Riyadh: Simon Collis, Britain’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, has performed Haj after recently converting to Islam, it was reported on Wednesday.
The diplomat was pictured with his wife in the traditional white garments of the annual pilgrimage, which is compulsory for Muslims to perform at least once in their lives.
Collis has been posted in Riyadh, the capital of the Arab kingdom, since 2015. He is the first British ambassador to perform Haj, an online portal reported.
Married to Huda al-Mujarkech, a Syrian Muslim, Collis has previously served as Britain’s ambassador to Iraq, Bahrain and Syria – where he was kicked out by President Bashar al-Assad in 2012 when diplomatic relations collapsed in the face of the growing Syrian civil war.
He has also served in positions in Tunisia, India, Yemen and the UAE. He said that he had converted to Islam “after spending 30 years in Muslim societies”.
Photographs of Collis and Mujarkech on Haj were posted on an Arabic-language Twitter account by the user Fawziah al-Bakr along with the comment: “The first British ambassador to the Kingdom performing Haj after converting to Islam: Simon Collis with his wife Huda in Makkah Mekkha.”