Criminalizing Buddhist Body Art: Sri Lanka to Deport British Tourist over Buddha Tattoo

Indian Express
22nd April 2014

A 35-year-old British woman faces deportation for sporting a Buddha tattoo in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka, where disrespect of the religion by foreigners is frowned upon.

The woman tourist, who has been detained, had arrived at the Colombo international airport from Mumbai yesterday morning.

“She was produced before the magistrate at Negombo who ordered her to be detained at the immigration detention centre before deportation,” a police statement said.

The tourist had an image of the Buddha seated on a lotus flower tattooed on her right arm, it said.

It was not immediately clear where the woman, who was not identified, would be deported to.

Sri Lanka is a Buddhist-majority island and the authorities remain sensitive to any disrespect of the religion by foreigners.

Last year, another British tourist was deported for a similar incident.

In 2012, at least three French tourists were handed suspended jail sentences for “inappropriate” behaviour in front of a Buddha statue.

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