Iqaluit Muslims to build Nunavut's first mosque - Canada

Iqaluit Muslims to build Nunavut's first mosque - Canada
(Sunday, July 26, 2015) 13:17

About 30 metres off the edge of Iqaluit's Road to Nowhere, construction is underway on the territory's first mosque.

Right now, the structure is barebones – just four walls and part of a roof, propped up by stilts on the rocky landscape.

But by the end of the year, organizers hope the space will be ready to begin hosting Friday prayer sessions for the 100 or so Muslims living in the city. It's been a project more than five years in the making.

The idea for the mosque began when Syed Asif Ali, an engineer born in Pakistan living in Toronto, was offered a job inspecting boilers in Iqaluit.

Syed was wary of moving to the city, which had a population of 6,700 at the time of the last census, and asked his wife for her opinion. When he told her Iqaluit didn't even have a mosque, she suggested that, maybe, he was meant to go and build one there.

"I was never fascinated to make a mosque," he told in a phone interview. "But the very concept of serving the community stuck in mind."

Syed took the job and moved up north. Between checking up on the territory's boilers, Syed helped establish the Islamic Society of Nunavut in 2009. Together, he and the society began the complicated process of building a mosque.

The logistics have been challenging, he said.

Living so far north, most building supplies need to be flown in, or brought up on one of three ships that visit each year. The society also had to find a suitable location for the mosque and secure a building permit.

Then there was the task of finding the money to make the plan a reality.

The society teamed up with the Zubaidah Tallab Foundation, a Winnipeg group that previously shipped a pre-fabricated mosque to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. They also appealed for donations from supporters around the world.

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