After years in the making, Iqaluit's new mosque held its inauguration Friday, officially opening as a place of worship.
The building will serve as a prayer space and a community centre for Iqaluit's 100 or so Muslims, as well as a place to learn about Islam.
"By establishing this mosque, we are saying one thing: we are now an integral part of Iqaluit, we are now a part of the Iqaluit community," said Hussain Guisti, the Zubaidah Tallab Foundation's general manager.
If you can build a mosque in Iqaluit, you can build it anywhere else on the planet. - Hussain Guisti
Members of the foundation, along with the Islamic Association of Nunavut, built the mosque themselves at a cost of $800,000. The foundation has also helped construct mosques in Inuvik, N.W.T., and Thompson, Manitoba.
"We just finished the mosque now. The guys were working outside underneath the mosque in –56 below," Guisti said. "I mean, that's treacherous. If you can build a mosque in Iqaluit, you can build it anywhere else on the planet."
Guisti said the mosque's presence will encourage more Muslim families to move to the Nunavut capital. There are also plans to operate a food bank at the site, he said.
The makeup of Iqaluit's Muslim population is already diverse. They're engineers, doctors, teachers, government workers, taxi drivers.
Now, they have a place of their own.
"This mosque is not only for prayer, but for educating our kids, our families," said Muhammad Wani, vice-president of the Islamic Association of Nunavut.
"This was a dream which came true."