The walls are going up on Iqaluit's mosque. The Islamic Society of Nunavut has been working to build a place of worship in Iqaluit since 2009. 

This week, the first wall went up as the winds picked up. It took 28 people to lift the wall in 40 km/h winds, said Syed Asif Ali, the society's president. Ali was in Chicago when it happened, but was moved by the photos.

Iqaluit mosque construction

Though the walls are only going up this week, work has been underway to bring a mosque to Iqaluit since 2009. (Kieran Oudshoorn/CBC)

"It was so fascinating, I couldn't stop crying for a few minutes. Because this was the dream we were looking for as a Muslim community to see. And this is coming. This is coming soon, with everyone's effort.

"It has been my passion to establish a place of worship for Muslims," said Ali, "and also this place will be used for everyone in Iqaluit as a kind of community place, for having an exchange of views and helping each other, and be part of the community."

Although construction started this week, work on the mosque has been going on for years. Last year, piles were put in place and materials were shipped from the south. Ali thanked the Zubaidah Tallab Foundation, in Winnipeg, for their help. It is the same group that sent the prefabricated mosque to Inuvik, N.W.T. in 2010.

"They are helping us a bit in construction. They sent the construction crew, and we are jointly working together," said Ali. 

"Our hope is that everything will be completed before October. But can't say because we're still a little short of funds. In the north, construction is pretty expensive."

Ali said the society has a modest budget for construction: $500 to $600 thousand.

"It's not a very big project," he said, "but the significance is much bigger."