By Colombo Telegraph –
A British tourist is “shocked and upset” after being deported from Sri Lanka for displaying a Buddha tattoo on his arm, the BBC reports.
According to the BBC, Antony Ratcliffe, 42, from Nottingham, was turned back at Colombo’s main airport on Friday for allegedly showing a lack of respect for Buddhism.
The authorities are tough on perceived insults to Buddhism – the religion of the island’s majority ethnic Sinhalese. But Ratcliffe says the “inoffensive” body art was meant as a tribute.
“As soon as he saw it the chief officer went crazy. You could see it on his face, he looked really angry and said I would have to go back to London.They took my passport and held me there for an hour and a half. All the time they were bringing people in to look at my arm, and they were shaking their heads. I was explaining my case, pleading basically, and the chief officer just told me to ‘shut up, shut up’ and he refused to talk to me.” Ratcliffe told the BBC.
“I like the artwork in tattoos obviously and, due to my belief in Buddhist philosophy which I have followed for many years, I thought a quality tattoo of the Buddha was rather apt.” he further said.
According to the BBC, more than 100,000 British citizens visited Sri Lanka in 2012, accounting for 10% of the total number of tourists. The UK is also the country’s second-largest trading partner after India.