Legally, there is no ban on a Buddha tattoo in Sri Lanka, but
the predominantly Buddhist nation is very sensitive about its
Naomi Coleman, a 37-yar-old nurse left on a London-bound flight
after being detained since her arrival on Monday from
"I just want to get out of this place. I have come twice to Sri
Lanka, but I have never faced this with my tattoo," Coleman told
Reuters by telephone shortly before she was deported.
"If there is a rule like this, Sri Lankan authorities should
clearly say that Buddha tattoos are banned. I am a practicing
Buddhist and Buddhism is all about compassion and kindness."
Buddhism is accorded the "foremost place" in Sri Lanka's
constitution and about 70 percent of the island's 20 million
people are Buddhist.
Authorities spotted Coleman's tattoo upon her arrival in Sri
Senior immigration official Chulananda Perera said the court had
decided to deport Coleman partly because she could have been
"vulnerable" if allowed to stay.
"Some Sri Lankans could get offended," Perera told Reuters.
It was not the first time a tourist with such a tattoo has run
into trouble in Sri Lanka. In 2013, authorities denied entry to
a British man for his tattoo of Buddha.
(Additional reporting by Shihar Aneez;
editing by Robert Birsel)
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