Columnist and TV host Fareed Zakaria has returned a First Amendment award and $10,000 stipend to the Anti-Defamation League in protest of the organization's opposition to a proposed mosque near ground zero.
The ADL said in a statement Friday that it was "saddened'' and "stunned'' by Zakaria's decision.
Zakaria, a Newsweek and Washington Post columnist and CNN host, said in a piece published Friday on Newsweek's website that he can't in good conscience keep the league's Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize that he was awarded in 2005.
In a letter to the ADL, Zakaria says: "You are choosing to use your immense prestige to take a side that is utterly opposed to the animating purpose of your organization.''
The ADL is the leading Jewish civil rights group in the U.S. It has said the location of the planned mosque is "counterproductive to the healing process.''