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.
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.
“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."