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. Stephan

    Mr. Zakaria is just showboating and I suspect this decision was not entirely on his own ) i.e. tacid approval from his employer, CNN hence , the article . He is only converting the converted and I feel has lost a lot of repsect in the community. Sadly again, it is unfortunate that he was influenced I feel in this decision. There is no room for "political correctness" when the issue is TERRORISM. Now if Mr. Zakaria was let's say Mr. Smith, do you think he would be returning this award? Be honest now!..........I suspect not!

    August 7, 2010 at 9:43 pm |
  2. Dennis

    The Mosque should not be built on the proposed location. Yes they have the right to build it there, but
    think how much MORE goodwill and healing and acceptance could be gained by selecting a different
    location. Why does it have to be" In Your Face" to all the victims of 911.

    August 7, 2010 at 9:42 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      I don't mind the location!!! But why make it so high??

      August 8, 2010 at 9:38 pm |
  3. Lou

    This is the problem with America. We have to swallow all the liberal crap on why we should allow an Islamic Center to be built at ground zero. Fareek, if you don't like it too bad! CNN is part of the problem with the biased reporting. When I see a christian of jewish shrine built in Mecca then we can take up this subject again. And yes all muslims to a certain extent are terrorsits! The truth hearts. These so called Islamic centers are nothing more than jihadist recruiting centers.

    August 7, 2010 at 9:39 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      If the Democrats are Liberal??? I'm proud I am a Democrat!!! Because the Majority of the People deserve the right to live... Not just the 2 percent like it is now!!! Just because the Rich has more money... Doesn't make them better than the rest of us!!! They wouldn't have it if it wasn't for the sweet of the Middle Class and poor...

      August 8, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
  4. Ari

    As a Jew, I think the ADL should be ashamed of itself. Zakim must be rolling in his grave, after all the work he did. It's one thing to question the background of an organization that may or may not be involved in terrorist ties. IF it's true, present the evidence, and they couldn't build a falafel stand in Boise, never mind a mosque in NYC. But to say it's "too painful" to have muslims worshipping in certain areas of NYC is appalling. It's denying the fact that muslim americans died in the WTC just like others did. I almost thought the news media confused the ADL with the JDL, that's how appalling this sounds. Zarakia was right to return it, if he felt it no longer means what it once did.

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

      Read my post..California. Why 13 stories and why right near the 9/11 site. If they really want to do something unique build a center with a temple, church and mosque...yeah sure. It is time to wake up. Sharia law is scary and is being pushed in Europe. Find out what Cordoba really stands for and why they picked this site vs many sites available.

      August 7, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      I'm a Jew too... I don't agree with them... But they have a right to Their way of thinking!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 9:23 pm |
  5. Arglebargle

    Meh. Who cares?

    August 7, 2010 at 9:34 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Any person that can think for themselves cares!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
  6. ronin48

    You don't build trust, understanding and mutual respect by doing the one thing that is sure to antagonize the party you claim you're trying to build trust and understanding with and develop mutual respect with. Anyone who believes that this mosque is about building trust, understanding and mutual respect is suicidally delusional. The ADL is right; Zakaria is wrong.

    August 7, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      You got that right!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
  7. TJ in Cali

    These posts are entertaining.

    August 7, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
  8. Bishop

    The American people should be building the mosque together to show the terrorists that they cannot bait us into a religious war. Most Muslims, Jews and Christian 99% are peaceful good people. It is the 1% of radicals that want to stir up hate and violence. What kind of world will we have if the hateful words written in these post were carried forward to their logical end? If the majority always gets their way, it doesn't always work out too well. After all, a majority of Germans voted for Hitler. The only problem with the Internet is that it gives voice to ignorant people who have not carefully considered the repercussions of their words.

    August 7, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
    • Guest


      I agree about the building the Mosque, and also about 99% of the religious being good. Your thinking about the Christian Militant keeping quiet is just plain wrong.....it's because 99% of Europe that were the Cowards not stepping up when Hitler and evil minions started the Hateful Sabre rattling against all the Religious. You are not a follower of Christ if you put down the Defenders of the Truth, you would have us in WWIII with your closeted thinking. Thank you CNN for allowing this Civil Forum, and what kind of Bishop would play the blame game anyway?

      August 7, 2010 at 11:28 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Look at the United States all together... 2 Percent of the People run the whole Country!!! So how can you expect anything different there???

      August 8, 2010 at 9:20 pm |
  9. PhillyRN

    For more on the any number of potential reasons the ADL opposes the mosque, you only have to read one article about the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated Imam who poses as a liberal Muslim when he is in the US, only to drop that facade when giving speeches and having meetings with suspect funders abroad. Here's the link: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/the-ground-zero-mosque-developer-muslim-brotherhood-roots-radical-dreams/?singlepage=true

    August 7, 2010 at 9:27 pm |
  10. george

    cnn should stop letting people comment on their stories. some of the dumbest conversations take place here.

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

      And we have people like you to thank for that, I would guess.

      August 7, 2010 at 9:40 pm |
  11. Peace & Stop Islam

    This Islamic center is supposed to promote peace & tolerance among various religion so why not build it in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. As all the terrorists came from Saudi Arabia & were trained in Pakistan. Building this Islamic center in those two countries will teach the Muslims to be peaceful & tolerant & get over their ignorance & hate. American doesn't need a lesson in tolerance as we are the most tolerant society on earth & have welcomed with open arms people of all faiths.

    Already there are more than eough Mosques in USA we don't need another den for terrorists to hide.

    August 7, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
    • Abbey Schmidt

      America – the most tolerant society?? Please tell me you were making that statement out of sarcasm!! Shall we start with the Native American Indians and work our way through history??

      August 7, 2010 at 11:36 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      What I don't understand is why they are making it so high??? Please tell Me how that represents Their Religion???

      August 8, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
  12. Mike

    The best editorial on this subject appeared in the WSJ. The writer said that as Americans we should defend the right of the mosque to be there. However, following the sensitivity of a previous Pope who urged Catholic nuns proselytizing at Auschwitz to move to another location, the mosque should likewise choose another venue. Zakaria is right to return the award. The ADL should stick to its prime mission of defending core rights. By returning the award he is putting a spotlight on how the ADL has lost its way.

    On another note it's surprising to read blatant racist screeds in this thread. I give CNN credit for letting them stand and letting the world see what unreasoning hatred reads like.

    August 7, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
    • Lori

      "The best editorial on this subject appeared in the WSJ. The writer said that as Americans we should defend the right of the mosque to be there. However, following the sensitivity of a previous Pope who urged Catholic nuns proselytizing at Auschwitz to move to another location, the mosque should likewise choose another venue."

      I am confused. Do you believe that the mosque has a right to be there, but that it should choose a different site to be sensitive to the 9/11 victims? If so, you have described the official ADL position (almost word for word).

      And as an aside, the ADL was at the forefront of the movement to encourage the Pope to move the Auschwitz convent out of sensitivity to the Holocaust victims.

      August 7, 2010 at 10:57 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      That is your opinion!!! What makes your opinion better than Theirs???

      August 8, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
  13. Ex Marine in NYC

    Well ,let us say that many Arab oil countries in the mid-east are floating our
    own US Treasury and keeping our great USA from collapsing by buying our
    debt at great interest,and China too
    Is it then any reason why we don't bite the hand that feeds us
    even where it is needed to be bitten ,over ah hem! "civil rights".
    We are in strange political beds with the Arabs & China.

    August 7, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
  14. Gary


    Yes, I agree with you that Zakaria's right to say and do what he wants needs to be respected. But I don't agree his actions have to be respected. Actually, Mr. Zakaria has a racial and politcial adenda here, one that DOES NOT need to be respected as giving respect to racism and biggotry only encourages more of it.

    August 7, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      This is the United States!!! Everyone has the right to say what ever they wish know matter how stupid it is!!! I respect your stupidity...

      August 8, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
  15. California

    Fareed has shown his bias. ADL said the group has every right to build a mosque but they should show sensitivity to the sacred 9/11 site and not put a 13 story building/mosque so close. Why is it unreasonable to ask this group to show sensitivity to the feelings caused by 9/11? Why do people get condemned for saying Muslims must be sensitive to others feelings? One may not agree with ADL, but their view does not deserve the condemnation by people like Fareed, if he was really dedicated to bringing people together.

    Is the Inman really moderate. Consider Abdul Rauf said after the slaughter of innocents on September 11, 2001, ""I wouldn't say that the United States deserved what happened, but the United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened," , Further, Abdul Rauf has refused to recognize Hamas or Hezbollah as terrorist organizations – and is refusing to divulge the revenue sources for the project. Abdul Rauf's wife, "Daisy" Kahn, is quoted as saying of the construction of a mosque in the shadow of 2,976 souls, "No big deal."

    Someone earlier said that Cordoba stood for all religions coexisting equally. Clearly they do not know their history. It is simply not true. Cordoba stands for conquest by the Muslims and having all non Muslims live under Sharia law. Very frightening. I suggest you read the following for some history http://www.rightsidenews.com/2010080611260/editorial/the-consequences-of-park51-the-cordoba-house.html Wake up Americans and wake up CNN.

    August 7, 2010 at 9:19 pm |
    • Abbey Schmidt

      We know this article is nothing but FEAR provoked considering the group that wrote it!

      August 7, 2010 at 11:30 pm |
    • California

      Sometimes the facts do cause fear. If you can criticize the story based on in accuracies, go ahead. In this case, the story is factual. Cordoba does not stand for tolerance, it stands for domination. Many posts on this site do not seem to understand the history of Muslim domination of the Western societies or the fact that this is a 13 story building, not just a mosque. If the Inman really wants to show they want to work together, build this somewhere else.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  16. Randy Burrill

    Fareed Zakaria doesn't deserve the award. It's back where it belongs. Extremely insensitive to build a mosque near ground zero. Period. If he doesn't believe this then it speaks to quite a lot.

    August 7, 2010 at 9:18 pm |
  17. Henry Miller

    The ADL an "esteemed civil rights group?" They're kidding, right?

    August 7, 2010 at 9:13 pm |
  18. Fernando F.

    Good for you Fareed. I will have done the same.
    Ignorant people shouldn't be allow to give prizes.

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

      And even more ignorant people shouldn't receive them in the first place. So it's probably a good thing he's giving it back then. Because he's just a PC BS artist.

      August 7, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      You should be so Inerrant as the Jewish People are... We probably have 10 times better IQ than you have!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
  19. PhillyRN

    Zakaria has conveniently avoided any research into the Muslim Brotherhood roots of the Imam of this project: http://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/2010/05/23/muslim-brotherhood-roots-of-the-ground-zero-mosque-developer/

    August 7, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
    • Abbey Schmidt

      Just another piece of rubbish filled with scare tactics! When people quit trying to make everything about FEAR maybe society will realize there is more to life than being afraid of what might happen. There is always someone that feels the need to "cry wolf" – kind of like Sarah Palin at all of her conferences and rallies!

      August 7, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
  20. yammy

    Toby hill,
    Zakaria's action has nothing to do with Jews hating.Stop the blame game. Zakaria will be happy to know that stupid and straight like you does not watch his show. You hate monger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 7, 2010 at 9:11 pm |
    • Bill

      Yammy .... stay away from airports...

      August 8, 2010 at 1:07 am |
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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.