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. Kat Nanton

    If the muslims worshipping in mosques are just your nice, peaceful types, how come so many American muslims are learning jihadism within those mosque walls?

    August 8, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
    • Omar

      They could be responding to the hate and persecution being meted out to them. However there are no excuses and there is no basis for terrorism in Islam. Jihad is a good word, not an evil word – it implies constant struggle towards piety and goodness in the state of things. The word Jihad should not be hijacked to signify terrorism/violence!

      August 8, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
    • Jose

      It is because every mosque is an Al Qaeda terrorist-training sleeper cell. It is no secret they wish to slay everyone they consider "an infidel." They just murdered six American doctors in Afghanistan for allegedly preaching Christianity and carrying Bibles. That goes to show how brute, cruel and barbarian they are. Imagine if the USA did the same thing to them for selling the Quran here? They can come the the USA and build terrorist sleeper-cell mosques and pervert (not convert) people to Islam and blow up our bulidings and murder our citizens but we can't build churces much less take Bibles to so-called Musilm countries. We had enough of their despot and arrogant attitude.

      August 9, 2010 at 3:10 am |
  2. Mark from Middle River

    Uncle Sam – There comes to a point when people look towards periods in history and wonder how could one person do such horrifiying acts to another and they wonder how it happened. Folks like Dnns I worry about because just like many things throughout life I wonder how much is pure hatred and how much is fear.

    Hatred we can face as a society but fear is different and often it is fear that will cause people to act to protect themselves. That same fear I believe will have ones acting upon this mosque when it is finished. I do not live in that area but I do have to go through that area a few times a year and I genuienly worry because I do not want to be caught in a crossfire between folks that have a fear of Islam and those of this mosque. I do not want to turn on FoxNews or CNN and hear how someone bombed or simular to this place.

    I remember when the Latter Day Saints built a church in my town long ago and someone burned it almost to the ground. Its always going to be something or someone but I do worry.

    August 8, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  3. cynthia ramirz

    A mosque near 9/11 site is a disgrace to this country and to those who lost loved ones. As a born New Yorker, the 9/11 incident left a hole in my spirit and it was a deliberate act of hate from Muslims to the West. Many danced for joy throughtout the world. Now we are to be toleant of a religion that produces these people who hate us, demand their rights under our constitutuion while persecuting and killing anyone carrying a bible in their countries. Our seculuar uneducated Americans better study the Islam religion and take note of the fundlemental teachings. Convert the world to Islam is among those teachings. I have a masters in theology and have spent years studying the Koran and Islamic thinking. A mosque near the 9/11 site will be a symbol of victory over the west, not a bridge towards tolerance. Shame on New Yorkers that think so little of what happened in our beloved city and agree with Fareed. In the near future you will wake up and wonder where we went wrong.

    August 8, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  4. Uncle Sam

    dnns: There are plenty of Muslims who are Americans, and who love this country. If you think Islam is a backwards religion, then fine, keep that to yourself. Dont hate others or treat others different just because you dont believe in their religion. Theres plenty of crime, hate and extremism in other religions and other parts of the world. Just because the media says its true doesnt mean its actually true. You need to go back where you came from, re-educate yourself, then come back here to post. Your hate filled words dont help the situation, if your so concerned about posting here, why not try to learn the other side of things first? Why go on the attacking?

    Just to point out, there were Muslims who died among the 9/11 attacks too. This community center would honor all of the Muslims who died on that day as well. Extremism is among many religions and all walks of life, it hurts everyone and isnt fair. I dont believe those extremists who attacked the World Trade Center are Muslims, sure theyre extremists but they werent practicing Islam. Suicide is not condoned in Islam, in fact it is forbidden (its a sin). Killing women, children, elderly and unarmed civilians is also a sin. First, take in both sides, learn the whole truth, then make your decision. Dont just hate.

    August 8, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  5. waldo

    Your response is the same that I have read in islamic jihadist writings. 1.-First this is not about freedom of religion. The muslims already built a Mosque in Manhattan.( Mr Feisal's father built it) They enjoy every conceivable freedom in USA, despite the hatred and envy of The USA. The same freedoms are not given to people in Iran, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, but in USA you demand it. It is true that muslims are in the army, but many of them have been spies, saboteurs, or outright criminals like Mayor Hassan. 2.-If You want a center for peace, the first thing you do is to reach out to the leaders of the families whose relatives have been killed by the Islamic terrorists, you also reach out to all the religious leaders in New York, pro and against the building, because America is not only a piece of land only, but the People that built it, Therefore the issue is not the building but, the lack of decency and sensitivity to these Islamists. If you want peace, in good fate, you built a please in conjunction with other religions, to promote civility, plurality, other wise this is a provocation. 3.-This Islamists , under the banner of Islamophobia , have decided to force on the politicians and force on the American people, the unacceptable. 4.-Mayor Bloomber, you know that he was a republican, then a democrat, then an independent, then when he run out of parties he change the rules of The board of elections, in order to serve his God that is Political power and money. His pathetic speech will live in infamy, along with his sponsors. Finally as for your returning of your medal, that is not an act of bravery, but a sham

    August 8, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
    • Americano


      WHAT THE TORPEDO ATTACK ON THE US warship during the 1967 war that killed dozens of AMERICAN SAILORS and still until now OUR FRIEND THE ISRAELI won't apologize to the victims nor pay them any respects.

      THEY FINALLY SHOWED THEIR TRUE FACE.....If you fart towards Israel they slap you with THE ANTI-SEMITIC BULLLLSHHHH

      August 8, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
  6. Uncle Sam

    "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....towards Jews."

    In case they havent noticed, they only protect their own interests. They havent once shown that they actually care about bridging the gap between the Jewish community and the Islamic community. And with this move from Zakaria, I hope they change their stand, because while they say everyone opposing the Community Center is a bigot, they themselves have sided with the bigots...so whos the bigot now?

    August 8, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  7. Das

    On thing is sure, Mr. Fareed Zakaria did not deserved that price. Period.

    August 8, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  8. Rex Magnus

    Shall we support the zionist ADL, or the islamofascist Zakaria?
    Both are only interested in their own people's domination of the rest of us!

    August 8, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  9. Laura

    The ADL claims to "counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry" yet they want to prohibit a mosque at a certain site. Ironical!

    August 8, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  10. dnnis

    i was stuned a mosque at ground cero? that is a insult to all americans, we dont need another mosque in USA. muslin is a backword religion full of hate, how they treat their womans, the Iman should go back where he came from, we dont need your hatefull teachings at ground cero, please NY. city people, dont allow this, in the name of religion freedon, and the politicians of NY. are approving of this, in the name of money, to be made, dont forget the blood of the victims, that did runs on the same sidewalk that this mosque, is giong to be, shame all of you that support this to happen.

    August 8, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
    • SAK

      Do your research before you post next time. It's not on ground zero, it's actually a few blocks away and cannot even be seen from the sight. People are in such an uproar and act as though someone is trying to build a mosque right over ground zero which is not even close to being the case.

      And just for the record (since you obviously didn't even make it past the 8th grade), it is ground ZERO, not "cero".

      August 15, 2010 at 12:15 am |
  11. M Thompson

    I have listened carefully to the arguments that this proposed structure housing a Moslem cultural center is an effort on the part of the Moslem community to reach out for greater mutual understanding, as well as exercising the constitutional right to unfettered practice of religion. Even if I were willing to believe that the New York Imams and Moslems are totally honest and truly working for such altruistic goals, I strongly believe that such proximity to Ground Zero is, at the very least, insensitive. I also believe that, regardless of whatever the viewpoints of American Moslems might be, the greater Moslem and Islamist worlds tend to see things in a more traditional light. From the time of the building of the Al Aqsa Mosque on top of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem a thousand or so years ago, to the shrine in India which prompts riots periodically for the same reasons, to the Hagia Sophia and the Bamiyan Buddhas, and so on, there have always been frankly gloating accounts of Islam's rather literal "burying" of other religions. All part of the whole "kill the infidels!" mystique... Were the New York Moslems truly caring of their neighbors and cognizant of world opinion, I do not think they would propose such an institution. If I am aware of what is likely world perception, within the Moslem world, of such results, they surely must be. Therefore, I must conclude that this proposal fits in with its historic precedents. If that is the case, allowing the project to continue has the potential of becoming over time, a perceptional nightmare for America, even if it should be, for a few seconds, a public relations triumph for American Liberalism. It is most unfortunate that the architectural review board was not a bit more discreet - internal, less-obvious adaptive (and reversible!) uses of a traditional New York landmark building rather than a somewhat over-sized and intimidating assertion of power in the design and construction of a triumphant new building would be infinitely preferable. I also think that 9/11 was a national and international tragedy, not a peculiarly New York one, and should be viewed as part of a much larger picture than has been true in this case. A more careful assessment of TRUE results and perceptions nationwide and worldwide should be part of the deliberations. I am also sorry that Mr. Zakaria felt the need to return his ADL award. I fail to understand why Americans must, in every way and to great extremes, favorably accommodate "new" minorities to the pain and inconvenience of existing and responsible citizens. If any persons or minorities wish to become Americans, perhaps they should make a few adjustments in order to do so, rather than forcing the reverse. I also fail to understand why free practice of religion MUST occur in a geographically sensitive area - there is no proposal that the Moslem religious practices be limited or altered in any way - just that they not be placed in the midst of a monument dedicated to the memory of thousands of murdered Americans, of all races and religions. If nothing else, stealing the spotlight is incredibly insensitive. Incidentally, I am a political and religious moderate – I am neither TeaParty, Liberal, Conservative, nor Jewish. I believe that I would be best described as "mainstream".

    August 8, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
  12. Mishagothe

    Please CNN get this Muslim traitor off your broadcasts. Idiots such as Mr. Zakaria are why there is no such thing as a "moderate Muslim." He is tool being used, willingly or otherwise, by those Muslims who are dedicated to wiping all non-Muslims from the face of the earth. Islam is an evil, corrupt cult founded by a pedophile nut job. We did not tolerate Nazis, why the cries for tolerance of an even greater evil?

    August 8, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
    • Omar

      Dude – you certainly dont sound Christian or a Jew, certainly not a Muslim. You sound like a devil in this thread – the same devil that inspired the likes of Hitler and those who caused the genocide in Bosnia elsewhere..; So please get the hell out of here before you get bashed by all the alive souls here...

      August 8, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
  13. Kat Nanton

    If islam protects the rights of other religions why are they burning churches worldwide and erecting mosques in their place? Why can you not carry a Bible in muslimville. Do you really think we are all that stupid to buy into that islam is peace mantra?

    August 8, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
    • Omar

      There is no compulsion in religion in Islam. The acts of some munafiqeens /muslim pretenders or hypocrites does not define the whole religion – so you understand what is right and wrong and study and then make judegement calls...;

      "Acquire knowledge. It enables its possessor to distinguish right from wrong; it lights the way to Heaven; it is our friend in the desert, our society in solitude, our companion when friendless, it guides us to happiness; it sustains us in misery; it is an ornament amongst friends; and an armor against enemies."
      - Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him)

      Sura 2 – Al-Baqara (MADINA) : Verse 62
      Lo! Those who believe (in that which is revealed unto thee, Muhammad), and those who are Jews, and Christians, and Sabians – whoever believeth in Allah and the Last Day and doeth right – surely their reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.
      Translation : Eng-Pickthal-Audio

      August 8, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
    • Americano


      What about the all the KKK burning BLACK CHURCHES?????
      Are the KKK muslims??? hummmmmm???

      GET A LIFE

      August 8, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
  14. NYC

    Fareed Zakaria brings a reasoned voice to this issue.

    We need to stop playing into these divisive politics. Terrorist committed the 911 atrocities, not Muslims. A terrorist cannot be a Muslim and a Muslim cannot be a terrorist. As long as we paint all Muslims with the brush of terrorism, we will never be able to get past our current egoistic conflicts. As long as we make this a war about Christian/Jewish America versus Islam, we will not achieve peace. Islam comes from the same Abrahamic root as Christianity and Judaism. They are all branches of the same tree. True Islam is all about the peace of God and living in peace with your neighbors. During the time of the Prophet Muhammad, he welcomed Christians into his mosque and let them hold services there. Islam protects the rights of other religions. This is a strong Islamic principle whether Muslims living today know it or not. You can travel to many Islamic countries and find synagogues and churches. The Taliban is a militarized, political group. They might claim they are acting in the name of Islam, but that does not mean that they are. People and groups can say whatever they want. It doesn't make it right or true.

    Religious freedom is a strength and bedrock value of America. Do we really want to compromise that? Who will we be then? Will we still be America?

    August 8, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
    • Mishagothe

      Please, move to Afghanistan or Pakistan and spread your words of tolerance and peace. My bet is you are dead within a week.

      August 8, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
    • Omar

      Well said Brother NYC –; Moving to Afghanistan or US or not...that does change the truth about Islam, which is what bro NYC so succintly described. The world will need the help of people like you and others in this thread, who are spewing hatred; to change to so that peace is achieved. Hatred begins hatred. Vengeance perpetuates vengeance. It is time to more than ever to put the teachings of Jesus/Moses and Mohammed in practice! There are elements that are bad in all religions; and they have sold themselves to the devil; it is important to not fall into that trap.

      Quran Search

      Advance Search

      Current Range : 1 – 10
      Total Search Count : 155

      Sura 2 – Al-Baqara (MADINA) : Verse 62
      Lo! Those who believe (in that which is revealed unto thee, Muhammad), and those who are Jews, and Christians, and Sabians – whoever believeth in Allah and the Last Day and doeth right – surely their reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.
      Translation : Eng-Pickthal-Audio

      August 8, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  15. Gene Kessler

    Fareed, It would be better for this country if YOU GAVE BACK THE MICROPHONE in stead of your undeserved award. How dare you express these comments. You are an outrage and CNN has lost me as an avid listner.
    Good bye Fareed.

    August 8, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
    • Omar

      I adore Fareed's courage. For one, he has brought out into open the hypocrisy and dangerous fascists out in the open.
      Secondly, he has refused to sell his soul to the devil, for the sake of a career. I hope more brothers and sisters in this thread follow Fareed's example , see that picture and refuse to sell their souls. And Gene you should research into Islam, before taking a knowledgeable stand. You owe to it yourself. Salaam. If Allah wills that will happen.

      August 8, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  16. Wild Bill

    this just in....Fareed's Career just commited suicide

    August 8, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
    • Omar

      I adore Fareed's courage. For one, he has brought out in open the hypocrisy and dangerous fascists out in the open.
      Secondly, he has refused to sell his sould to the devil, for the sake of a career. I hope mor brothers and sisters in this thread follow Fareed's example , see that picture and refuse to sell their souls. Salaam. If Allah wills that will happen.

      August 8, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
  17. USArmyvet2000

    Please take a minute to read the following story.


    The above is the link to the horror story that Fareed and his colleagues at CNN never reported on. Seldom does CNN or any other news outlets in our country publicize the horrors committed by Islamic as well as non-Islamic faiths which indulge in violence against people who practice a faith other than their own.

    August 8, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
    • Omar

      Also should read:
      The attack has caused widespread shock and outrage across Kerala. Leading Muslim organisations have condemned the incident and called for tough action against the culprits.

      In a joint statement, they said: "The attack on the professor was against the basic tenets of Islam and the Sunnah of the Prophet which laid emphasis on forgiveness. Islam explicitly forbade one from taking the law into one's own hands when there were competent authorities to deal with an issue."

      “We hope that the law will take its due course to punish the criminals who attacked Mr. Joseph. They have clearly sinned and defamed Islam by committing this crime which we condemn without reservations."

      Your statement seems to resonate with the same crimilnal elements that commited the crime; You are not one of them right..?

      August 8, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
  18. Bonnie O'Connell

    As a newspaper reporter for much of my life, I listen carefully before make any decision on talk heads I watch. I've held you in respect for some years listening to your balanced reasoning on your program. Returning your award to the ADL does not fall into that balanced view. I speaks volumes to those who see any act involving anything Jewish as siding with Muslims against Israel and anything Jewish. I am so sorry to see you fall into this category.

    August 8, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
  19. Fay Adams

    Now we know Fareed's true colors.... jerk!

    August 8, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
  20. USArmyvet2000

    Fareed is a Muslim of Indian parents, raised in a land which is the most pluralistic of all South Asian countries. Yet, Fareed never seems to be offended by the many terrorist incidents perpetrated in India by Islamic jihadsts from Pakistan. Recently, an Indian Christian Professor's hand was chopped off at the wrist by Islamic jjihadists for the "sin" of raising a question about Mohammad and Koran in an examination paper that he had set for his students. Fareed has never talked about this or any such horrendous incidents which take place in India. Neither has CNN or any of oour news networks found time to report on this incident.

    Fareed by his recent action of returning the ADL award is simply proving that his sympathies are with the Imam who not only wants to replicate a "Cordoba" in the US but also wishes for sharia to be allowed for Muslim Americans. Will the NY Cordoba style Interfaith center allow the non-Abrahamic faiths such as Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism etc to have a place for worship? Even the Imams and Muslims who parade themselves as preaching the "peaceful Islam" limit their "inter-faith tolerance" to people of the "Book". What about the other 2 or 3 billion on this planet whose faiths are not derived from the "Book"?

    Fareed by his action is only reinforcing in my mind what I have always thought about this so-called "liberal", viz., that he is a closet fundamentalist Muslim who cannot withstand the criticism that the Imam who wants to build the Cordoba Center has no moral right to do it until he encourages the Islamic Republics of the world to allow places of worship for all faiths, including for those whose faiths are not derived from "the Book".

    August 8, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
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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.