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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. DW

    It think the World is polarizing exponentially and that something awful is in our future.................................

    August 7, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
    • Bubleburst

      Yeah, I agree with you. People of this country are getting so reactionary from top the bottem??. In a country that is suppose to have freedom of speech..... It makes me wonder what crazy thing might be around the corner?? Seriously why can't they put the Mosque some place else. Place a Mosque at ground Zero is like placing a flag of for victory. Can't they willingly see the point and place their mosque in another place on their own? Aren't they sensitive to the issue that happened there?

      August 7, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
    • NotIntoSillyPeople

      Bubleburst
      Yeah, I agree with you. People of this country are getting so reactionary from top the bottem??. In a country that is suppose to have freedom of speech..... It makes me wonder what crazy thing might be around the corner?? Seriously why can't they put the Mosque some place else. Place a Mosque at ground Zero is like placing a flag of for victory. Can't they willingly see the point and place their mosque in another place on their own? Aren't they sensitive to the issue that happened there?

      Oh, for...! The danged thing is NOT going on top of the Ground Zero site. It is going onto a property several blocks away and is expanding upon an ALREADY-EXISTING mosque which was in that neighborhood long BEFORE 9/11.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:59 am |
    • Chica

      Listen folks, we can try and be as politically correct as the next guy but for many Americans (not the ones who hopped over here in the last 15 years and contribute only to themselves) but the fact of the matter is, an islamic center in that location brings back a lot of angry sentiment toward muslims and their religion. The more you push many of us, the more conservative in our thought we become. The nations like Saudi Arabia, UAE, ect...have extremely intolerant governments as it pertains to religion, and most of us want no part of it. Hell, you can't even adopt a baby from these countries...so backwards.

      Assimiliate, do good things in your communities. Bring other people from other religions into your homes. Break bread, talk...this all takes decades. You have to earn our respect to live here peacefully but it has to be done by deeds to non-muslims. That is the American Way......THEN we will think and accept your MOSQUES in the middle of a place where your religious brethern killed Americans.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      RELIGIOUS ( SORRY)

      August 8, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Bubbleburst: It is not on ground zero!!! It is a block and a half away from Ground Zero... That is a big difference!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      NothingToSillyPeople: Is that right that Jewish Woman aren't aloud to have a education??? Is that why Israel has their leader a woman??? Also there are a lot of Jewish Woman in high offices all through the world!!! I guess the Jewish Woman must be really smrt to be able to do everything with out a Education aren't they???

      August 8, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
  2. Gary Thurner

    Who really cares what Zakaria does with his award anyway? What kind of "humanitarian" supports a mosque lead by an Iman who supports Sharia law in the United States? Are honor killings of women "humane" are mulitations of women "humane" is the stoning and beating of women "humane". Is not allowing women to attend school or leave the house without the burqa "humane." Mr Zakaria...why not support a women's civil rights? Instead of this silly political statement that frankly is offensive to most American's. I think Mr. Zakaria is doing exactly the right thing for the wrong reasons. He does not deserve to keep the award as he has proven that he is no "humanitarian."

    August 7, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
    • sossadnews

      Well said. Thank you.

      August 7, 2010 at 11:34 pm |
    • NotIntoSillyPeople

      Have you paid any attention to the treatment of women by the Ultra-orthodox Jews living right down the road from the existing mosque? They are also not allowed to learn or go out without escort and they are put into arranged marriages almost from birth. Haredi Judaism ring a bell? Look it up–they are the fastest growing Jewish sect in the world and they want to kick out of Israel and even the religion itself anyone who is less orthodox then they. Do a search on the "Central Rabbinical Congress" and get back with us.

      Meanwhile, the United States gives their "homeland" more money each year than is spent on keeping our children fed and healthy. Children in Israel have free public health care and guess who pays for it? Even funnier is the fact that many wealthier (and Republican voting) American Jews are covered under the Israeli healthcare system for free and go to Israel for a lot of their care.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:48 am |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      I wonder if you would feel the same if a Catholic Church was going to be build there??? What difference what kind of Relious place is being build on the site??? We are all GODS CHILDREN!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  3. eva

    Bravo, I wished there were more public figures like him and stand up for what is right. Let the mosque be built

    August 7, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
  4. Jason Burns

    ADL is a very powerful, predominantly Jewish organization that has done a world of good in shedding light on, and attacking, anti-semitism and other forms of bigotry throughout the world. I'm cool with that. But brothers and sisters, facts is facts...an terrorist organization killed thousands of innocent people, and the ONLY reason why there is anger over the planned mosque is because these terrorists did there deeds in the name of Islam. A bunch of terrorists, pretending to be Muslim, killed for power. Now a host of good men and women are tainted.

    This could have been sold as reconciliation. A good will gesture, as I'm sure it was meant. That such a prominent fighter in stamping out bigotry displays bigotry with such vibrancy is awful. ADL has shown an ugly side of itself in coming out against this. They should be ashamed. To mention the obvious is not a declaration of hatred or bigotry to Jewish people. Its to shine a light on the prejudice expressed in the opposition of this project.

    August 7, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      ADL has it right to Their opinion as anyone else has!!! I wonder if you would feel the same if it was the Catholic Church that said it instead???

      August 8, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
  5. PhillyRN

    What's interesting to point out for me as a woman is that I can drive in Israel, will not be stoned to death for minor offenses, will not have my clitoris removed without anesthesia by an illiterate witch doctor, or other barbaric customs that we must call "culture" in the name of tolerance, and allow for in our own law as these are allowed by Sharia law.

    August 7, 2010 at 8:34 pm |
  6. PhillyRN

    People don't understand yet why the ADL opposes the WTC mosque - the backers of the project have suspicious funders who also fund known terrorism organizations, and by "known" I mean as indicated by the State Dept. In their zeal to be politically correct first without reading up, people are leaving a barn door open.

    August 7, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  7. freepalestine

    smart guy hope more will stand up to aipac!

    August 7, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      It just shows that the Jewish People think more about what is right than the rest of the World!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
  8. Harry Green

    The award was given 5 years ago.
    For 5 years it was ok that Fareed held the award.
    It is hypocritical to return the award.
    It wasn't accepted conditionally based on future events. It was accepted.

    August 7, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
    • teresa, ohio

      applause applause. you are correct.. since when did an award come with a condition on it ; ) And for that matter, WHY is this a top story on CNNs site?

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

      All awards come with some expectations and the one from the ADL is no exception. He accepted it because of the ADL's previous stance on tolerance and acceptance and that is what he believed it stood for. The ADL's current stance has made their entire program a bit suspect in Zakaria's eyes and he chose the high road by returning something that no longer means the same thing to him. He also returned the money that came with the award instead of claiming he already spent it.

      August 8, 2010 at 12:07 am |
  9. Russell

    Shame on Zakaria. I alwasys thought his intellect was way overhyped.

    August 7, 2010 at 8:11 pm |
  10. David

    Hhmm, what do these individuals all have in common?

    Albert Einstein, the most famous scientist of the 20th century, proposed a groundbreaking theory of relativity (including his famous equation e=mc²)
    Dr. Sigmund Freud, an Austrian physician, was the founder of psychoanalysis and father of psychiatry
    Dr. Jonas Salk created the first Polio Vaccine.
    Dr. Abraham Waksman coined the term antibiotics.
    Casmir Funk, pioneered a new field of medical research and coined the word "vitamins."
    Dr. Simon Baruch performed the first successful operation for appendicitis
    Dr. Paul "magic bullet" Ehrlich won the Nobel Prize in 1908 for curing syphilis.
    Dr. Abraham Jacobi is considered America's father of pediatrics.
    Dr. Albert Sabin developed the first oral polio vaccine.

    ANSWER: They practiced the Jewish faith.

    May all of the Jew haters out there, never take another antibiotic, come down with Polio and Syphilis. We'll watch then how fast they change their opinion...

    August 7, 2010 at 8:09 pm |
    • DR DAVID

      I'm not Jewish but I agree with you 100%. there have been Heros of all color and faiths in this world and history. surely this world didn't learn anything from the mass exterminations just 65-70 years ago. The sick thing is that many at the base of their hearts are happy with what germany did to the Jews, poles, blacks, homosexuals, socialists, handicapped. being black is not an exterior description but a state in ones heart of EVIL. Where you feel you want to descriminate and destroy, kill any peoples just because they are different from you. Thank you for your post.

      August 7, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
    • ReMote

      Could you please explain what part their Jewish faith played in their scientific pursuits?
      Or are you implying something else?

      August 7, 2010 at 8:39 pm |
    • NotIntoSillyPeople

      The thing left out is that they did NOT practice the Jewish faith as adults and some even repudiated (the REAL word someone couldn't think of) it.

      August 8, 2010 at 12:00 am |
    • Jethro

      Good points David. Notintosillypeople is clueless. All of the individuals you mentioned preached their faith and supported the "Chosen One's beliefs. David you are right on here!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 12:27 am |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Remate: If it wasn't for the Jewish and Asian People as far as Medicine we still be in the stone age!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
    • BSTX1234

      Amen to that! Love the Jews. Great to see how they stick together and don't take crap.

      August 8, 2010 at 9:34 pm |
  11. JJ

    No, it's not a monument?

    You FOOLS have swallowed this hook line and sinker.

    Read the history of the meaning of CORDOBA.

    America is filled with fools and the bad guys who want to take over the world know

    August 7, 2010 at 8:09 pm |
    • Tim

      Cordoba: Rather nice city in Spain. Conquered by the Moors in the early 2nd millennium or thereabouts, where it became a beacon of intellectual and scientific progress and a community where religious and cultural freedom was not only practiced and encouraged. Conquered by Catholic Spain in the Reconquista, whereupon brutal religious oppression was instituted.

      August 7, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
    • levine

      bye bye hater!!!!!!

      August 7, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
    • NotIntoSillyPeople

      Obviously YOU have not read the history of Cordoba or you wouldn't have written such swill.

      Yes, it was a conquered city, BUT... The part people like to leave out is that the Muslim victors made that city a haven for all religions and beliefs with Jews as equally welcome as Muslims and Christians. The city was, at its zenith, the most advanced city in the world–even more so than Rome at the time. Scholars, businessmen and religious leaders came from all over the known world to work and study there; it boasted a library that made the legendary one in Alexandria look like a lending shelf at the rec center. It was only AFTER the Muslims were kicked out that the city failed and became another symbol of intolerance. It wasn't the Muslims who kicked the Jews out of Spain and into the hands of the Inquistors, but the good Christian king who replaced the caliphate for good in the 1200s.

      Yep, they really were such evil and backward people. Sheesh! Where are the emoticons when you need to put some eye-rolling here?

      August 7, 2010 at 11:58 pm |
    • JR

      NotIntoSillyPeople–you push real hard to make Cordoba sound like a utopia, but you leave out some key facts–1) the Jews and Christians had to pay a special tax, just for being Jews or Christians, which by its very nature makes the Jews and Christians of different strata compared to the Muslims, and 2) the Cordoba you describe was eventually taken by an extremist Muslim faction, which is when the "great get-along" of all the faiths ended, all before the Christians re-took that land.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:13 am |
  12. kalel

    Very intelligent comment, Toby! (Sarcasm)

    August 7, 2010 at 8:08 pm |
  13. Tim Michaels

    That is a false dichotomy. The choice is not between living in a Muslim country governed by Sharia law or living with the disgusting creatures known as Jews. I could live in an American society free from Jewish tyranny. My view not only corresponds with that of Muslims, but also with the vast majority of intellectuals in modern history.

    August 7, 2010 at 8:08 pm |
    • DR DAVID

      I guess you are a fan of Hitler and Himler, Wagner, and all the characters that spit their anti semite logic out to anyone who'lll listen. Your minds are so weak that you think that genocide is a valid solution. People like you with your rationalized biggotries are the reason there will never be Unity in this world. SAD!

      August 7, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
    • Piece of this

      Tim, very nice, and I guess you were with the Taliban when they executed 10 missionaries because they were " preaching Christian views". Good Try "Tim" Loser!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      August 7, 2010 at 9:08 pm |
    • Adam

      Tim – What kind of racist are you?

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

        There's only one kind of racist – ignorant.

        August 7, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  14. JJ

    CNN is no longer a news organization but a an advoicate of current "politics".

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

      Yah! CNN is a news organization.
      ...You FOX kisser!!!!!!!!

      August 7, 2010 at 10:05 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Abbie Schmitt: For one thing the goods sent here does not have to stand by the same Regulations as the American Products does!!! Second the United States should not have to be forced to have Their Workers compete with the low wages that Their goods are made for... The reason This Country is having hard times is because Our Manufactures and Industries move abroad because it was cheaper to be made there!!! Where is the fairness in that??? Especially wen Their goods sell more expensive here than Our goods and not as good quality...

      August 8, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
  15. Sarah

    My last post was in response to a racist post that was deleted. Unfortunately there is no option to remove comments.

    Now, as for this story, I must say that I think we should all follow suit with Mr. Zakaria's stupid and attention-grabbing display of terror-supporting views. Don't like one of America's policies? Go return all your American merchandise. Same goes for China. Oh, and Germany. And India. I could go on...the point obviously is that disagreeing with ONE of an organization or country's stances or policies is the stupidest reason on earth for returning something of theirs, especially when they gave it to you as an HONOUR! What an idiot.

    August 7, 2010 at 8:05 pm |
    • Abbey Schmidt

      Good luck with that Sarah!! Have you looked at the merchandise you have purchased lately. Almost ALL of it is made in China, India, Mexico, Taiwan, etc. It's called the US Imports & Exports policy – also known as Foreign Trade,which is what our economy is reliant on. Economics 101!!!

      August 7, 2010 at 10:57 pm |
  16. Just Truth

    Fareed just wanted to do something to get some attention, and doing something to spite Jews seems to be the way to go like its the latest fashion. The group didnt approve with the site plan for this mega-mosque.....sounds like most Americans, or at least what they say inside their homes away from the mainstream media that turns everyone into racists for thinking logically.

    To hell with Fareed and any other liberal thats looking forward to the victory celebrations of terrorists worldwide after the they erect this monstrosity.

    BTW,,,im not Jewish or really religious period....just a Black man with his eyes open, keep weraing your blinders if you all like Libs

    August 7, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
    • tolerant

      First, the moderate Muslims are told to speak out against terrorism and radical Islam, and when they do and want to do something significant to build bridges, they are demonized!

      Amazing!

      Don't you realize how close you are to the terrorists' narrative, who see American fighting ALL Muslims and Islam? America needs the moderate Muslims to defeat radical Islam!

      August 7, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      NotintosiilyPeople: Bravo very will put!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      If they have it there it is not a victory for the Tarriest... It is a victory for freedom of Religion!!! That is what this Country is all about isn't it???

      August 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
  17. Sarah

    I do hope your post is sarcastic. Otherwise, you are the reason why the world is in its current state of upheaval. You know what? I will send you first-class to live in the middle of any Sharia-law-imposing country of your choice, since your view of Jews corresponds directly with theirs. Let's see how long you last.

    August 7, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
  18. DR DAVID

    I applaud the ADL on their stance on this issue. Zakaria, and all other progressive Muslims, should have empathy enough to understand the open wound that exist in this country because of 911 and how building a Mosque so close to area is like putting salt in an open wound. These current issues have segmented AMERICA to a greater degree than it has been in the past. People have drawn their lines in the sand and taken sides. Maybe Zakaria is heart simply expressing that at heart I will always Side with ISLAM even if it doesn't make sense and if offensive to public peace and decency. This case has nothing about the ADL sticking up for jewist politics behind the scenes. So many differnt people died there and the enemy that day just happened to be muslims. I would like their wold be more or better reconciliation by the islamic community siding with reason in this case instead of taking it as an affront to their constitutional rights. maybe if Muslims where more peaceful and merged more into the AMERICANculture as a whole people would be able to separate the true muslim from the radicals terrorist that are sleeping within our communities and caused this tradegy. ADL, just melt down the trophy, recraft it and rename it for someone more worthy.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
  19. religions spread hate

    political /religious correctness is going to destroy our planet. As an australian i cant believe the new york major,council etc approved this mosque. i thought n.yorkers were proud people.
    do u want women in hijabs strolling past g.zero?
    as an anglo /europeans its seems we have to fight tooth and nail for our own cultural rights now.

    Two arguably greatest western inventions were symbolically destroyed on 9/11- the jumbo jet & the skyscraper.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
  20. Joe

    We give billions to Egypt, Pakistan, Gaza, etc... too. We defended Saudi Arabia against Saddam in '91, yet 15/19 of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudi.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
    • Robin

      Plus don't forget the U.S. stopping the carnage of 100.000's muslems in Bosnia. But no muslem remembers that. Ungrateful pigs.

      August 8, 2010 at 9:49 am |
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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.