IQALUIT — A wealthy Saudi couple will soon begin building a mosque in one of the least hospitable corners of the globe: near the North Pole, in Iqaluit, Canada. The mosque, which will be the northernmost mosque in the world, will face extreme Arctic weather conditions, including lows of -40 degrees Celsius. The town of Iqaluit is reachable to the outside world only by boat or airplane.
According to Al Arabiya, the mosque will, for the moment, serve mostly immigrants who have come to the Arctic for work from Arab countries, as well as from India and Somalia. Iqaluit’s population is composed primarily of Eskimos, of which only one, a 26-year-old fireman, has converted to Islam. Out of a local population of 8,000, 80 residents are Muslim.
The husband-and-wife Saudi benefactors, Dr. Hussein Qusti and Dr. Suzanne Ghazali, may hope that, with a new mosque in town, the local Muslim population will grow. In an interview with Al Arabiya, Qusti recounted the stories of six Eskimo women he knew who had converted to Islam upon marrying Muslims living in their area.
Despite evident challenges, the Iqaluit mosque is not the Saudi couple’s first adventure into “extreme” mosque building. They have previously built other mosques in Canada’s arctic climate, including in the region of Manitoba, where temperatures can reach -40 degrees Celsius.
(Photo - Aaron M. Lloyd)