Last month, British foreign office was shocked to learn that its ambassador to Saudi Arabia Simon Paul Collis was seen performing Hajj (annual pilgrimage) in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
News that Collis, 60, born into a Jewish family, had converted to Islam came to light with pictures posted on Twitter of him and his wife dressed in Ihram (white clothes) that Muslim pilgrims in Makkah wear.
The Arabic news site Mail Online’ first reported the pictures after they were posted by Fawziah Albakr from the King Saud University. Albakr wrote, The first British ambassador to the Kingdom leads the pilgrimage after his conversion to Islam: Simon Collis with his wife Huda in Makkah.
Collis confirmed his conversion to Islam on his Twitter account by saying: Allah bless you. In brief: I converted to Islam after 30 years of living in Muslim societies and before marrying Huda, he wrote in Arabic.
Collis converted to Islam in 2011 before marrying Huda al-Mujarkech, a Syrian Muslim. Both have five children.
Collis, who speaks Arabic fluently, has served UK’s ambassador in Syria, Iraq, and Doha in the past.
In November 2001, Italian Catholic ambassador to Saudi Arabia Torquato Cardilli converted to Islam.
In 1995, Mario Scialoja, former Italian ambassador to United Nations and Saudi Arabia converted to Islam along with his wife and two children.
In 1980, former German Catholic ambassador to Algeria, Morocco, and NATO’s director of information Murad Wilfried Hofmann (watch below) and his German wife converted to Islam.