Nurd Kamal mosque in Norlisk (Russia) is the farthest North custom-build mosque in the world. It’s a Turkish-style structure with a minaret and central dome. The mosque opened for prayers in 1998. It was build by Mukhtad Bekmeyev, a Tatar Muslim among the 50,000-strong Muslim community in Norlisk. He named the mosque after his father. Mukhtad Bekmeyev now lives in the Black Sea city of Sochi.
The city was built on world’s richest metal deposits. The first smelter was built by Crypto-Jewish Russian dictator Joseph Stalin’s (died 1953) prisoners in 1930s. Currently, there are three smelters and Norilsk Nickel is the main employer. Norilsk is declared one of world’s most polluted cities by the Blacksmith Institute.
Non-Russians, mostly from Azerbaijan and former Soviet republics in Central Asia, have found Norilsk a more difficult place to enter since 2002 after travel restrictions on foreign citizens were restored.
Muslims make 14% of total Russian population of 147 million. Moscow has the largest Muslim population (2 million) in the country – but has only four mosques to serve them.
The other farthest North worship place (mosque) is located in Norwegian city of Tromso, which lies more than a few clicks above the Arctic Circle. The building is not designed as a mosque. It is an old square structure in downtown which was bought out and converted to a prayer hall in 2005. It now serves city’s Muslim population of 1,000 among the 67,000 inhabitants. The Muslims are from Middle East and North Africa.
Norway made world headlines in July last year, when an Israel-loving Norwegian, Anders Behring Breivik, shot 77 people dead because he hated the Labour Party for supporting Palestinians against Israel.
World’s northernmost mosque | Rehmat's World