August 7th, 2010
03:19 PM ET

Fareed Zakaria to return Anti-Defamation League award over ground zero mosque

Here's a statement the Anti-Defamation League released yesterday in response to Zakaria's announcement:


New York, NY, August 6, 2010 … In response to Fareed Zakaria returning an award that was presented to him in 2005, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said it was “saddened, stunned and somewhat speechless” by his decision.

Zakaria, the host of Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN and a Newsweek columnist, was presented the League’s Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize in 2005 for his journalism and championing the values of the First Amendment. In a letter received today, Mr. Zakaria indicated that while he was “delighted” to receive the award then, he could not “in good conscience hold onto the award” after learning of the League’s decision to urge the relocation of the planned Islamic Center near Ground Zero.

"I am not only saddened but stunned and somewhat speechless by your decision to return the ADL Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize you accepted in 2005,” Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, wrote in a letter responding to Mr. Zakaria.

As someone I greatly respect for engaging in discussion and dialogue with an open mind, I would have expected you to reach out to me before coming to judgment,” Mr. Foxman added.

Foxman said he hoped that Mr. Zakaria “will come to see that ADL acted appropriately” and would reclaim the award bestowed upon him.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Judaism • Muslim • Religious liberty

soundoff (215 Responses)
  1. 8009887




    August 8, 2010 at 1:17 am |
    • Americano


      MORE than dozens Rabies stood up and said that the Imam has been working with them and churches to improve interfaith in the area.

      Go back to you WHITE TRASH HILL and keep watching "KING OF THE HILL"


      August 8, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
  2. PeacNut

    The right thing is to replace the mosque with a chapel/temple/mosque/ etc. representative of all faiths. Mr. Zakaria should have taken that stance.

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

      I do agree that if a worshipping room be granted at ground zero one, all the nations religion i.e. Christains/Buddhists/Musims/Jews/Hindu....etc be given the same right to built their respective religious praying place. It is not fair just to allow the only one religion to have the right to do so. We are living in a multi culture country, so, everyone has their right to go there and pick the place they want to go and pray.

      August 8, 2010 at 1:40 am |
  3. John

    When I was in high school in southern California practically every year Israeli students would come and speak to our student body about the conflict in the middle east, and spread Israeli propaganda. I took it upon myself to ask my teacher if I could invite Palestinian students to come and speak on the other side of the issue, my teacher agreed. The next day my teacher told me that the ADL local chapter had called the school and complained saying that the school was inviting "terrorists" to address the students. Unfortunately the ADL is only interested in protecting Jewish and Israel rights in American. Others are to be silenced and marginalized.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
    • Adam

      I totally agree. I was born here... I'm German and Russian, and I am a convert to Islam... I also served 6 years in the army defending this country as a Muslim... But everyday I look at what America is becoming and I ask myself whether I want to live here anymore... And sadly I don't. I've been studying Arabic and my wife 2. We are looking T moving to Dubai where we will be free from all of this persecution... I love America, but am ashamed to be called an American every time I hear people say these things... I guess in a few years if things don't change then I will give up my us citizenship to live elsewhere... And that truly saddens me to think about

      August 8, 2010 at 12:07 am |
  4. truthywood

    Did you shed tear last week when Americans killed 25 innocent civilians in Afghanistan ?

    August 7, 2010 at 10:50 pm |
  5. truthywood

    Fareed is right, the same people who are opposing Mosque have no problems in supporting the country Israel on the graves of thousands of Palestinians. Why is this double standard now ? When they have whole country on the graves of Palestinians bombed by Nazi American bombs.

    August 7, 2010 at 10:49 pm |
  6. Versamedi

    Just today, we heard the news about ten people were killed by moslem terrorists. They were killed because of they were nonmuslims! Did FZ shed tears? Are you listening Fareed? What do you have to say? And let me ask the people who are backing for the mosque being built near ground zero. Do the moslem countries allow non muslims to rightfully build their religious facilities to be built? Shame on you Fareed.

    August 7, 2010 at 10:39 pm |
  7. Arnab

    I completely support Fareed and denounce ADL for not doing what is right. Disallowing a mosque in Manhattan for offending 9/11 victims is as ridiculous sounding as suggesting that there should not be churches in Brooklyn since the perpetrators of the Holocaust were Christians. I am no Muslim and do not believe in organized religion, but find it unfair that people for 9/11 are not being recognized as terrorists or criminals, but as religious people. In that process, ADL ironically, is defaming an entire religion and not recognizing that the "healing" process is also for their compatriots who are Muslims.

    August 7, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
    • sam


      August 7, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
    • John

      Bravo! It could also be argued that a synagogue should not be built near ground zero because Israelis were seen filming the event and dancing. Where will this nonsense and bigotry end? The posts in this room also give me chills and make me wonder what kind of America we live in.

      August 7, 2010 at 11:35 pm |
    • FrankLW

      The reality is that THOUSANDS of Muslims all over the world were dancing in celebration of 9/11 and that is VERY well documented. The hearsay about the 5 Israelis is absurd; at least 400 Jews perished on 9/11 and Israelis everywhere were, and are still, deeply saddened by the events – regardless of the identity of the victims.

      August 8, 2010 at 6:48 am |
    • BB

      Arnab you deserve what u r getting from terrorists in your country India. Was holocaust inspired by christianity? Do u know how many christians died in holocaust? Almost equal number of jews. Do u know how many christian missionaries helped jewish children, smuggled them out risking their lives and sometimes got caught and killed? On the contrary you are well aware of islamic habits of building sign of their victory on top of the places of worships, as there are plenty in india. Onus lies on muslims now, how they will reciprocate to non-muslims who have always accepted them. They should stop behaving like spoilt child and be sympathetic to others who lost their dear ones. Excercising rights are not always right, rights come with responsibility. Finally a large number of families said they are offended, now at least u should stop speculating.

      August 8, 2010 at 11:56 am |
    • Arnab

      While, one may be tempted to reason like you BB, you yourself provide evidence that perverted and extremist interpretations of religions (whether Islam or Christianity) are often protested by the right thinking people of the same religion. It is therefore all the more important in this case that the right thinking people given a chance. While many people in this debate may be upset about the potential symbolism of this event, you would agree, a lot of energy here comes from ignorance, bigotry and plain xenophobia.
      And, about India, I agree that there have been very very horrific attacks in India. However, in spite of the many, many short comings our country has, I am proud we have evolved beyond hate. Thus, in our pluralist society, terrorism does not define India, Indians or Indian Muslims. What better an example is but Fareed Zakaria, who is one of the most rational thinkers of our time, and in Mr. Foxman's words he "greatly respect(s) for engaging in discussion and dialogue with an open mind"

      August 8, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  8. sam

    I am proud of you. I hope others people with brains can take stand just like you did. Reading comments here give me chills. It appears to me that America is for Jews & Christians. All other religions are treated as minorities were treated back in dark age. I hope all people can understand that Afghanistan & Iran are not the only muslim nations. Churches & other tamples are built in many muslim countries. Also there were muslims in world trade center working who were killed on 9/11. Terrorists aim was to destroy US economy and divide us. Watch bin ladens tape before 9/11. I can understand emotions of people who lost their loved ones. Many muslims did. Punishing folks who lived their whole life here in USA for some terrorists living in some cave is nutts. Wake up folks. I am ashamed.

    August 7, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
    • deedeemiller

      Your words appears to be like the words of an enemy within. Are you an enemie within?

      August 8, 2010 at 10:39 am |
    • SayWhaaa!!

      Don't worry Deedee the future is not for hateful bigots, your kind will die with time!!

      August 8, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  9. Mike Campbell

    After all the pleading,requesting ,and behind-the-door negotiations...one would believe that The Sharia loving jerks would offer to re-locate to let the families of the 911 event know they have the heart and decency to listen.

    But their waving the koran and middle finger right at everyone.In the U.K. The muslims are getting their way ,no matter the stakes.And the real citizens are taking it up the bum.The EU is having their way ...with or without the voters approval.
    Their actually considering some terms of sharia law for muslims in the UK.I'm not going to idling stand by and watch and wait

    August 7, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  10. S. Peters

    As a longtime supporter, promoter and Sunday morning viewer of Mr. Z it is with great sadness we learn of his obvious biased opinion while jumping on the bandwagon issue of the Mosque's building intent. The award he is returning cannot be seen as anything but a publicity hungry talking head self-interest in scoring points. The ADL did in no way condemn the project though they could not support it. Further, while I've personally worked on my own project to eliminate any and all ignorance driven prejudice from my life or those stupid enough to express such, it is shocking to learn of Mr. Z's own challenges. Islam, all of Islam bears direct shame for the actions of those fanatic terrorist extremists of 9/11. I emphasize ALL of Islam...The utter nightmare of 9/11 is but one piece of the crimes perpetrated by so called Muslim extremists. Where are the voices from this very Mosque going on the public airwaves to condemn all such heinous crimes. Of more major concern, Mr. Z's total lack of compassion for family members who lost loved ones on that horrid Tuesday, instead suggesting they are somehow acting out of prejudice? (they lost family members STUPID) One could go one presenting opposition to Mr. Z's ire-but he grandstands to present his personal view in this using his media position as a bully pulpit for his personal political agenda. (Or in Zakaria speak: bersonal bolitical agenda). CNN-I'm back to Meet the Press and Christina Amanpor this Sunday and for the foreseeable future...

    August 7, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  11. Clyde

    I now have great respect for the ADL. Fareed does not deserve the award so it is good it is being returned. This mosque should never be built at GZ; that is like the neo-Nazis building a shrine to their cause at Dachau.

    Shame on New York City officials. They are so wrong. This will not benefit our country but will benefit the muslims whose goal is to conquer the Western Civilization. There is no muslim who reads the "book" and believes their crap that will ever be a loyal American. We Christian & Jewish Americans are unbelievers to them and they kill unbelievers. Look at the history of the muslims; they are not peace loving but have been terrorist throughout history. Look at recent history: blowing up trains, buses, buildings, etc. in Western Europe, our Embassy, etc.

    NATO has said the muslims will be the majority in Western Europe by the tern of the century and others said sooner. How long will it take for them to take over America, their true dream? They want their laws enforced, not the country's they live in. there have recently been two lawsuits by muslims suing PRIVATE CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITIES IN TEXAS because of the word Lord on the diploma. The muslims lost.


    August 7, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  12. Charlise Mathew

    Fareed is a Muslim. Shame on you Mr Fareed.

    August 7, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
    • Omar

      Yeah – it looks like, in this world and age; only Muslims can take on the devil heads and have the guts not to sell his/her soul to the devil!

      August 8, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  13. Zaynab Rana

    Thanks Fareed, for always standing for justice.

    August 7, 2010 at 9:51 pm |
    • deedeemiller

      Thank FZ for showing your true colour. Let's keep an eyes to all muslims in America!!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 10:38 am |
  14. Dale

    Building a mosque at Ground Zero the IMAMS will be brainwashing and Teaching this From: patriotyzm the Koran:

    Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them (2:191)

    Make war on the infidels living in your neighborhoods (9:123)

    When opportunity arises, kill the infidels wherever you catch them (9:5)

    Kill the Jews and the Christians if they do not convert to Islam or refuse to pay Jizya tax (9:29)

    Any religion other than Islam is not acceptable (3:85)

    The Jews and the Christians are perverts; fight them (9:30)

    Maim and crucify the infidels if they criticize Islam. (5:33)

    The infidels are unclean; do not let them into a mosque (9:28)

    Punish the unbelievers with garments of fire, hooked iron rods, boiling water; melt their skin and bellies (22:19)

    Do not hanker for peace with the infidels; behead them when you catch them (47:4)

    The unbelievers are stupid; urge the Muslims to fight them (8:65)

    Muslims must not take the infidels as friends (3:28)

    Terrorize and behead those who believe in scriptures other than the Qur’an (8:12)

    Muslims must muster all weapons to terrorize the infidels (8:60)

    And there is more hate in the Koran.

    August 7, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
  15. Bal

    Just one word for you Fareed- Shame on you, its not about freedom of religion, its about those heart who lost their loved one, its about that tragedy.

    August 7, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
    • Michael Elwood

      That's actually three words, Bal. Moreover, if this was about those who lost a loved one on 9/11, why are the persons [Pam 'the scam" Geller and Robert spencer] leading the opposition associated with Neonazis who oppose the construction of mosques in America and Europe?

      August 8, 2010 at 1:02 am |
  16. Pamela de Maigret

    Perhaps Fareed Zakaria's gracious and reasoned explanation sent so many of the above responders into a frenzy of hate just because it was so reasonable. Inexplicably, American Jews have tried to coopt the Nine-Eleven issue as their own personal tragedy. It's not! It's an American tragedy - and as an American, I say, back off! We were all attacked - Christian, Moslem, Buddhist, Athiest and Jew. We were not attacked by Moslems, we were attacked by criminals, whom no religion would welcome.

    August 7, 2010 at 9:19 pm |
  17. Wm T Sherman

    The mosque is scheduled to open on Sept. 11, 2011 – the tenth anniversary of the attack.

    We understand. It is a triumphal monument to jihad.

    August 7, 2010 at 9:00 pm |
    • John

      Nonsense. Its enough to be a plain bigot without resorting to pure lies.

      August 7, 2010 at 11:28 pm |
    • deedeemiller

      It seems like building a big Mosque in one year so that it can be inaugurated on September 11, 2010, is a preparation for a second attack in NY by the muslims. As far as I know most of the Imams are terrorists themselves since their checks are coming from terrorist nations. Who knows! this must be a signal giving to them by their bossesfrom al qaeda. Where is the FBI in all of this? Is al qaeda has also infiltrated the FBI. We are in trouble. Not in America! We going to kick their asses on 9/11/2011. That is the American way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      August 8, 2010 at 10:34 am |
  18. PhillyRN

    The ADL opposes the mosque because of the shady financial associations of the backers. FZ is not willing to do the hard work of being a journalist anymore, since he's become a media icon rather than a working researcher. Creepingsharia.com has extensively covered this association, and the links are troubling.

    August 7, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  19. ME

    How is it that the Jews have co opted this issue as their own? It is an endless litany of victimization and now hate speech. towards all Muslims....really incredible. I commend Fareed Zakaria on his position and as neither a Jew or Muslim....I think the ADL took an ass backwards position on this issue. If there is ....as alleged...a rise in anti semitism then I think the people that have registered their voices on this site don't have far to look to know why.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
    • deedeemiller

      You are wrong! Go do your homework! He was born in India to muslim parents. Once a muslim, always a muslim. Think about it America! We are in trouble. No wonder we having so many Czars in the White House

      August 8, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  20. Christian Nation

    Bill almost said it all but Jew put the finishing touches on it. Thank You!

    August 7, 2010 at 7:44 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.