Antony Ratcliffe, British Tourist, Detained In Sri Lanka Over 'Disrespectful' Buddha Tattoo

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A British tourist was briefly detained at an airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka after immigration officials spotted a Buddha tattoo on the man's arm.

Antony Ratcliffe was on a stopover en route to Malaysia on Friday when he was detained and questioned at Bandaranaike International Airport. According to the BBC, an unnamed official told local media that Ratcliffe had spoken "very disrespectfully" about Buddhism, a charge that Ratcliffe denied.

For more details, visit the BBC.

According to the International Business Times, authorities denied Ratcliffe entry to the country because they "felt his opinion regarding Buddhism would offend locals and might provoke an incident."

Ratcliffe said his body art was a tribute, and not intended as an insult.

"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," Ratcliffe told the BBC. "It wasn't something I took lightly or did on the spur of the moment."

Ratcliffe was eventually allowed to continue on to Malaysia, but was also questioned in that country.

Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist country that has meted out punishment over perceived disrespect for the religion before. Last year, three French tourists were given suspended prison sentences after they took photos in which they appeared to kiss a Buddha statue.

In 2010, R&B singer Akon was denied a visa to Sri Lanka after one of his videos, which showed a Buddha statue behind dancing women, spurred violent protests in the nation's capital, according to the Guardian.

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