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The Muslim Hikers walking group has teamed up with outdoor brand adidas TERREX and online retailer Wiggle in designing a new outdoor prayer mat which will be available as of April this year. In addition, a number of signs pointing in the direction of Mecca have been placed along one of the Peak District’s most popular hiking routes, Cave Dale. The announcement coincides with the anticipated start of Ramadan this week, which begins when the moon is sighted over Mecca.
‘Working with Wiggle and adidas TERREX has allowed us to take a huge step in the right direction when it comes to promoting inclusivity in the outdoors. The prayer mats and signs have made it easier for us within the Muslim community to do this without having to worry about the practicalities of prayer.’
The lightweight, packable, waterproof prayer mats was created in partnership with 7th generation Islamic craftsman QM Design. The design depicts map topography and has pockets at each corner so that stones or weights can be used to secure the mat when praying outdoors. The first 100 of the prayer mats manufactured have been donated to the group, and further mats will be available to purchase with all proceeds going to Wiggle’s charity partners.
Senior Brand Marketing Manager at adidas TERREX, Justin Cader said of the partnership:
‘adidas TERREX wants to ensure that everyone has access to nature. Our partnership with Wiggle and Muslim Hikers demonstrates our commitment to making the outdoors more inclusive. Through products and activations, we continue our aim to remove the barriers that prevent some people from enjoying the countryside.’
Data shows that ethnic minorities have on average 11 times less access to green space than people from white backgrounds and account for only 1% of visitors to national parks, according to findings in a diversity review commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The Muslim Hikers group was founded in 2020 to help address this imbalance and encourage diversity, inclusion and community in the outdoors through organised group hikes and events.
The group was subject to online racial abuse last year after appearing in an episode of the BBC’s Countryfile, where participants joined in with the outdoor arts project Green Space Dark Skies in the Peak District. An outpouring of support for the group in response to negative comments demonstrated the outdoor community’s prevailing sense of community and inclusion, and the group have not been deterred.
Huw Crwys-Williams, CEO at Wiggle said:
‘We were disappointed to hear reports of abuse that the Muslim Hikers received and back the group’s goal of bringing the community together through hiking.
‘By partnering with the Muslim Hikers and adidas TERREX, we aim to bring awareness to the fact that any form of exercise is for everyone and will strive to improve accessibility for all communities.’
Muslims pray up to five times a day, wherever they are, and nature and the outdoors are important parts of the Islamic faith. Compared to using jackets and makeshift alternatives, the new hiking prayer mat will make praying in the outdoors easier and more comfortable for Muslim hikers, runners and cyclists, enabling more people to enjoy the benefits of time spent outside.
To learn more about Ramadan and other trailblazing groups working to open up the outdoors to everyone, be sure to read this article about the Wanderlust Women’s Ramadan group hike.
For more information on diversity, allyship and inclusion in the outdoors, check out OUTO. The not-for-profit coalition works to provide grants, research, and much needed support in pursuit of making the outdoors a more inclusive space.
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