“PATHETIC, go back to what you did before the pandemic"
A hiking group is said to have been racially abused after posting pictures of their Christmas Day walk.
A total of 130 people signed up for the Mam Tor mountain walk, organised by the Muslim Hikers group.
Muslim Hikers is a grassroots initiative and was set up during lockdown to help tackle loneliness and isolation in Muslim communities across the UK.
However, the hiking group received a wave of hate afterwards.
It was the third event held by the group in 2021, following a walk up Mount Snowden in Wales and a walk in the Peak District followed by afternoon tea.
The group’s founder Haroon Mota has always been a hiking enthusiast and has a number of achievements such as climbing mountains in South America, the base of Mount Everest, and climbing Kilimanjaro.
The event on Mam Tor was seen as a success by all those involved. But after the pictures were posted on social media, some people reacted angrily.
One said: “PATHETIC, go back to what you did before the pandemic and leave this place alone for the proper walkers.”
Another person said: “Hooligans destroying the fragile moors for your own gratification.”
One person said: “Wow it’s like the migration of Wildebeests in the Serengeti, they just keep coming.”
Mr Mota said: “We know these problems exist in society but it’s a shame that we had had to face this.
“What we’re trying to do is inspire and encourage people to go out and this kind of backlash might have a negative impact on our cause.
“We want everyone to have a positive experience in every way possible and I never thought we would get these comments based on what we were doing.”
Mr Mota believes some of the comments held a racial undertone and that the group only faced these remarks because of their appearance.
He continued: “I know that if this wasn’t a group of Muslims, we would be getting applauded and people would be impressed but because of who we are, we get comments like this.
“I don’t think anyone was particularly offended or hurt by the comments, these issues exist, and we have to get past it.”
“I just don’t understand what they mean by proper walkers, walking is for everyone and anyone, it’s not specifically for one group.”
The group soon received support.
One person said: “Wonderful images, please don’t let the minority ruin what is a wonderful thing! Hope you enjoy many more walks.”
Another commented: “Those proper walkers probably only venture 500 meters away from their car!
“The Peaks has this brilliant ability to swallow up vast numbers, so you are walking in almost isolation.
“There is plenty of room for all. Good luck keep on coming, please.”
In a Twitter post, Mr Mota said:
“We know it’s only a small minority of people who think this way, but we’ve seen plenty of comments highlighting the problems within our community that exist.
“To everyone who has supported us so far. Thank you.”
The hiking group has a number of events lined up for 2022.
Mr Mota added: “Muslim Hikers is open to people of all backgrounds and we want to emphasise that walking and hiking are for everyone.
“I’ve been an enthusiast for over 15 years and have never had any negative comments whilst I’ve been climbing mountains and running marathons.
“We won’t be stopping because of these comments.”