Saudi religious police demand soccer players cover tattoos -- particularly "Christian drawings"
Morality police are ultimately a cheap, lazy way for a government to look pious, busy, and productive, bolstering its Islamic credentials for public consumption, and to intimidate against even the slightest hint of a challenge to authority. "Saudi bans footballers with tattoos: report," from Emirates 24/7, October 10:
Saudi Arabia’s religious police have told foreign players with tattoos on their arms to cover such drawings while on the field, saying they are adversely affecting young Saudis, a newspaper reported on Monday.
The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice sent a letter to the Higher Youth Committee asking it to warn all foreign players in the conservative Muslim Gulf kingdom to cover their tattoos before going into the field during matches, Sabq Arabic language daily said.
The letter cited Columbian player at Al Nasr Club, Juan Pablo Pino, whose hands and shoulders are covered with tattoos “in violation of existing rules.”
“These tattoos have negative effects on the Saudi youth…you are asked to draw the attention of all foreign players in the Kingdom to the need to abide by the rules and cover their tattoos during matches,” the letter said.
The paper said the letter contained a photograph of Pino, showing his two arms are covered with tattoos.
The paper said the letter followed a picture published in local newspapers showing Pino’s tattoos included some “Christian drawings.”
The 24-year-old Pino and his pregnant wife were detained by Commission members at a Riyadh shopping mall this week on the grounds he was wearing a T-shirt without sleeves.