TIME Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Detains British Tourist for Having a Buddha Tattoo

A Buddha statue at Gangaramaya Temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on May 26, 2013 Dinuka Liyanawatte—Reuters

Arrest is the latest in a series of cases against foreign nationals based on perceived threats to Buddhism

A female British tourist in Sri Lanka has been detained and faces deportation for having a Buddha tattoo on her arm.

The woman was arrested at Colombo’s international airport on Monday upon arrival from India, Agence France-Presse reports.

“She was taken before the Negombo magistrate who ordered her to be detained prior to deportation,” read a police statement.

The charges against the woman were not specified, but in a series of previous cases, Sri Lanka has shown a high sensitivity to perceived threats to Buddhism, the nation’s majority religion.

In March, a British tourist was barred from entering the country for showing “disrespect” by having a Buddha tattooed on his arm; in August 2013, three French tourists received a suspended prison sentence for kissing a Buddha statue; and in 2010, American rap star Akon was prevented from visiting Sri Lanka after featuring skimpily clad women in front of a Buddha statue in one of his music videos.

[AFP]

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