British ambassador to Saudi Arabia performs Hajj as Muslim convert

#Hajj

Simon Collis converted to Islam 'after spending 30 years in Muslim societies' as a UK diplomat

Simon Collis pictured at the Hajj in Mecca with his wife Huda Mujarkech (Twitter)
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Last update: 
Thursday 15 September 2016 7:58 UTC
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Britain's ambassador to Saudi Arabia has become the first person in that role ever to complete the Islamic Hajj.

Simon Collis, a veteran diplomat and London's ambassador to Riyadh since 2015, converted to Islam recently.

He was pictured next to his wife, Huda Mujarkech, in the traditional white robes worn by pilgrims.

Translation: First British ambassador to the kingdom completes the hajj after becoming a Muslim: Simon Collis and his wife Huda in Mecca. Thank God.

The image was first shared on Twitter this week by the prominent women's rights activist Fawziyah al-Bakar. Collis, 60, replied in Arabic, thanking Bakar for sharing the image.

The diplomat, a graduate of Christ's College Cambridge who has previously served as Britain's ambassador to Qatar, Syria and Iraq, told another user in Arabic that he had converted to Islam “after spending 30 years in Muslim societies” and marrying Mujarkech.

Collis was expelled from Syria in 2011 after being declared "persona non grata" by the government of Bashar al-Assad. He took up his post in Saudi Arabia in February 2015 after a two-year stint in Iraq.