» 10/11/2011, 00.00
Riyadh: Colombian footballer arrested over tattoo of Christ's face
Juan Pablo Pino was detained by religious police, for wearing a sleeveless shirt in a mall that revealed a tattoo of Jesus on his arm. He palys in the An-Nasr team. His coach before the game:"I can not make the sign of the cross, they would kill me."
Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) – On Oct. 7 Saudi Arabia's religious police arrested a Colombian soccer player in a shopping mall in the capital because it had a tattoo with the face of Christ on his arm. Juan Pablo Pino, 24, who plays in the An-Nasr (victory) team was wearing a sleeveless shirt while walking with his young pregnant wife in a shopping mall in Riyadh.
The tattoo on his left shoulder led to the insults of some local Muslims, and the incident attracted the attention of the so-called "police for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice," who stopped the couple. According to local newspapers, the agents "put the player and his wife in a car and took them to the police station." Soon after, they contacted the leaders of the football club. "Pino and his wife were handed over to them" .
Immediately afterwards the football club released a statement, attributed to the player, where Juan Pablo Pino expressed his "deep sadness" over the incident and certified that it was not his intention to violate the laws of the country. The communiqué adds that the player was in the mall "to buy Muslim clothes for his wife, so that she can go out in public dressed in a respectful manner." The player's wife, however, according to a report in the newspaper "As-Sharq" is distressed, and she and her husband would want them to leave Saudi Arabia. The newspaper said that the club has asked the coach, the Argentine Gustavo Costas, and Juan Pablo Pino, trying to convince her to change her mind.
In September El Comercio, a newspaper in Lima, published an interview with Gustavo Costas about his new life (previously he coached the team Alianza Lim). In Lima he made the sign of the cross before every game, and wore a rosary around his neck. "Now I can not do this in public, I do it in the locker room. If I made the sign of the cross, they would kill me, stone me, "said Costas. Last year, the Romanian player Mirel Radoi, from the club Al-Hilal (the crescent) kissed the cross tattoo on his arm after scoring a goal. The episode scandalised Muslims.
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