Legend suggests that the only religions that flourish in high mountains are Buddhism and Hinduism. Actually, Islam flourishes in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, in the coastal ranges of Yemen and Oman, among the peaks of northern and southern Turkey, in the Pamirs of Afghanistan and Russia and, above all, in the very highest reaches of the world: the western end of the Himalayan massif in northern Pakistan.
In that region, the Karakorum Mountains stand like a clan of giants shrouded in a gargantuan cloak of ice and snow; the average Karakorum peak is above 6,100 meters (20,000 feet), double that of the Alps or Rockies, and higher, on the average, than the Nepalese behemoths surrounding Mt. Everest. It’s a forbidding, starkly lunar terrain, and in it, amid glaciers and sub-polar ice fields, lies a lovely valley called Hunza, possibly the highest outpost of Islam in the world.