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Retailer Wiggle partners with Adidas to create prayer mat for Muslim hikers

Muslim Hikers formed during the 2020 lockdowns to encourage British Muslims to get outside. Recently, the walking group teamed up with sports retailer Wiggle and Adidas TERREX to address barriers Muslim people might face when heading into the countryside.

One issue they identified was the need to be able to pray. Since observant Muslims pray five times a day, they'll likely need to kneel down at some point during a hike. So the hiking group and its brand partners developed outdoor prayer mats. Light, compact and quick to dry, the mats make praying outdoors more comfortable. 

The mat was designed by seventh-generation artisan QM Design, who drew topographic contour lines inside a simple Islamic shape, picking a dark green color to blend in with the natural environments the object was created for. In addition to the mat, Wiggle and Adidas commissioned QM to make small wooden signs showing the distance to Mecca; these were nailed to posts along Cave Dale, a popular hiking route in the Peak District.

Outdoor prayer mats have been provided to members of Muslim Hikers, and Wiggle will start selling them later this spring.

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Over the past decade, there has been widespread recognition of nature's benefits for mental health, and an increasing number of people are seeking outdoor activities to maintain their physical and psychological well-being. Haroon Mota, founder of Muslim Hikers, agrees: "I love the freedom hiking gives me. Being surrounded by nature is the ultimate therapy. Nothing makes me happier." However, individuals from diverse ethnic backgrounds may be deterred by concerns about personal safety and the perception of the British outdoors as a singularly white domain.

Those worries are valid: Wiggle forged its collaboration with Muslim Hikers and Adidas in reaction to racist responses to the walking group's appearance on BBC's Countryfile. Abusive comments also followed the recent placing of this partnership's modest signs pointing to Mecca. By responding to exclusion with inclusion, Wiggle and Adidas are demonstrating their commitment to fostering diversity and addressing the unique needs of underserved consumer segments. Which group will your brand champion?

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Spotted by: Liesbeth den Toom