Thailand is calling for a ban on tourists getting tattoos depicting Buddha whilst they are visiting the kingdom as the practice is considered “culturally insensitive”.
Culture Minister Niphit Intharasombat said in a statement that his ministry had received a number of complaints from local residents that tattoo studios are scribing sacred images of Buddha and other religious images onto the skin of non-Buddhist visitors across the country.
“Foreigners see these tattoos as a fashion,” Niphit said in the statement posted on his ministry’s website. “They do not think of respecting religion, or they may not be aware” that it can be offensive.
Niphit said his ministry had called on tattoo parlours nationwide to detest from the activity.
Thailand is predominantly Buddhist, and Buddha statues and images are considered sacred objects of worship.
The government news agency, NNT, has said Niphit has asked provincial governors to “inspect tattoo studios and seek their co-operation”. He is also pushing for a law banning the practice
However, Ladda Thangsupachai, director of the ministry’s Cultural Surveillance Center, said that tattooing religious images is not yet illegal under Thai law.