Simon Collis, Britain’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia who served in New Delhi in the early 1990s, has performed the Haj after converting to Islam, making news in the British media.
Collis was the first secretary in the British high commission in New Delhi during 1991-94, and head of the India section in the Foreign Office in London from 1987 to 1988.
He went on the annual pilgrimage with his wife, Huda Mujarkech, a Syrian Muslim, and was pictured wearing the traditional white robes for the journey. He thanked well-wishers on Twitter: “In short, I converted to Islam after spending 30 years in Muslim societies and before getting married to Huda.”
Collis joined the Foreign Office in 1978 and, after studying Arabic, has served mainly in the Middle East and South Asia. His first posting was to Bahrain.
He has been the British ambassador to Iraq, Syria and Qatar. He was the British consul-general in Dubai and Basra. Collis has been posted in Riyadh since 2015.
It is compulsory for Muslims to perform the Haj at least once in their lives.