A GROUP known as Muslim Hikers have revealed they have been inundated with horrific abuse following their appearance on the BBC's Countryfile.
The founder of the group, Haroon Mota, from Coventry, appeared in Sunday's episode of the BBC One show alongside his fellow group members at an outdoor art event filmed at country hotspot Scafell Pike.
As part of his efforts to get as many people out and about as possible, Haroon managed to recruit 200 volunteers from his group to head out for the event on the BBC programme.
Haroon labelled the abuse they had received since appearing as 'shocking', adding: "If we ever needed any validation for why we exist and why we do what we do, this is why."
The filming on the mountain was to showcase the Green Space Dark Skies project.
Reflecting on the abuse he and the group had suffered, Haroon said: "Unfortunately we have received an overwhelming amount of abuse online, a lot of racism.
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"It's something we have had before in the past and it's unfortunate that it's happening again."
He continued: "The reason why we set up Muslim Hikers was so we can create a community where people feel safe, a community where people can thrive… and hike confidently.
"It's a shame that we receive abuse occasionally, but this type of abuse only gives us the reasoning and the justifications for why we existed in the first place."
Addressing the hateful comments, a spokesperson for Countryfile said: "The countryside is for everyone, so we're saddened to hear of this.
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"Countryfile has a proud record of celebrating the nation's shared love of hiking."
Haroon has created a large group of fellow outdoor enthusiasts with the group's following reaching a huge 24,000 on Instagram.
Speaking on Countryfile, Haroon said: "Twenty years ago, when I started hiking, this seemed so strange that there was a lack of people looking like me. People of colour, black people, ethnic minorities, we just didn't see them in the outdoors.
"Over the years, as I built my passion for the outdoors, I felt like I wanted to do something to encourage more of our guys to get outside."
Countryfile airs Sundays on BBC One.
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