British ambassador to Saudi Arabia converts to Islam, performs Hajj

British ambassador to Saudi Arabia converts to Islam, performs Hajj

Friday, September 16, 2016 9:59 am


Collis and his wife, Huda in front of British Embassy

Collis and his wife, Huda in front of British Embassy

 

Simon Collis, the Britain’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia has completed the Hajj pilgrimage after converting to Islam, according to a report in the Telegraph.

He was the first senior UK diplomat to go on pilgrimage to Mecca, the newspaper said.

According to the newspaper, the conversion of Simon Collis, the UK envoy to Riyadh, became public after pictures posted on Twitter showed him and his wife Huda wearing the traditional white garments of Muslim pilgrims in front of the British consulate in Mecca.

The 60-year-old diplomat, who speaks fluent Arabic, confirmed the news in response to messages on Twitter.

“God bless you. In brief: I converted to Islam after 30 years of living in Muslim societies and before marrying Huda,” he wrote.

He received a deluge of online congratulations from Saudi Arabia and across the Islamic world, with many Muslims saluting Mr Collis as “Haji Simon” using the title reserved for those who make the pilgrimage to Mecca following the tweet, the newspaper said.

Mr Collis converted in 2011.

Though his conversion was known to some fellow diplomats it was not public knowledge in Riyadh.

The newspaper also reported that the  pictures of the Ambassador and his wife were first posted by Fawziah Al-Bakr, a Saudi women’s rights activist. “The first British ambassador in Saudi Arabia is performing the Hajj with his wife Mrs Huda after he converted to Islam. Thanks be to God,” she wrote.

Also, while  Mr Collis acknowledged many of the congratulatory messages coming in on Twitter, he declined interviews about his faith.

 

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