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. Big Joe

    Glad he's standing up against two-faced, agenda-ridden ADL. Awards given by ADL, Israel, etc. are meant as a control mechanism. Those awarded have a tough time speaking against immoral acts perpetrated by these organizations. Mr Zakaria is one of the first to break this cycle of control by a menacing, selfish lot.

    August 7, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      You mean that awards aren't for the accomplishment the People do??? I thought it was a honor to get rewards??? So if a Person is stupid enough to give them back!!! They didn't deserve it in the first place...

      August 8, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  2. Ken

    This guy is returning an award he got 5 years ago. Big Whop! He's just playing games to get rating and to get a "feel good" from his PC buddies. I bet he'll continue to brag that he received the award and will be back kissing ADL butts before long. He just has to wait for the new flavor of the month for liberal causes.

    August 7, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
  3. BossMan114

    He's a Muslim. You know where his heart is. All Muslims should be deported NOW. This is a Christian nation.

    August 7, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
    • Big Joe

      Bossmanii4: a Christian nation? What next ask jews to leave, ask buddhist to leave?
      Listen, if ever read an Am. history book you should know that this country was not formed as a christian nation. Such a silly statement.

      August 7, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      This is not a Christian Nation!!! It is a nation with all different Religion... So why can't They respect that??? That goes for the Muslin too...

      August 8, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  4. Justin

    The ADL has said they recognize the Cordova Initiative's right to build the center (it's not a mosque) "at" ground zero. They have said they recognize the imam as a moderate. Their position is that manyof the people affected by the September 11 attacks understandably feel that building a large, highly publicized Islamic cultural center near the site of the the deadliest terrorist attack ever carried out by Islamic extremists is insensitive and therefore extremely painful. The ADL has asked this Cordova initiative to choose another site in light of this. What is shameful is that Mr. Zarkaria has chosen to take his ball and go home rather than take the opportunity to have a frank conversation about the very, very complicated issue of prejudice and xenophobia.

    August 7, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
    • JJ

      Well said!

      August 8, 2010 at 12:41 am |
  5. guest

    It's time for the moslems to realize we don't want them here and it will lead to war if they keep up their garbage. If you ragheads think for a second that we won't eventually start cutting throats too, you're wrong.

    August 7, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
    • OMG

      guest – I will not protect your speech in this instance. You understand? As an American you have crossed the line.

      August 8, 2010 at 12:39 am |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      If they have so much money to waste!!! Why not build a big one story Mosque and use the rest of the money to build houses for the Poor Muslin in the Middle East...

      August 8, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
    • Americano




      August 9, 2010 at 12:46 am |
  6. OldOwl

    A man of principle is a rare find today, especially in the U.S.A.

    August 7, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
    • manofprinciple

      Sorry, I didn't want to be found.
      Did you need something?

      August 7, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
  7. jamesbrummel

    Based on your logic his accepting the award in the first place ruined his objectivity. Did you complain then?

    August 7, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  8. levine

    Do u know who is the father of the Mathmatics?
    Do you know where the idea of building highways came from? I am sure you drive car not a Rikshaw.
    I can go on and on and the list will be wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy bigger than yours.
    So try to get a list of Muslim scholars. Just for the heck of it.

    August 7, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  9. Cindy W

    That's it...I'm done...I will no longer watch this person on CNN...You've finally finished me off as a viewer.

    August 7, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  10. don

    How surprisingly Petty of Zakaria. Surely he does no expect every oranization to agree with every position he holds. He has held this award for many years and to return it over a disagreement over one policy issue seems narrow minded and unworthy of a journalist of his stature.

    August 7, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  11. Al Freeman

    There is double insult in building a mosque there. 1) Muslims traditionally built mosques on the sites of destroyed Houses of Worship of other religions. (Therefore the Golden Dome is built on the ruins of the 2nd Temple, and most mosques in Europe are built on the sites of leveled Churches. 2) it was a TRADE CENTER, (get it?). Putting a mosque there means the American god is TRADING. Moslims really count on Americans to be simpletons and not to notice this meaning at all. You see, "Now the RIGHT god has triumphed! That's what the muslims around the world will see. How they got it – is not important. The end justifies the means.

    August 7, 2010 at 10:11 pm |
  12. Logician

    I've been reading the comments here and am surprised at the overwhelming stupidity of the comments.
    A) It does not matter what a majority wants. Democracy is not infalliable. There are many instances (even in this great country) where the majority was wrong. For ex, remember the japanese internment camps? A majority of you even supported the iraq war (when the whole world warned against it. Ergo, majorities can be wrong.
    B) Zakaria could not have foreseen five years ago that he would have such a disagreement. Now that he has such disagreement, he has done the honorable thing by returning the award.
    C) There have been many jews who have contributed a lot to society. There have been even more non-jews (yes, muslims too) who have contributed to society. The fact that a contributor belonged to a certain religion is pure chance, and has no impact on anything substantial.
    D) Fareed is smart and does not need your certificate (he has a DBA from Harvard). More importantly, he conducts himself and his show with GRACE, unlike the other opinionated monkeys on television. By far, the most ungraceful thing I have seen on his show is him puching his book (which was'nt bad at all).

    Sorry for the long post. I had to get it out. Now, to do something better with my time.....

    August 7, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
  13. Mark from Middle River

    Bishop – if we did nit allow for such a forum where people from all sides can voice and express their views then they would go more undergroud than they are today. The best part of having a dialouge is being able to hear voices of others who may not see things they way that you might.

    People keep saying we need open dialouge and more open dialouge but in the end we only want to really hear those whose views are the same as the ones we hold.

    I will say this the poster wearetea does have a point in wondering how the mosque will address or memoralize 9/11.

    August 7, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  14. Don Jones Detroit Mi.

    I agree with Mike Stephens.

    August 7, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  15. Cheney, you are hereby summoned...

    This reply is actually to Joe. Or perhaps to really not very well informed Joe. Out of those 19 hijackers supposedly identified by the FBI in an incredible 24 to 48 hours, at least 9 went to embassies or police stations, etc. in their home countries in the two weeks following 9/11 to prove that they had nothing to do with 9/11. They were petrified that since the FBI / CIA had reported them dead, they would indeed be dead soon. The FBI quietly withdrew its claims concerning the 19 hijackers 3 weeks after 9/11. However it is convenient for the Military-Corporate-Political complex to continue to publish that rubbish that somehow anyone really knew who were on the planes. The 5 Mossad agents filming the planes AS THEY HIT THE BUILDINGS were arrested that morning; their pockets contained boxcutters and large bundles of cash. They were held for 86 days before being deported quietly back to Israel. The arrests were on ABC News, and the video is archived. And you can ask the FBI in an official letter about the retraction of the story of the 19. Supposedly Mohammed Atta called his father on 9/12, desperate that someone was after him and he was hoping someone would come and pick him up. Then communications ceased. This part of the story CANNOT be documented, but it since we know that the original named hijackers were not on those planes, and the Israelis had foreknowledge of the attacks, that the hijackers were most likely ideologically committed Jews. The lock tiight cinch on 9/11 are the controlled demolitions of the THREE buildings (let us not forget building 7, late in the afternoon, which was apparently taken down to destroy its contents) using what has been reported as nano-thermite, an experimental US military explosive not available to any other parties at that point in history. The stream of evidence is incontrovertible that 9/11 is simply the end result of a PNAC plan executed under control of US parties. I could go through a dozen red herrings that no one in the government has or ever will explain, but they are documented in detail already elsewhere.

    The fuss and clamor about the Mosque is all about continuing to generate anti-Muslim propaganda and keep the dumb US citizenry distracted from the truth. I commend Fareed for returning the award, perhaps he will be the man finally with enough integrity and courage to open the 9/11 can of worms and ask Tom Keane the important question "What did you mean when you said the 9/11 report was untruths and distortions...."

    August 7, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  16. Norton

    And to think, this is all over the worship of something that doesn't exist.

    Religion – the drug of the stupid.

    August 7, 2010 at 9:58 pm |
    • Guest


      "The atheist is not interested in anything except attacks on atheism." ("Frozen Free Thought" The Well and the Shallows)

      August 7, 2010 at 11:33 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      The Stupid People are the ones that don't believe in GOD!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 9:53 pm |
  17. Mike Stephens

    Zakaria's act is an act I admire. The First Amendment means "Freedom of Religion".
    Not just for a select few, but for all.

    August 7, 2010 at 9:52 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      We don't kind them having Freedom to Their religion... as long as it doesn't interfere with the other Religion of the others!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 9:52 pm |
  18. cjr

    good for him! a man of principals- something in short supply these days!. there are always strings attached to awards such as these and i he found that he was not comfortable with the policies of the JDL then he has every tright to return it. It appears that the JDL is continuing to play the role of victim- it's getting very old and boring. After 60 years it is time fior the Jewish community to grow up !

    August 7, 2010 at 9:51 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Look how old the United States is and they still have grown up yet!!! If Israel had a chance it would out grow the United States... The problem is their are to many Idiots like you in the world and won't let them!!! You rather hate and kill the Jews...

      August 8, 2010 at 9:49 pm |
    • Americano



      You are far from being and American service man.

      people to to UTUBE and search "occupation 101"

      and then we can talk.

      THESE are Americans. not Israeli Arabs that you discriminate against your steal their lands, demolish their home at will, starving 1,500,000.00 innocent civilians while the whole world say STOP YOUR TERROR.



      Again these are Americans and they can build what they want, AS TALL as they want, WhERE EVER they want

      August 9, 2010 at 12:33 am |
  19. Fire stixx

    Give the jews New Mexico. End of problem

    August 7, 2010 at 9:47 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      We don't want Mexico... We already have Israel!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 9:39 pm |
  20. Fire stixx

    Let them build it then burn the mofo down!!!! Next question?

    August 7, 2010 at 9:45 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
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.