News Agencies – October 27, 2010
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 prefabricated mosque arrived in Inuvik in September 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.
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 worshippers — 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 Globe and Mail – September 2, 2010
By the time it reaches Inuvik, the prefabricated mosque strapped to Kevin Anderson’s truck will have earned a place in the record books – even before the first worshippers pass through its door. The structure will become the most northerly mosque in North America. The mosque is significant of the aggregate religious ambitions of an Arctic community’s Muslims, the changing spiritual mores of Canada’s North and a major logistical pain in the neck.
Three weeks from now, roughly 100 Muslim worshippers in Inuvik, NWT, are expected to pray at the building, a replacement for the 50-year-old trailer they currently use. The mosque’s journey will take it from Winnipeg to Edmonton, then north to Hay River, where a barge will float it toward the shores of the Mackenzie Delta, home to Inuvik’s 3,600 residents. The country’s Muslims – long seen as an urban population – are migrating to smaller resource towns in search of boomtown riches and a better quality of life. The Muslim population of the Northwest Territories alone is growing at a rate of 300 per cent every decade, according the latest Statistics Canada numbers. And Islamic groups in Timmins, Prince George and Whitehorse are all in various stages of mosque construction.
The foundation researched building a mosque in Inuvik from scratch, but cost estimates ran over $550,000. Dr. Guisti found they could save $200,000 by having a Winnipeg company construct a prefab building and then haul the structure by road and river.