Our Beacon Forum

British ambassador converts to Islam
By:Ebrahim Rashid, Bahrain
Date: Thursday, 8 February 2018, 3:58 pm

British ambassador converts to Islam
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> Simon Collis, 60, pictured with Syrian wife Huda al-Mujarkech in traditional garments
> They made the annual pilgrimage to Mecca - a duty for every Muslim
> Decided to convert to Islam 'after spending 30 years in Muslim societies'
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> The British ambassador to Saudi Arabia has become the first senior diplomat to convert to Islam and complete the Haj.
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> Simon Collis, 60, said he had decided to convert to Islam 'after spending 30 years in Muslim societies'.
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> The father of five was pictured in the traditional white Ihram garments worn for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, which every Muslim must make at least once in their lives.
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> Simon Collis pictured with Syrian wife Huda al-Mujarkech standing at the front of the royal seal at the gate of the British Consulate in Mecca, dressed in the traditional white Ihram garments for the pilgrimage. He decided to convert to Islam 'after spending 30 years in Muslim societies'
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> Simon Collis pictured with Syrian wife Huda al-Mujarkech standing at the front of the royal seal at the gate of the British Consulate in Mecca, dressed in the traditional white Ihram garments for the pilgrimage. He decided to convert to Islam 'after spending 30 years in Muslim societies'
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> Mr Collis is married to Syrian Huda al-Mujarkech. He had previously served as Britain's ambassador to Syria between 2007 until 2012, when diplomatic relations broke down between the UK and President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
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> He has served in a string of Middle Eastern countries, including stints as ambassador in Iraq and Qatar and senior diplomatic positions in United Arab Emirates, Yemen, India and Tunisia.
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> It is understood Mr Collis discretely converted to Islam in 2011, shortly before he married his current wife Huda.
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> Converting to Islam is a religious requirement for a man marrying a Muslim woman.
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> He becomes one of the most high profile British figures to convert to Islam. Most converts adopt a Muslim name but according to The Times, Mr Collis will continue using his English name.
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> Mr Collis' conversion to Islam emerged after pictures were posted on Twitter earlier this week of him and his wife at the Haj dressed in the traditional Ihram robes at the front of the royal seal at the gate of the British Consulate in Mecca.
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> The pictures were posted on Twitter by Fawziah Albakr from the King Saud University, who wrote in Arabic: 'The first British ambassador to the Kingdom leads the pilgrimage after his conversion to Islam: Simon Collis with his wife Mrs. Huda in Mecca. Praise be to Allah.' Mr Collis thanked her on Twitter.
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> Mr Collis wrote on Twitter: 'May Allah bless you. Briefly, I converted to Islam after 30 years of living in Muslim societies and just before I married Huda.'
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> The Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed he had converted to Islam but refused to comment on when he converted, saying his religion was a private matter.
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> Simon Collis was pictured on the Haj pilgrimage, which every Muslim has a duty to make at least once in their life
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> Simon Collis was pictured on the Haj pilgrimage, which every Muslim has a duty to make at least once in their life
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> After leaving Damascus in 2012, Mr Collis served as ambassador to Iraq until 2014, before moving to Riyadh in January 2015.
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> His first stint as an ambassador was in Doha, Qatar between 2005 and 2007. He was Consul General in Basra, Iraq from 2004-2005 and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates for four years previously.
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> He was deputy head of mission in Amman, Jordan from 1996-1999.
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> Mr Collis said he had converted to Islam 'right before getting married to Huda' but few knew of his conversion until the photo appeared.
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> Mr Collis was among an estimated 19,000 British pilgrims performing Haj this year as they celebrated Eid al-Adha, which always begins on the 10th day of the Islamic lunar month of Dhul-Hijja, during the annual pilgrimage.
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> In Saudi Arabia, more than two million Muslims descended on Mecca to celebrate the festival in one of the final rites of the Haj.
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> Muslims walk along roads in Saudi Arabia as they head towards the holy city of Mecca to celebrate the first day of Eid al-Adha
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> Muslims walk along roads in Saudi Arabia as they head towards the holy city of Mecca to celebrate the first day of Eid al-Adha
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> BRITISH AMBASSADOR SIMON COLLIS CONVERTED TO ISLAM WHEN HE MARRIED SYRIAN WIFE
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> Pictures emerged this week of Simon Collis posing in the traditional Ihram garments that are worn by pilgrims to Mecca
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> Pictures emerged this week of Simon Collis posing in the traditional Ihram garments that are worn by pilgrims to Mecca
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> British ambassador to Saudi Arabia Simon Collis has been serving in the Middle East for more than 30 years.
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> He converted to Islam before marrying Syrian Muslim Huda Mujarkech, understood to have been in 2011.
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> He was previously the Ambassador to Syria, where he served between 2007 until he was kicked out by President Bashar al-Assad in 2012 when civil war broke out in the country.
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> The father of five has also served as Ambassador in Iraq and Qatar and held senior diplomatic positions in United Arab Emirates, Yemen, India and Tunisia.
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> Mr Collis is a fluent Arabic speaker and is a graduate of Christ's College Cambridge.
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> He may be the first ambassador to convert to Islam but he is certainly not the first diplomat to embrace the culture and language of the religion.
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> Charles le Gai Eaton, who became Hassan Abdul Hakeem, was a diplomat of the mid-20th century who fell in love with the Middle East and Islam.
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> The first known British convert to Islam was Abdullah William Quilliam, was a diplomatic representative of the Ottoman and Persian empires in the late 19th century.
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> British author T E Lawrence was a keen and committed Arabist but never converted to Islam.
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> After leaving Damascus in 2012, Mr Collis served as ambassador to Iraq until 2014, before moving to Riyadh in January 2015.
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> His first stint as an ambassador was in Doha, Qatar between 2005 and 2007. He was Consul General in Basra, Iraq from 2004-2005 and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates for four years previously.
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> He was deputy head of mission in Amman, Jordan from 1996-1999.