ADL 'Saddened And Stunned' By Fareed Zakaria's Decision To Return Award

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.

Mr. 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 was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.