Sri Lanka to deport UK tourist with Buddha tattoo

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British Woman Deported From Sri Lanka
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Sri Lanka to deport UK tourist with Buddha 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. A 37-year-old British nurse recounted her 'hellish' experience in Sri Lanka after she was arrested and sent to a deportation centre for sporting a Buddha tattoo deemed offensive by authorities. Naomi Coleman was arrested at the country's main international airport shortly after her arrival on a flight from neighbouring India and appeared before a magistrate who ordered her deportation, police said in a statement. AFP PHOTO / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)
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. A 37-year-old British nurse recounted her 'hellish' experience in Sri Lanka after she was arrested and sent to a deportation centre for sporting a Buddha tattoo deemed offensive by authorities. Naomi Coleman was arrested at the country's main international airport shortly after her arrival on a flight from neighbouring India and appeared before a magistrate who ordered her deportation, police said in a statement. AFP PHOTO / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)
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. A 37-year-old British nurse recounted her 'hellish' experience in Sri Lanka after she was arrested and sent to a deportation centre for sporting a Buddha tattoo deemed offensive by authorities. Naomi Coleman was arrested at the country's main international airport shortly after her arrival on a flight from neighbouring India and appeared before a magistrate who ordered her deportation, police said in a statement. AFP PHOTO / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)
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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) -- 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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