Sri Lanka to deport British woman over tattoo

British tourist Naomi Coleman poses for a photograph to display a tattoo of the Buddha on her upper arm, after she was arrested at Sri Lanka's main international airport and later ordered with deportation for having a tattoo of the Buddha, in Colombo on April 22, 2014. LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Sri Lankan authorities will deport a British tourist for having an image of Buddha tattooed on her arm, an official said Wednesday.

Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said Naomi Coleman was detained at Colombo's airport after she arrived from India on Monday when authorities spotted the tattoo of Buddha seated on a lotus flower. She was sent before a magistrate who ordered her deportation.

Rohana said that Coleman has been handed over to immigration authorities, who are taking steps to deport her.

He said Coleman was arrested for "hurting others' religious feelings."

Immigration officials did not answer calls seeking a comment. Coleman could not be reached and it wasn't clear if she was traveling with others.

Buddhism is Sri Lanka's state religion and plays an important part in political and social affairs. About 70 percent of Sri Lanka's 20 million people practice Buddhism.

In 2010, Sri Lanka refused to give a visa to R&B star Akon over a music video in which scantily clad women dance in front of a Buddha statue. Akon expressed regret and said he was not previously aware of the statue in the video.



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