Featured image credit: Mostafa Salameh via Facebook
Over the past few months on Ummahsonic, we’ve featured some incredible Muslim sportspeople. First we looked at Khabib Nurmagomedov, the UFC fighter; then we wrote about Maria Toorpakai, the boundary-breaking female squash player; and as recently as last week, we introduced you to Jawahir Jewels, the Hijabi refereeing Sunday league football.
Despite this athletic focus, we’re yet to feature a Muslim mountaineer. Until today. Mostafa Salameh is an Edinburgh-based mountaineer and adventurer who recently became the first Muslim to complete the gruelling 1,600 mile trek across the entirety of Greenland.
The explorer and his team spent three weeks skiing across the island’s unforgiving, icy landscape, while pulling a 100 kg sled of essential supplies. Along the way, Salameh and his crew dodged polar bears and faced extreme temperatures, enduring sub-zero conditions at the start and warmer climes near the end.
While just writing about it makes us want to crawl into bed, it was business as usual for Salameh. Well, not really. But seeing as he’s climbed Everest, scaled seven of the world’s highest peaks, and visited both the North and South Poles, we reckon he was well-prepared for the blisters, weight-loss, and potential bear encounters.
Speaking to The Herald, Salameh described the Greenland trek: ‘It was three weeks of peace and serenity, meditating and connecting with the universe and our creator, away from civilisation and its distracting noises…A state of mind that makes us appreciate all that we have in this life and to not take things for granted.’
This outlook may stem from Salameh’s childhood. Originally from Jordan, the 45-year-old spent his youth in a refugee camp before coming to study at Edinburgh University. Much of his motivation comes from pride for his homeland, Scotland, as well as from his desire to fundraise for charity and help those less fortunate.
As he told The Herald: ‘What kept me going through this challenging journey is my aim to raise high and proudly the Jordanian flag on top of new remote spots, also in support of cancer patients, especially the King Hussein Cancer Centre, for refugees everywhere, and to support the first Jordanian women team, aiming to summit Everest 2018 and for my adopted home Scotland.’
In the past, Salameh has led groups of Jordanians on expeditions in places like Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro, raising over $1.5 million for charity along the way.
From refugee to record-breaker, Mostafa Salameh is an inspiration to us all. To keep track of his adventures, check out Salameh’s website.