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. Ibu Lala

    Muslims don't build mosques after victory. Muslims pray five times daily, it's mandatory in their reliigion, so mosque is a necessity. In fact, the first mosque to be built in Islamic history is "Masjid Quba" on the outskirts of Madina city in Saudi Arabia. This mosque was built when Muslims were fleeing the persecution from idolators of Mecca and when they were welcomed with open arms in Madina by the Ansars.
    Another popular misconception is Muslims destroyed other religious places after invading. Muslims ruled India for over 1000 years and yet one will find thousands of Hindu temples all over the country.
    Omar bin Khattab, the second caliph of Islam and the close comanion of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), refused to pray inside the church in Jerusalem when the grand priest offered him the keys following the Muslims conquering of Jerusalem. His concern was that the following generations of Musliims may try to justify converting that church into a mosque because Omar prayed there.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:33 pm |
  2. sossadnews

    I'm sorry but I don't remember the Muslim community standing up in outrage over the 9/11 attack on America by Islamic extremists. Did I miss something or did that not happen? I think it is a slap in the face to all those innocent victims of the 9/11 attack as well as those who gave so much during the clean up efforts to allow a mosque to be built anywhere near ground zero. And I truly believe there is a much bigger and more complex reason why the Muslims want to build there. As far as Fareed Zakaria returning his award, who cares?

    August 7, 2010 at 11:28 pm |
    • Abbey Schmidt

      You might want to do some research then before you make a post like this because I heard many reports immediately after and over the years where Muslims DID in fact speak out against the 9/11 terrorist attacks! http://groups.colgate.edu/aarislam/response.htm

      August 8, 2010 at 12:07 am |
  3. Patriot137

    If Zakaria believes a victory mosque should be built at the scene of the attack, then he was correct to return the award. Also, it was proper for him to relinquish since he does not believe in freedom of speech.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
  4. sparknut

    I stood on the pile as the bodies of firefighters and others killed in the vicious attacks of Sept. 11, 2010 were dug out.
    That entire area is sacred ground as far as I am concerned. And I'm sure millions of Americans agree.
    If we wanted to build a Christian church in Mecca, that would not be allowed because it is sacred ground to Muslims. I respect that belief. But those who want to establish this mosque where the Twin Towers fell are not respecting our sacred ground.
    At least the ADL recognizes this. Fareed Zakaria can't seem to comprehend this.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:25 pm |
    • Mark

      Absolutely. The Saudis do not allow churches or synagogues to be built in their tolerant empire.

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

      The point you're trying to make completely ignores the fact that those countries as well as ours are "sovereign nations".
      Perhaps we could make a treaty with some country somewhere that has reciprocal arrangements such as the one you allude to in your post.
      But until we have a treaty that actually does this sort of thing regarding religious buildings, no other country is obligated to do more than listen politely to such an idea – through diplomatic channels, of course. As a citizen, you have no authoritiy to make treaties with other nations.

      But you can suggest it to your Congressman. Work within the system if you can. That's what it's there for.

      August 8, 2010 at 2:30 am |
  5. Lee Wills

    I have never been so impressed with CNN as right now.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:21 pm |
  6. Steve

    9/11 was an attack on all of us. In fact, 60 Moslems died (not counting the perps), almost 3x the death rate of non-Moslems.
    ADL knows all about the dangers of capitulating to ethno-religious hatred. They made a bad mistake. Perhaps they could get over their problem by re-reading MLK's letter from a Birmingham jail.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:21 pm |
  7. Jon

    Fareed is very much anti-Jewish. Listen to him bash the nation of Israel whenever he gets a chance. I liked Fareed until he showed his true side of hatred towards anyone who opposes Islam.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:19 pm |
  8. Mark from Middle River

    Wonder if the mosque in the pentagon was in the section that was destroyed?

    Also. Geez someone check nelson or something. How is a five year old award really news? If this guy is as good as some here say then it was probuly just one of many. Chances are it I'd worth more to him now ,getting in the headlines , than it was sitting on a shelf.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:18 pm |
  9. keith

    So now what, shall we say what happened on 9/11 is ok? Just let them build a mosque on the very site where innocent Americans died? NO! This is a smack in the face to everyone who lost a loved one on that day – -wake up! Next thing your daughters will be wearing burqas to school.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      For one thing it isn't the same site of 9/11!!! I just think they should have more respect for other People...

      August 8, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
  10. TonyMac

    Thank you Fareed, for putting honor and integrity before accolades and the limelight. This mosque near ground zero is a lithmus test for our very belief in the freedoms and equality we hold dear. It is so sad to see us enter this new witch hunt era, and I can only say that men and women of honor are few and far between.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:13 pm |
  11. frank

    another antisemite

    August 7, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
  12. Spado

    The 9-11 murderous attack was committed by radical Islamists in the name of Allah and Fareek and CNN want to make it about The ADL and victims of that attack. he adds insult to injury by hurling accusations of bigotry against those who paid such a high price for the real bigotry and religious intolerance of those Muslim terrorists. how typical that Liberal media gives comfort to the evil and shows no mercy to the innocent.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      That is why the Muslin should respect the American and others better!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
  13. shilpy

    is this mosques really for interfaith deliberations? there is no tradition of interfaith dialog in islamic world. the islamic role model suadi arabia does not even allow non-islamic people to practise their religions even in the privacy of their homes!!!!!!!
    islam, however, has a tradition of taquiya, a doctrine of pullling wool over unsuspecting infidels' eyes. the taquiya doctrine worked quite well in in mideast, africa, in asia except oriental countries – no wonder the oriental people have a very high IQ. it has begun to work well in europe, and many people in europe are beginning to think about their new islamic names. usa is next in line, and then it is all over the civilization as we known it. we can not blame muslims for it, for they are only doing what koran commands and saudis fund. america needs to think straight: this is not about constitutional rights, this is about national security.

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

    I agree with the actions of Gupta. I did not warm up to him as a host, but it is good to see someone taking a stand. if the roles were reversed the Jews would have done the same. The citizens of the United States have a right to worship where they please. There is no one religion greater than the other. Muslims pay taxes in New York just as the Jews, and they are citizens, just like Jews. Timothy McVey bombed a building in Oklahoma city and killed and maimed many people. No one is saying that white folks cannot be in Oklahoma City, because it makes no sense. The Muslims and Jews have more similarities then differences, neither eats pork; They both eat Kosher foods and worship on the same days. They are seeds of Abraham who split along religious lines. Get over it!!

    August 7, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      The Jewish People already know that!!! Why not tell the Muslin that??? They are the ones killing the innocent People!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
  15. tony macaroni

    where as what we have here....a bunch of fig eaters wearing towels on their heads trying to find reverse on a soviet tank.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:05 pm |
  16. Observer

    Funny.. there has been a mosque 'inside' the Pentagon since 2001 & respectful, peaceful Muslims (mostly DOD employees or anyone else)..have prayed in it before & since. Was the Pentagon not hit. And this mosque is inside the building. The right wing is ruining this great country. This is the United States.. that's what makes us great. It takes all kinds to make the country. Not Israel, not Saudi Arabia, not Palestine & all this mess we get dragged into. If a place of worship promotes better understanding & reflection among religions..be it near ground zero or not.. if its legal.. let it be. The right wing never has talked up the Pentagon mosque because there is no political hay there 🙂 I applaud Mayor Bloomberg, as well as Zakaria for his guts. An observer

    August 7, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Why does it have to be 13 stories???

      August 8, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
  17. lindy

    The mosque is an insult to the victims of 911 but they don't care about that...

    August 7, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
  18. jim

    Fareed is a man of true character. The time is long over due for the moslem people to enjoy the same respect as Christians and Jews. It's as simple as that! Asfor Adnan and the others who fall back on "Jew bashing," they need to get over themselves and move forward. Blacks are often accused of playing the "race card." I would suggest that it is easier to use the "persecution card" than it is to make necessary changes.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:02 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      If they want respect... They should earn it first... That is the problem with the World they think they deserve everything at others expense!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
  19. Ignore the Main Stream Media

    Zakaria is a left-wing nut job and anit-Semite. CNN would be better to be rid of him.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:02 pm |
  20. fanta

    It's so easy to Jewbash and hate anything about tehm or Israel.....now we see where Zakaria's true character and loyalties lie.....of course he fears the retribution from the muslims ! Before people anger or criticise Israel they should visit there and meet the people personally and experience what it's liek to have neighbours whose only perpetual ambitions and agendas are the total destruction of Israel !

    August 7, 2010 at 10:57 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.