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Upcoming Elections Influence the Ground Zero Mosque Opposition, Imam Says

By Mariel Clark on August 30, 2010 11:41am 

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf stood alongside city politicians in May outside the building where he plans to build a mosque and community center.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf stood alongside city politicians in May outside the building where he plans to build a mosque and community center.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

By Mariel S. Clark

DNAinfo News Editor

MANHATTAN— The upcoming November elections are partly responsible for the opposition to the proposed mosque near Ground Zero, the imam behind the center told an Abu Dhabi newspaper, according to the New York Post.

"There is no doubt that the election season has had a major impact upon the nature of the discourse," Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said, The National reported.

Rauf is currently on a State Department-funded tour of the Middle East.

The issue has found its way into campaigns around the country as politicians, including state Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have spoken out about the 13-story mosque and community center planned two blocks from the World Trade Center site.

Rauf wasn't the first to link the mosque's opposition to the elections.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg made similar comments when he appeared on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" on Aug. 26.

“This mosque has been operating for over a year, there’s nothing new here. The difference is, this is election season,” Bloomberg said. “This is, plain and simple, people trying to stir up things to get publicity and trying to polarize people so they can get some votes."

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