Journalist returns ADL award in protest

CNN's Zakaria against ADL's opposition to Ground Zero mosque.

By GIL STERN STERN SHEFLER, JORDANA HORN, AP
August 7, 2010 19:05
2 minute read.
Protesters show opposition to the Park51 project

Ground Zero 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Influential journalist Fareed Zakaria on Friday returned an award given to him by the Anti-Defamation League in protest of its opposition to the building of a mosque near the former World Trade Center in New York.

In a letter published on the Website of Newsweek Zakaria wrote that he decided to give back the accolade because he believed the Jewish organization's stand went against its purpose of fighting discrimination and bigotry.

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"I cannot in good conscience hold onto the award or the honorarium that came with it and am returning both," he wrote. "I hope that it might add to the many voices that have urged you to reconsider and reverse your position on this issue."

The Indian-American journalist, who is a host on CNN and writes a column for Newsweek, was presented with ADL's Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize in 2005.

He added: "Admitting an error is a small price to pay to regain your reputation."

Since it made its decision public last week the ADL has come under intense fire for its call to relocate the planned Islamic center citing concerns for the sensitivities of the families of victims in the 2001 terrorist attack which destroyed the WTC.

Last week ADL national director Abraham Foxman defended his organization's announcement in an interview to the Jerusalem Post saying his group's position was largely misunderstood and misrepresented by the media.

"If you read our statement, which most people have not read - if you've seen it and read it, the statement that we did spells out as precisely and as accurately and as delicately and as simply as possible our position,” Foxman said..

The most important part of the press release, he said, was the paragraph which stated that: "The controversy which has emerged regarding the building of an Islamic Center at this location is counterproductive to the healing process. Therefore, under these unique circumstances, we believe the City of New York would be better served if an alternative location could be found.”

Meanwhile, the Islamic center was given the okay to go ahead by New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission last Tuesday in a 9-0 vote.
 


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