A British tourist is “shocked and upset” after being deported from Sri Lanka for displaying a Buddha tattoo on his arm, he says.
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 Mr Ratcliffe says the “inoffensive” body art was meant as a tribute.
"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."
"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.
"It wasn’t something I took lightly or did on the spur of the moment."
Eventually, Mr Ratcliffe was allowed to continue his journey to Kuala Lumpur, but faced further questioning when he landed.
"The whole experience has been a shock - it has been upsetting and a waste of my time. I’m not taking it further, but when I saw they had accused me of speaking disrespectfully about Buddhism, I had to put my side of the story", he said.
'i mean, i still don't really give a shit whether or not they were offended by my imperialist tattoo, i just can't decide if i'm more insulted that they wouldn't let me into their country to 'appreciate' the rest of their heritage, or that they think they can tell me what i don't know about buddhism'.
fucks sake, man. #whitegirlsinheaddresses