Mosque's journey from Winnipeg to N.W.T. makes TV debut

A documentary about the Midnight Sun Mosque in Inuvik, N.W.T. that was pre-built in Winnipeg is making its TV debut on CBC Saturday.

World's northernmost mosque travelled to Inuvik, N.W.T on semi-trailer, barge

The Northern Transportation Company Ltd. barge transporting the mosque down the Mackenzie River in September 2010. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

The story about a mosque that travelled from Winnipeg to Inuvik, N.W.T., is making its TV debut Saturday.

The documentary, Arctic Mosque, captures a 4,000-kilometre road and river journey from Winnipeg, where the mosque was built, through two provinces and the Northwest Territories, down the Mackenzie River to Inuvik, a community just north of the Arctic Circle.

Filmmakers and sisters Nilifer and Saira Rahman first heard about the Midnight Sun Mosque from someone at their own mosque in Winnipeg.

"And we thought, 'Wow, this is really bizarre. We have to do a film on it.' So just that gut feeling, I think that's what drove us to go ahead with the project," Nilifer Rahman said.

Work on the documentary began a day before the mosque hit the road on a semi-trailer in August 2010.

It made it to Hay River, N.W.T., in early September, where it was put on a barge and floated 1,800 kilometres to Inuvik, N.W.T.

The sisters say they're relieved the documentary is done — and are happy to have captured such an incredible story.

"I mean, we're talking about a 4,000-kilometre journey [in total]," said Saira Rahman. "We couldn't pass it up. We had to find out whether the mosque was going to make it to the Arctic and how that journey would transpire."

Small trailer served as Inuvik mosque

Before the mosque arrived in Inuvik, Muslims in the community worshipped in a one-bedroom trailer.

But now, the Muslim community of about 100 worships in the world's northernmost mosque.

It cost the Zubaidah Tallab Foundation, a Muslim charity in Manitoba, $300,000 to construct the mosque in Winnipeg and ship it north.

The documentary Arctic Mosque airs tonight on CBC North at 7 p.m. MT.