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Monday, September 20, 2010

AL ARABIYA: While NY debates its ‘Ground Zero’ mosque, Saudi builds mosque near the North Pole

AL ARABIYA: While NY debates its ‘Ground Zero’ mosque, Saudi builds mosque near the North Pole



A Saudi journalist decided to build a mosque in the extreme north of Canada for Muslims who have for long has a small wooden hut for a place of worship. Its name will be The Mosque at the End of the World.

In 10 days’ time, a mosque will be erected in the Canadian town of Inuvik, 200 kilometers from the North Pole. The northwestern town, with a population of 3,700, is home to 75-80 Muslims, mostly Arabs, who have no place to pray except a mobile hut that can only take half of them.

The town, whose name means ‘place of man’ in Eskimo language, is known for its soaring prices due to its remote location and the time it takes for goods to reach it especially during its freezing winter where the temperatures reaches 40 degrees below zero.

Building a mosque in Inuvik required a minimum of $750,000 as well as a team of experts, which was not available in the town. This is when Saudi journalist Dr. Hussein Saud Qasti came in.

Qasti, who runs a charity organization with his wife in the province of Manitoba, got wind of the frustration of Inuvik’s Muslims and decided to build them a mosque.

He collected donations from several Arabs in different parts of Canada and Iraqi engineer Ahmed al-Khalaf who lives in Inuvik. A Saudi woman, who asked for her name to be withheld, donated $190,000.

The total cost of the mosque is estimated at half a million dollars, that is $250,000 less than the cost estimated by the residents of Inuvik.

Al Arabiya contributed to the details that added to the mosque’s uniqueness when it suggested the name ‘The Mosque at the End of the World’.

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