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article imageFareed Zakaria returns ADL award over NYC Islamic center

By Tar De Moutonnoir     Aug 6, 2010 in World
New York - Journalist Fareed Zakaria has returned an award he received from the Anti-Defamation League in response to the group's opposition to the construction of an Islamic community center in New York.
Zakaria, who is a Newsweek editor and host of CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS returned the award in protest of the group's stance against a planned Islamic community center in New york City near ground zero.
Zakaria returned both the plaque and the 10,000 honorarium to the group and urged it to reverse its position.
I cannot in good conscience hold onto the award or the honorarium that came with it and am returning both. This decision will haunt the ADL for years if not decades to come. Whether or not the center is built, what is at stake here is the integrity of the ADL and its fidelity to its mission. Admitting an error is a small price to pay to regain your reputation.
In a letter to ADL head Abraham Foxman appearing on the Newsweek website, Zakaria described his delight at receiving the group's first Hubert Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize in 2005 before elaborating on the reasons behind his decision.
[...] I was stunned at your decision to publicly side with those urging the relocation of the planned Islamic center in lower Manhattan. You are choosing to use your immense prestige to take a side that is utterly opposed to the animating purpose of your organization. Your own statements subsequently, asserting that we must honor the feelings of victims even if irrational or bigoted, made matters worse.
The ADL, which is a civil rights group with a mission to "secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens." released a statement last week opposing the construction of the center and calling for it to be moved elsewhere.
Foxman responded to Zakaria through a letter Friday, saying he was "saddened but stunned" by the decision to return the prize and that the ADL "did not oppose the right for an Islamic Center or a mosque to be built but had made "an appeal based solely on the issues of location and sensitivity" adding that its "goal was to advance reconciliation and understanding".
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