, 2010 at 9:23 pm |
    • NotIntoSillyPeople

      That's because most New Yorkers don't realize there are ALREADY mosques all over the city and that the proposed mosque is not a new one, but to replace one in the same neighborhood.

      As far as what the "American people want", did you ask the Canadians if they cared? Or the Brazilians? Or the Chileans? Just a reminder–any inhabitant of the Western hemisphere is properly an American as all three divisions (North, Central and South) are considered part of the Americans.

      Now, if you properly mean United States inhabitants, so what? Telling one group in NYC they can't build something on their own property is not the business of some SAHM in Topeka.

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

      Keyser, America, by definition, is a republic, not a democracy. If you have such a huge problem with the mosque being built, write your congressman.

      August 8, 2010 at 12:19 am |
    • Kelly

      And Levine, you really need to get your facts straight before you start flinging blame. 130 Jews were killed on 9/11 as stated in articles from both ABC News and the New York Times. I think you need to remove your head from that same box Keyser's is in.

      August 8, 2010 at 12:59 am |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      I can understand where they are coming from!!! But that doesn't make them right on the subject... I could understand if it was right on the grounds!!! But it is 1 1/2 blocks from the sight... I don't see why that is a problem for that???

      August 8, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  12. Keith Long

    I'm sure the Muslims have a legal right to build a mosque wherever they want to but I question their desire to build one right next to the world trade center site. This is nothing more than "in you face" by the Islamists. If Fareed Zacharia and others at CNN continue to back them on this, they deserve to continue their ratings drop. CNN should take this raghead off the air.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
    • Mohamed Ali Ender

      I wonder how many of you or people like you call them selves Americans If I where to do a blood test on you I would find that your grand grand parents are from Mars and has nothing to do with America. Grow up and get out from your cave of darkens and interact with humans

      August 7, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
    • Abbey Schmidt

      @Keith – your ugly name calling is EXACTLY what is wrong with our country. It's intensely wrong to criticize a whole population of people over the actions of a few. Just because some join extremist groups doesn't mean everyone from that particular race (whichever you want to put in there) lives with the same hate and anger. And the way our ex-President lied about most of the so-called wars he backed or put in place over in the Middle East should make all of us a little more compassionate about what those people have been through. Go live a week in the shoes of the average citizen and see how you would feel!

      August 7, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
    • ThinkBeforeYouSpeak

      @ Abbey. Very intelligently spoken!!

      Suppose this however. You oppose the building of a mosque, so that Muslims don't worship near ground zero, because you think it's an in your face thing. I AM EUROPEAN!! and Muslim. Why should i be punished for a hand full of people?? What about your neighbors? There are many American born Muslims and hundreds of thousands of American CONVERTS!!! Is it fair to them? I applaud Fareed for what he did. They're playing politics and he's being polite.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:27 am |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      CNN has it right to be on who ever side they want to be!!! This is the United States Of America... where Free Speech is allowed here!!! If anyone stops watching CNN for this... Why would any one but Racist watch Fox News???

      August 8, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Yammy: these Idiots have all the right to Their opinion!!! Even though they are wrong... That is what Our Service People have been fighting wars for all through these year!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  13. BossMan114

    Fareed Zakaria is a nobody. He got his job because he's a minority and it shows in his writings.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
    • yammy

      Yes! Fareed Zakaria is somebody, he is one of the most respected journalist in the world even ADL knows that Stop defaming him.ADL should come forward and kick your ass for defaming Zakaria. Stop bullying!!!!

      August 7, 2010 at 9:18 pm |
  14. evensteven

    Wow! I'm always impressed when someone stands up to one of these powerful and influential Jewish organizations. It takes cajones . . .

    August 7, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      It is funny if it is a Jewish People has anything to say about a subject they are radical!!! But if the Cathlic says anything it isn't... Please tell us the reasoning for that???

      August 8, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      It doesn't take much to impress you does it??? I see Racist doing it against Us Jews every day!!! It doesn't make them right...

      August 8, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
  15. Charles

    This mofo never deserved it in the first place...

    August 7, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      That is your opinion not everyone elses!!! What makes you more right than those that disagree with you???

      August 8, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  16. Anmar

    The mentality of either you are with us, or you are a terrorist makes you no different than the terrorists themselves!!!! Something to think about

    August 7, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  17. Omar

    What does this have to do about hate? as a Muslim, I don't hate jews at all. I believe they have a right to co-exist with everyone. But most of the people are demonstrating that they hate Fareed because all he has done is to disagree with the action of an organization who initially supported the building of the mosque but changed their position with the political wind. ADL is a great organization but needs to be less political and more principled.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      That is where it looks like the Muslin and Jews ca agree on!!! It seems like it is the Catholics that are the problem there...

      August 8, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      It is alight for the Catholic People to try to force Their Religion on the World!!! But let a Jewish organization like ADL say anything and it is Racist...

      August 8, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
  18. toby hill

    Hey Chris, if you haven't noticed that over 70% of all Americans are opposed to the mosque being built where it is going to be so the ADL is only with the mainstream on this issue. Zakaria just exposed himself by making a protest out of an award that has nothing to do with that specific issue. No one agrees with every single issue groups have.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
    • yammy

      stop feeding wrong information, you ignorant blind eyed dude.

      August 7, 2010 at 9:13 pm |
    • NotIntoSillyPeople

      70% of those POLLED (less than 1000 people usually) disagree. There is a big difference between 1000 and 300,000,000+.

      August 7, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
    • Jonathan

      Who cares how many Americans are against the mosque being built. It's unconstitutional not to allow it. The majority didn't want schools desegregated or women to vote. This is why we have a constitution because the majority is not always right.

      August 8, 2010 at 2:14 am |
    • eric

      That is the first statement that is objective enough to warrant action. all the rest is just hot air. If 70% disagree, why is it going there. We are a democracy after all. Doesn't matter what people of any other countries think as this issue has no effect on them. so anyone thats ' not a US citizen really has no vote on this on.

      August 8, 2010 at 5:22 am |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Kelly: It looks like the Jewish People are the only ones that are using the logical way to get to the problem!!! What I see from most of the others... They are using hate towards their judgement!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Have you sent out questioner to 100 percent of the People??? I know I never got one from you!!! Don't I count too??? So how can you say 70 percent are against it??? Maybe if your talking bout NY People you might be right!!! But I really can't say that is right either...

      August 8, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  19. sue

    As an American and a Jew, I applaud Mr. Zakaria's desire to disassociate himself from the unsavory narcissiam of the ADL position on Cordoba House. Anyone who actually knowa history knows that Cordoba was a center of interfaith tolerance and mutual respect between all three Abrahamic religions. Most of us want desperately to reclaim that kind of understanding.How sad that all three faiths have small but incredibly loud fundamentalist factions that shame the rest of us.

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

      You're probably angry at successful Jewish men how step over you and your degrees and went for a younger chick.

      August 7, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
    • Mohamed Ali Ender

      This post is one of the best post's on the topic, As an American Muslim I agree with my Jewish cousin SUE 110%
      I hope you all did know that Arabs and Jews are First blood cousins right.....

      August 7, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
    • Kelly

      I'm with you, Sue! What the ADL did was discriminatory in itself and, just because the ADL fights against anti-Semitism, it does not have the right to bash other religions. I'm Jewish too and I don't condone this latest action by the ADL at all; in fact, I would have probably done exactly what Zakaria did. The simple fact is that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all share many fundamental beliefs which stem from similar things...we shouldn't be constantly slinging mud at one another in search of which one is more correct than the others – in a perfect world, we would be learning from each other. To be ignorant and judgmental against one's fellow man is to violate the deepest convictions of all three religions.

      August 7, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Charles: Why should anyone be angry because some one is welling to better themselves and marry a Younger Woman??? If they really wanted to work hard they could do it too!!! If you think it is any easier because You are a Jew you are wrong...

      August 8, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      The biggest problem with the World is the Radicals are the ones that are trying to run it!!! The problem is the Majority of the People are to afraid to fight them... Because they are afraid to be called a Racist because of it!!! I for one always fight against the wrong being done on here... I really don't care what These People think of me!!! I will always take the right side of the Argument...

      August 8, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  20. Shawn Feaster

    We can have porn all over the place, and please check out the disproportionate number of jews making bank in the pornography business, but a place where people are making prayer is a threat!? It's not about any particular religion, unless one of them tries to stand on the neck of the other.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:21 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.