Fareed Zakaria, the CNN host and Newsweek columnist, has returned a prestigious prize to the Anti-Defamation League, another rebuke for the esteemed civil rights group's opposition to an Islamic center near ground zero.
Now that the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has denied landmark status for a building, near "ground zero," that could house a proposed Islamic center and mosque, the Muslim organization behind the project says it will begin moving forward with efforts to make the building "a model for community service and engagement."
The proposal by the Cordoba Initiative to build an Islamic center near Ground Zero has drawn major media attention and engendered fierce debate. Right-wing political commentators, politicians, hard-line Christian ministers, bloggers and some families of 9/11 victims have charged that it is insensitive to 9/11 families, dishonors memories of the victims and will be a "monument to terrorism."
Protesters gathered in lower Manhattan mid-day Sunday to demonstrate against plans to build a mosque near the site of Ground Zero, where the twin towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed by Islamist hijackers on September 11, 2001.