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. ronw

    Zakaria not an American and is out of touch with the real world. He is a an elitist that has no idea what middle America thinks. Much like CNN

    August 8, 2010 at 12:11 am |
    • pnfctg

      America and the World at large would be a better place if Middle America actually thought !

      August 8, 2010 at 12:40 am |
  2. MucAlFuzlims

    Of course the mosque is simply a trophy. The muzzies talk one story over in that armpit called the middle east and preach another over here as if to think they're fooling anyone except the liberal dems. Another thing, I hate the wars we're in more than anything. But we are dealing with a rabid disease and I'd rather deal with it over in the arm pit than in my back yard. As for the mosque, it is a baby step in their effort to bring the arm pit to my back yard. Its what they do. Its all they do. Unfortunately, the liberals have slimed their way into a little political influence right now. Wait until November. Then until 2012. Then we can deal with the disease without bowing to it and apologizing to it.

    August 8, 2010 at 12:10 am |
  3. MAX


    August 8, 2010 at 12:09 am |
    • Fahim Lodhi

      Max you are an IDIOT!...He openly denounces terrorism in the new york times...Muslims organizations like CAIR, ISNA, AND ICNA also do the same...STOP BEING A RACIST IDIOT!

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

      Max = Maximally Stupid !

      August 8, 2010 at 12:38 am |
  4. Kelly

    Oh, get over yourself, Rose. You're basing the intent of an entire culture based on what one Muslim friend said? Do you honestly think that one friend speaks for all Muslims? Only the fundamentalists believe that the Islamic community should either 1)assimilate America or 2)destroy America completely. Wake up, please; there are many Americans who already practiced Islam before 9/11 and there are mosques all over this country! One extra mosque near Ground Zero is not declaration of anything other than Muslims deserve the right to worship as they choose...as all Americans can. I suppose you're one of the many who's willing to fly the American flag whenever you feel like you're being stepped on, but it's OK for us to step on others. Let me tell you this; I'm Jewish and I don't agree with the ADL on this point at all. Why? Because I can see the larger picture and I'm not so blinded by the opinions of one part of my culture. You can call me unpatriotic and unamerican all you want; I still was born and raised here, I'm still educated in my civil rights, and I still believe that others deserve the same. The problem here is ignorance, not Islam.

    August 8, 2010 at 12:06 am |
    • Fahim Lodhi

      Thank You for being an understanding person..it is people like you who make America the best country in the world!

      August 8, 2010 at 12:25 am |
    • Rose

      Kelly, you really need to open your eyes, because you are the blind one here. Yes, my muslim friend tells me this, but he's not the only one. His friends are saying the same, and they are saying these things in many conservative circles. They watch in amusement. Sure, other mosques existed prior to 911, but this isn't just any mosque. The other mosques can and should stay. But this ground zero mosque has a specific purpose. Like I said, go have someone translate the Arabic media for you on this subject and then come back and make an informed comment.

      And Fahim, is the Iman really moderate? It would be nice if he told Arabaic media that. I know that this Iman or the backers do no represent the majority of American Muslims and I don't equate the two. But their intention is obvious. Wake up!

      August 8, 2010 at 8:37 am |
    • Kelly

      Translate the Arabic media?? So, since some Muslims in the Middle East are spouting nonsense, that means all American Muslims are too? You cannot judge all by the actions of a few! That's like me saying another Holocaust is coming because the Germans still exist and its still spoken about in Germany. Not all Germans are anti-Semites, yet they're judged by the actions of their ancestors. Not all Muslims are terrorists, yet they pay the price daily for what a few of them have done. Don't forget, Muslims died in 9/11 too, and I don't mean those who were terrorists. The hatred you and others are spewing only gives credence to the fundamentalists...and then you wonder why they hate America so much. But do not, do NOT presume to speak for all Muslims because you have a couple of friends who say otherwise. Until you poll every Muslim in the country or even worldwide and can show me that Islam is as big a threat as you say, maybe then I'll worry.

      August 8, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
  5. RC

    fareed zakaria just commited career suicide. he should know that doing or saying anything against jews is the most serious crime one can commit in america and canl not be forgiven. the powers that be in america will soon make him vanish from the media and public life

    August 8, 2010 at 12:03 am |
  6. art williams

    If you accept the mosque then:You must accept, with a few exceptions, reluctance of Muslims in the US to condemn 9/11.
    You must also consider that Muslims worldwide will view the completed mosque and location, as an " in your face" symbol of victory when
    their religious Call to Prayer echos, three times a day, every day, from Mosque portals to portals of the completed ground zero buildings, a few short blocks away.

    August 8, 2010 at 12:00 am |
    • Fahim Lodhi

      Your stupid...American Muslims completely denounce the attacks that took place on 9/11...let me tell you about some Islamic organizations that are openly against terrorism...ISNA, ICNA, AND CAIR. These organizations are openly opposing terrorism, yet people like you fail to take notice...and yes some uneducated Muslims did celebrate, but why didn't the media focus on the individuals who openly opposed it. Don't for get 1200 muslims lost their lives on 9/11 and one final fact...the Imam of the proposed mosque has openly denounced Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the New York Times...!

      August 8, 2010 at 12:20 am |
  7. Fariba

    The ADL is finally being exposed for its longstanding and heretofore unchallenged hypocrisy. Now we all have to be prepared to cry foul if ADL attempts to throw its slowly dimininshing weight around to retaliate against Fareed Zakaria for calling them out on the carpet.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
  8. Teufel Hunden

    i'll support it just as soon as the muslims let us build a synagogue in Riyadh.

    semper fi

    August 7, 2010 at 11:58 pm |
  9. DSRobins

    Bravo to Fareed Zakaria for having the courage to return his prize to the jewish Andi-Defamation League which used to be a respectable organization, but has become simply another cog in the propaganda wheel of the racist state of Israel, AIPAC, and the very large lobby of jewish bigots here in America. Let's hope others soon follow his path.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:57 pm |
  10. Memphispiano

    For all you morons that are so brave to speak up to the powerful ADL, why are you not crying out to Saudi Arabia asking why there is not one synagogue or church in their entire country?
    We have thousands of mosques in the U.S....only an inconsiderate unfeeling group would even be attempting to build this at Ground Zero. And we demonize the ADL for feeling this way?

    August 7, 2010 at 11:55 pm |
    • Fahim Lodhi

      You want to know why there aren't synagogues, or churches in Saudi Arabia, because there aren't really any Jew or Christians in that country. The ADL says it supports everyone's first amendment right, but how come they aren't right now? Plus why are you bringing in other countries into this...this is about America, and what it stands for. The Constitution garuantees freedom or religion and a free place to worship...so why is the ADL going against what it stands for, and most importantly the Constitution...THIS IS ABOUT AMERICA, SO DON'T BRING ANOTHER COUNTRY INTO THIS DISSCUSSION! REMEMBER 1200 MUSLIMS LOST THEIR LIVES ON 9/11!

      August 8, 2010 at 12:16 am |
  11. Jaye.D

    MR. ZAKARIA YOU ARE MY HERO!!!! Good for you for standing up and having what is called a "true conscience"!!!!!! Thank you.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:51 pm |
    • Fahim Lodhi

      Your one of the few people who actually know what they are talking about....lol

      August 7, 2010 at 11:53 pm |
  12. Jack

    This is ridiculous. The award was given to him a few years ago. There's no reason to be retroactive with your disgust. Life moves forward, not backwards. He should be honored, and respect the award for the spirit in which it was given. He could make a public statement that he totally disagrees with their position, but to give it back shows immaturity, intolerance and pettiness, on his part Actually, I don't think he ever really wanted the award, because they are Jews. This gives him a chance to get out of it, and look good doing it.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
  13. Rabbi David

    No, its the ADL who is wrong.They are wrong for giving out prizes like crackerjack toys for advancing the cause of tolerance of Jews.Some things are a given.6 million and more of my family have been slaughtered and hopefully the rest of you now know it can happen to any of you regardless of color,religion or ethnic background.American Jews have a very different behavior than Israeli or Russian Jews and judging all jews by the actions of one group of radical liberal elitists,is the same as saying ALL blacks are Democrats or ALL whites are Republicans.No more prizes to anyone for simply doing what is right.And if the ADL wants to be concerned with something it better be nukes in Iran not Mosques in NYC, which already has a number of them.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:47 pm |
  14. Fahim Lodhi

    This shouldn't be about "hating" Jews. I am a Muslim and I get along with Jewish people really well. This shouldn't turn into an issue about race or what religion you follow. This is a property issue.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:45 pm |
  15. The Masked Rider

    I know many of you are just sitting around, typing through preconvived notions about the world. If have a good feeling that for many of you, that day was something on TV, or the newspaper or the computer.

    I do not speak on the grounds of religion, or the grounds of politics or any other dumb catagory. I speak only in the name of those whom are the true victums of that day; a name I am proud to carry. I am a New Yorker. And most of us DON'T want it. Not becuase we don't like muslems, but becuase this is just too painful.That mosque should not be built, not because of any STUPID reasons you've all been whining about. It should not be built because, As much as they try, that wound in the heart of MY CITY, MY HOME will never, ever, truly close. We will never forget what was done to us. The hole ripped into 4 square city blocks. The two gleeming symbols of what made our city great, gone. How heartless do you have to be to take someone else's disagreement, heck, our deisagreement, our pain, our suffering, and make it about yourself...?

    August 7, 2010 at 11:45 pm |
    • Fahim Lodhi

      Hey don't you realize many Muslims lost their lives that tragic day...about 1200 MUSLIMS LOST THEIR LIVES THAT DAY! What do you tell those Muslims? What do you tell the Muslims who proudly serve this great nation?

      August 7, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
    • Mark

      So true. This represents such a lack of sensibility and caring that one does not have to go far to realize that it is not about the Islam Center/Mosque. It is about poking a stick in the eye of the victims loved ones and all of us who suffered with them on that awful day. If they really cared about healing, why not get involved in victims rights groups, why not ask the families of the victims if they are offended by building this edifice on hallowed grounds.
      Rabbi Foxman didn't say it couldn't be built. He suggested it shouldn't be built because it hurts those who need to be given all the empathy and understanding in the world.
      Shame on this initiative and those who support it. Just another brazen anti-American action. Not by coincidence a Muslim, not a Jew or Christian, tried to blow an airplane over Detroit at Christmas this year. Not be coincidence, a Muslim, not a Jew or Christian, tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square this year.
      When will this ill-conceived naivety, finally resolve itself?

      August 7, 2010 at 11:53 pm |
    • ReMote

      I will defend not only yours, but my freedom to say whatever we want in the USA.
      However, you make it sound as if you think anyone who would "dare" to have any opinion other than YOURS is heartless.
      I am not heartless, as the term is usually meant, even though I do not agree with a few other things as well within your post.
      Say your say, but don't label everyone the same unless you are talking about something that effects everyone in the world...because that is potentially who you are talking TO.

      August 8, 2010 at 12:01 am |
    • Kelly

      I've got two words for you, Mark: Timothy McVeigh.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:14 am |
  16. Fahim Lodhi

    @Rose, are you dumb? I think you are! If you actually did your research, the Imam of the Mosque/Cultural Center, is a moderate Muslim. Hes openly preached against Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban. He openly writes his opinions, which are against terrorism. This is something our government has been looking for, a Muslim leader who opposes terrorism, and yet hes not the only one. The ADL says that we have to take into heart the "people" who lost their lives on 9/11, well don't those "people" include the 1200 Muslims who lost their lives on the tragic day? Its people like you who often forget many Muslims have sacrificed a lot for this country!

    August 7, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
  17. matt

    I knew that there was something good on that indian guy..... he was honest with himself.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
  18. Mark

    Still waiting for a response from the Iman of the proposed Islam Center in downtown NYC regarding the cold-blooded terrorist murder of 10 physicians in Afghanistan today. They were killed because they were Christians and had bibles in their possession. Only their driver was spared because he was a Muslim.
    Mr. Zakaria has his priorities backwards.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      People get over this subject already??? II have enough of it myself!!! Bye...

      August 8, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
  19. Ibu Lala

    to sosadnews or whatever..

    If u didn't hear about the outrage of Muslims after 9/11, it was because you were too engrossed watching FOX news and other similar media outlets who were too happy to show few palestinians dancing on the streets rather than relay the Muslim world outrage to your eyes and ears.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
    • Mark


      August 7, 2010 at 11:44 pm |
  20. Terry from west Texas

    The three world religions that came from the middle east – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – have been a lot more trouble than they are worth. Their adherents each believe that they have inherited the one and only truely true religion. They have been killing each other and trying to encode their nutty theologies in our laws for two millenia. We need to return those religions to the manufacturer and ask for a refund. We were cheated. We deserve better religions than these three losers.

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

      Excellent observation .... the 3 defunct ideologies of semitic origin .... judaism, christianity and islam. The world will most likely be a better place without these monstorities.

      August 8, 2010 at 12:36 am |
    • PeteM

      I agree. The craziness has got to stop.
      But where are the rational people within the religions themselves?
      What can they do, if they exist?

      August 8, 2010 at 1:21 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.