Canadian Muslims erect first minaret in Arctic

Published: October 28, 2010
Canadian Muslims have erected the Arctic's first minaret. PHOTO: FILE/AFP

Canadian Muslims have erected the Arctic's first minaret. PHOTO: FILE/AFP

OTTAWA: Canadian Muslims have erected the Arctic’s first minaret, atop a little yellow mosque which serves as spiritual home to the area’s fledgling Islamic community.

The mosque arrived in Inuvik last month to serve a growing Muslim population in Canada’s far north, after traveling 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles) over land and water.

The minaret, built locally and installed this week, has four levels and stands 30 feet (10 meters) off the ground.

“It’s really beautiful when we turn on the lights in the dark,” Amier Suliman, a mosque committee member, told AFP on Wednesday.

Only finishing touches, such as applying a second coat of paint inside and hooking up bathroom plumbing, remain before the mosque’s grand opening next week.

“This is the first minaret to be erected in the Arctic,” Suliman said gleefully by telephone.

“Some will say it’s a new frontier for Islam,” he commented. “But for me what is significant is that Muslims here who once prayed on Fridays at a local Catholic church or in a trailer now have a proper place to worship, with a proper minaret.”

“Now we have a home to worship in our own hometown. That’s the most important for me.”

The number of Muslims in Inuvik, a town of 4,000 inhabitants in Canada’s Northwest Territories, has grown steadily in recent years to about 80 and they no longer fit in an old three-by-seven-meter (10-by-23-foot) caravan used until now for prayers.

The congregation could not afford to build a new mosque in the town, where prices for labor and materials are substantially higher than in southern parts of Canada, project coordinator Ahmad Alkhalaf said previously.

But they found a supplier of prefabricated buildings in Manitoba that said it could ship a structure to Inuvik for half the price of building a mosque from scratch on site.

A local Muslim charity, the Zubaidah Tallab Foundation of Thompson, Manitoba, also offered to pick up the costs for the 140-square meter (1,500-square foot) facility, Alkhalaf said.

And so, at the end of August the tiny yellow mosque’s voyage began on the back of truck, winding through the vast prairies and woods of Western Canada toward Hay River on the shores of Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories.

From there it was transferred onto a barge and floated down the McKenzie River to Inuvik, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) north of the Arctic Circle.

The worshippers, who are largely Sunni Muslim immigrants from Sudan, Lebanon and Egypt who moved to Canada’s far north in search of jobs and economic opportunities, are to hold an open house on November 5.

The facility will also double as a Muslim community center.

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Reader Comments (6)

    Oct 29, 2010 - 4:23AM

    Congrutulations To Canadian MuslimsFor ErectingThe First Masjid In Canada”s Far North .Recommend

  • Oct 29, 2010 - 8:06PM

    Alhamdulillah that’s great to read these wonderful news about such an achievement MashaAllah….may AllahSubhanTa’aala bless everyone with the best in this world and in aakhira for all thier efforts in building a mosque in such faraway place.SubhanAllah the minarate looks so elegant and I really pray and wish that our muslim community grow in numbers and in quality of eeman and true knowledge of islam there in Inuvik and everywhere in the world (ameen)
    JZK to all !
    best regards sadiaRecommend

  • Umer Khan
    Oct 29, 2010 - 9:19PM

    Congratulations! May Allah be with all of you, there in Canada, and with all of us worldwide.Recommend

  • Wahaj
    Oct 30, 2010 - 2:04AM

    Indeed a very big feat, but its time for Muslims to grow beyond building mosques and domes. There is much more in Islam then this. As a first I believe hypocrisy has no room in Islam, but why it so common amongst us Muslims in every sphere?Recommend

  • Tahera
    Oct 30, 2010 - 5:05AM

    With growing Islamophobia clashing with building of mosques in other countries, Canada is setting an example of respecting the rights of its citizens and of religious tolerance.Recommend

  • Dec 5, 2010 - 8:12PM

    @Tahera, where is the muslim respect for other religion? Where are the churches and synagogues and hindu temples in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Pakistan?? Muslims are sacrificing Christians to their god Al’ah in Pakistan with the call for the death of Asia Bibi!!

    Dont talk about islamofobia when YOU do not practise what you preach!Recommend

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