A Colombian soccer player was arrested in Saudi Arabia Monday for displaying religious tattoos.
Colombian-born Juan Pablo Pino was arrested by the Saudi moral police after customers in a Riyadh shopping mall expressed outrage over the sports player’s religious tattoos, which included the face of Jesus of Nazareth on his arm.
Saudi Arabia is one of the most conservative countries in the Muslim world, and according to one of the country’s most respected clerics, Nayimi Sheik Mohammed, Saudi law prohibits tattoos, no matter what their form, and every player has to abide with these rules.
The cleric went on to stress the importance of respecting the status of “Sharia” (Islamic law) and that the tattoos must be covered at all times.
Pino, who plays in the Saudi league, has expressed “deep sorrow” for his actions and said he respects the laws of the country. He was released from custody when a team delegate arrived and discussed the matter with the police.
A similar event occurred in Saudi Arabia last year when a Romanian player kissed the tattoo of a cross he had on his arm after scoring a goal, which also caused public outrage.