Sri Lanka Throws British Traveler in Jail Over Her Buddha Tattoo, Intends to Deport Her April 24, 2014

Sri Lanka Throws British Traveler in Jail Over Her Buddha Tattoo, Intends to Deport Her

Buddhists who want to truly serve their faith could do better than to behave like thin-skinned jackasses over insults that aren’t.

Some of the most fanatical (and sometimes violent) Buddhists can be found in Sri Lanka. Let’s take a closer look.

Four years ago, a couple of Muslim traders received suspended jail sentences for selling key chains that depicted Buddha.

Two years ago, a Sri Lankan court gave suspended jail sentences and fines to three French tourists who had taken pictures of themselves in front of a Buddha statue, including a photo in which one of them pretended to kiss the venerated sage.

Last year, things turned really ugly:

Buddhist monks led hundreds in an assault on a Muslim-owned clothing warehouse. Buddhist monks were filmed throwing stones at the storage center of popular garment chain Fashion Bug in a suburb of the capital on Thursday night. … The attack comes as hard-line Buddhist groups step up a campaign against the lifestyles of Muslims.

And now, a British tourist is behind bars in Sri Lanka — and about to be deported — for having a Buddha tattoo on her upper arm.

Naomi Coleman was arrested as she arrived at the airport in the capital Colombo after authorities spotted the tattoo on her right arm. A police spokesman said the 37-year-old from Coventry was arrested for “hurting others’ religious feelings.” …

Ms Coleman said there was initially no problem with officials but two taxi drivers and a plain-clothes police officer told her she was breaking the law and brought her to a police station to make a statement.

The tattoo wasn’t even the slightest bit mocking (the BBC has pictures). In fact, Coleman practices Buddhism and says she has attended meditation retreats and learned about Buddhist teachings in Thailand, Cambodia, India, and Nepal. Her tattoo, of the Buddha sitting on a lotus flower, was intended as a tribute, not an insult.

Of course, that doesn’t matter to the local Buddhists who love working themselves into a lather over every perceived slight.

Hey, Sri Lanka: Nice tourism industry you got there. Be a shame if something were to happen to it.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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