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First British Muslim reaches Everest summit, saving lives in the process

Akke Rahman at Mount Everest
British Bangladeshi Muslim Akke Rahman at Mount Everest

Akke Rahman has officially become the UK's first British Bangladeshi Muslim to climb Mount Everest. He reached the 8,849-metre summit during the early hours of Friday. Rahman undertook the most gruelling of challenges by climbing Everest while fasting. The 39-year-old from Oldham began his ascent in April to raise money for a charity supporting destitute women, men and children of Afghanistan, Syria, Rohingya and from other places impacted by war, conflict, disaster and poverty.

Speaking to Channel S TV, a British Bangladeshi satellite channel, Rahman said he was euphoric. "I just couldn't believe that I was on top of the world. It was just so difficult, I was exhausted, but I knew I had to complete this mission," the mountaineer said. "The weather was extremely cold, windy and rough. You cannot predict what will happen in a split second.  For 3 or 4 days while I was climbing to the top, I was living on a couple of [chocolate] snicker bars a day."

While climbing to the summit of Everest, Rahman said that he and his team saved the life of another mountaineer, Les, who was running out of oxygen. "He was from a different group where we got to know him. He ran out of oxygen at 7,800 metres," said Rahman. "We had to stick together. I just said to the guys we have to share the oxygen…I don't care how we get down. We have to get down to Camp 2 at 6,400 metres where we will be ok. We did radio the Sherpas to get some oxygen, but they didn't get back to us. One of my teammates suggested we give Les his oxygen and bring him down safely. I wasn't going to leave him behind. We brought him down safely."

READ: UK aid cuts leaves 40,000 Syria children out of school

Talking about his motivation, Rahman said: "We are living in challenging times. We thought Covid-19 was difficult, now look at the terrible situation in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Burma and other countries. When I see mothers struggling to feed their children, and kids rolling around hungry, it really impacts me to my core. They are crying out for help. I need to do something to help them."

After donating £15,000 ($18,717) Rahman's fundraising campaign, Lutfur Rahman, chairman of Work Permit Cloud, said: "He has inspired generations, risked his own life and left his young family behind to raise funds and support the most vulnerable and refugees. Akke Rahman is a legend and a fantastic role model for our country. We are extremely honoured to support his campaign."

Donations can still be made to Rahman's campaign "Peak Humanity" through his JustGiving website. So far, he has raised over $100,000.

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