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Indian-American journalist Fareed Zakaria returned an award he received from the Anti-Defamation League due to

Carma Hassan

the group's opposition to the proposed "Ground Zero Mosque."

Zakaria says he could not "in good conscience" keep the Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize plaque or the $10,000 honorarium he received in 2005.

In an open letter to ADL, Zakaria says he has always been in awe of the group's mission, but can no longer support them due to their stance on the proposed Park51 facility

"You have fought discrimination against all religions, races, and creeds and have built a well-deserved reputation," he wrote. "I was stunned at your decision to publicly side with those urging the relocation of the planned Islamic center in lower Manhattan. Your own statements subsequently, asserting that we must honor the feelings of victims even if irrational or bigoted, made matters worse."

In a letter back to the CNN host and Newsweek writer, ADL's National Director Abraham H. Foxman said he was "saddened" and "stunned" by Zakaria's decision.

"ADL has and will continue to stand up for Muslims and others where they are targets of racism and bigotry, as we have done at the request of and on behalf of Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf," wrote Foxman, saying ADL is not against an Islamic center. "What we did was to make an appeal based solely on the issues of location and sensitivity...taking into consideration the feelings of many victims and their families, of first responders and many New Yorkers, who are not bigots but still feel the pain of 9/11.

Zakaria argues that "if there is going to be a reformist movement in Islam, it is going to emerge from places like the proposed institute. We should be encouraging groups like the one behind this project, not demonizing them."

Foxman says he is is still holding on to the award in the hopes that Zakaria will come and reclaim it.

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