“Muslim Travelers” in Britain… An experience that fights racism and breaks stereotypes
London – A Muslim group walking and tours in the British countryside have been subjected to a campaign of racist comments and hateful expressions, against the backdrop of the group called “Muslim hikers” publishing pictures of their activity in the countryside in conjunction with last Christmas.
This group, which seeks to encourage Muslims to discover British green spaces, was widespread before it was a victim of racist comments, prompting the British media with all its colors to pay attention to this new experience, which gave it unprecedented fame in all countries.
In his interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Aaron Mount, a British Muslim, reveals how veiled women were behind the idea of inspiring him to pay more attention to the activities of wandering in the British forests and countryside, when he was 15 years old.
Nature is not for Muslims
Organizing walking and hiking tours in the British countryside and forests for the benefit of Muslims may seem normal, but the numbers and statistics show the exact opposite, and present a shocking reality, showing that minorities in general and Muslims in particular do not benefit from the many gardens and parks in Britain.
According to a report by the British Countryside Charitable Foundation, only 1% of visitors to British parks are from minorities, whether blacks, Asians or Muslims.
The same report says that people belonging to these minorities are 11 times less likely to visit parks outside cities, compared to white people, adding that 40% of minority children visit these natural places compared to 40% for white children.
Veiled women roaming
Aaron, the founder of the “Muslim Traveller”, remembers his first hiking trip in the British countryside, when he was 15 years old, and he went out for a walk with a group of Muslims, and he says, “During my trip, I saw from a distance people with brown skin, then I could not believe myself, and then I started I went down and approached this group, until I found out that it was a group of veiled women walking.”
In his interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Aaron described his reaction, “I was surprised and also happy to see veiled women climbing the mountains, and it was like a dream for me.”
Battle for diversity
Unfortunately, Aaron, 35, talks about how for 3 years he has been practicing mountain climbing and walking in the countryside without encountering an organized group of Muslims who practice this sport, which is widespread in Britain.
Haroun stressed that at that time he decided to fight a battle in order to achieve greater diversity in natural spaces, “because our Muslim societies are often affected by a great deal of disparities, and therefore motivating them to go out to nature will improve their level of well-being.”
Based on his studies of sports sciences at the university, Aaron describes himself as “carrying the DNA to inspire societies to be healthier.”
Walking in the British countryside has always been seen as an activity associated with the rich and white class, which belongs to the conservative current, and when Aaron Mount launched his project in 2020, his goal was to break many stereotypes.
Aaron also aims, through “Muslim Travelers”, to break negative stereotypes about Muslims in Britain, as they are seen as neither discovering nor adventurous, and not making an effort to discover the nature of the country, and also changing stereotypes about Muslim women, which are seen as inappropriate. Active, inactive, and does not participate in any sports activities.
Many racist comments poured out on the pages of “Muslim Travelers” on social networking sites, after the group published pictures of its activities during Christmas Day in Britain, which provoked racist reactions.
Racist and hate-filled comments continued against the page and its owners, under the pretext that Muslims did not respect birthdays and practice their activities normally.
With much calm and comfort, Aaron Montt dealt with these comments, considering that some of them were racist and incited hatred, but some of them “reflect ignorance and lack of good knowledge of Muslims, and it is our role to raise awareness about Islam and Muslims.”
Harmful beneficial Lord
The racist campaign against the “Muslim Travelers” group prompted the British media to pay more attention to this unique experience, and Harun admits that “the media demand to get to know this group has increased dramatically and we are trying to respond to it.”
Adding that messages of support and support did not stop flowing on him, “we also receive thousands of requests to join the group, which remains open to all, not only Muslims.”