NEW YORK (AP/WCBS 880) — The Anti-Defamation League says columnist and TV host Fareed Zakaria has returned a first-amendment award to the group 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.

The group says Zakaria said in a letter that he couldn’t “in good conscience hold onto” the league’s Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize that he was awarded in 2005.

Zakaria, a Newsweek and Washington Post columnist and CNN host, didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.

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” but says it rejects any opposition to the center based on bigotry.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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