CAIRO – A Scottish adventurer has made history after becoming the first Muslim to ski to the South Pole, raising funds for charities across his long journey.
“It feels really good to have made it. I’ve done the grand slam of adventures,” Mostafa Salameh, a Scottish Jordanian Muslim, told Herald Scotland.
“The toughest thing about crossing Antarctica was the cold, which made things very difficult at times. It was harder than I expected and it took a lot of getting used to.
“But every day you get fitter and more used to the sled you’re pulling behind you. I wanted to do this to show a good image of Islam and give young people a better message than the one of radicalization.”
In the tough journey, Salameh, 44, spend 38 days to cross the icy continent with two teammates while pulling up to 90 kilos of supplies behind them on sleds.
The journey started in November but was forced to delay for 13 days at the Union Glacier base camp due to fierce storms.
The new journey followed earlier achievements by the Muslim adventurer who has previously climbed Everest, reached the peaks of the seven highest mountains on each of the continents, and made it to the North Pole.
The 44-year-old was brought up in a refugee camp before coming to the UK to study at Edinburgh University.
He has received a number of awards for his adventures, and was knighted by the King of Jordan for his services to charity.
Raising huge sums for charity along the way, Salameh carried Scottish flag for good luck which he flew over the Pole after finally reaching his goal earlier this month.
During his adventures, he raised £2 million for Jordan’s King Hussein Cancer Centre and $100000 dollars for the United Nations Relief and Works agency to rebuild a school in Gaza.
“I did it for Islam and the peaceful message this beautiful religion came to offer as I become also the first Muslim to do so. I did it for the Palestinian people and hope for peace,” he said, describing the challenges he has faced as jihad, which means internal spiritual struggle rather than holy war.
“I did it for the environment and the message my main sponsor wants to spread, did it for Education especially in Gaza, I did it for refugees all over the world and off course to all Jordanians and Arabs, to Scotland and specially Edinburgh where my adopted home is.
“To my mum and dad and to my wife Krissy and best mother to my children , my boys Zaidan, Ayman, Yacob and Sami Everest, my friends and everyone that believed in me.
“Blustered, frostbitten, broken, tired, exhausted but never bowed, I made it.”