The Head of the UK diplomatic mission to Saudi Arabia Simon Collis converted to Islam and completed Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca last week. Collis is believed to be the first British ambassador who performed the holy trip.
The picture of the ambassador wearing white robes traditionally worn for the pilgrimage was posted by Fawziah Al-Bakr, Professor of King Saud University. In her Twitter, Al-Bakr wrote in Arabic: “First British ambassador to the Kingdom undertakes the Hajj following his conversion to Islam. Simon Collis with his wife Huda in Mecca. Praise be to God.”
The conversion of Collis was also praised by the ruling House of Saud royal family. Princess Basmah bint Saud in Twitter wrote her ‘special congratulations to the ambassador and his wife’.
In reply, Collis thanked everybody for friendly messages and acknowledged that he converted to Islam after living among Muslim cultures for thirty years. The ambassador also revealed that the conversion to the faith took place shortly before his marriage in 2011, with Huda Mujarkech of Syrian background.
The UK Foreign Office confirmed the information but declined to comment on it saying that religion is a personal matter of the employees.
According to Pew Research, in recent decades, the Muslim share of the population throughout Europe grew about 1 percentage point a decade. Europe’s Muslim population is projected to exceed 58 million by 2030.