Speaker Nancy Pelosi is suggesting a coordinated effort is behind the opposition to a proposed mosque and community center near Ground Zero, saying the whole dispute has been "ginned up" for political purposes and she supports a probe into those opponents.
Commenting publicly for the first time on the Park 51 project, Pelosi said the issue was posing a distraction and that some organized force is behind it.
"There is no question that there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some," she said in remarks posted Tuesday in a video on the San Francisco Chronicle website. "And I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque (is) being funded."
On Wednesday, Pelosi's office clarified that the speaker is not calling for a "congressional inquiry," though she still supports looking into the funding of the mosque's opponents as well as its patrons.
"I support the statement made by the Interfaith Alliance that 'We agree with the (Anti-Defamation League) that there is a need for transparency about who is funding the effort to build this Islamic center. At the same time, we should also ask who is funding the attacks against the construction of the center,'" she said.
Pelosi first weighed in Tuesday after both President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expressed their views on the project that has touched off a national debate about religious freedom and political correctness. Obama said Wednesday he has no regrets over his remarks that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in the U.S. A day later, he claimed that he wasn't endorsing the specifics of the mosque plan.
Polls show that a strong majority of Americans oppose the mosque's construction site while respecting the right of Muslims to practice their religion.