Haroon Mota, a former charity events organiser wants to increase the number of Muslim hikers in the UK. In order to do this, he created his Instagram group, Muslim Hikers, during the pandemic to encourage others in the Muslim community to take up hiking as a hobby, to get out of the house more and to be in nature.
Mota has stated that: “There was plenty of documented cases of loneliness and isolation and I wanted to address that and share stories of positive role models… just to try and normalise being outdoors for our communities which evidently isn’t quite the norm and why such under-representation exists.”
It appears that through his Instagram page he has managed to squash some of this loneliness and isolation within the Muslim communities as the page had an influx of support not just from the UK, but also from around the world. Currently his Instagram page has over 21,000 followers and his Facebook group has also already seen 5,000 people following the page.
In July 2021, the Muslim Hikers carried out their first hike at Snowdon. The walk brought 80 people together which Mota described to be a “beautiful” experience, as people came together to walk in the great outdoors.
The hikes are becoming ever popular, and they now cater for around 150 people on each hike. They have since visited Snowdon again, as well as Cadair Idris, and the Kinder Scout National Nature Reserve on their monthly hikes.
The group has opened up a safe community for Muslim hikers to enjoy their passion for hiking, many have received racist comments and abuse on their individual hiking trips, and this group has allowed them to feel safe. Haroon Mota released a statement that: “We are here for everyone and the outdoors is for everyone as well”.