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Sri Lanka denies British tourist entry for 'disrespect' to Buddhism

The authorities are sensitive to insults to Buddhism, the religion of the island's majority ethnic Sinhalese.

Sri lanka monksEnlarge
Sri Lankan Buddhist monks offer special prayers to bless the national cricket team at the Kelaniya Temple in Kelaniya on April 1, 2011. (Ishara S. KODIKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Sri Lanka has denied a British tourist entry into the country after an immigration official determined he was disrespectful to Buddhism, Agence France Presse reported.

The BBC said a Sri Lankan immigration official said the man spoke "very disrespectfully" when asked about his tattoo of the Buddha on his arm.

"If he expressed such views after entering the country, it would have been a threat to his own safety," the immigration worker told the daily Lankadeepa Sinhalese, according to AFP.

According to the BBC, Sri Lankan authorities are sensitive to perceived threats or insults to Buddhism, which is practiced by the nation's majority ethnic Sinhalese.

Other foreigners has been denied entry on similar grounds.

Three years ago, US R&B star Akon was refused a visa after his video, showing "scantily-clad" women dancing near a Buddha statue, drew protests in the country.