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» 10/11/2011
SAUDI ARABIA
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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See also
07/26/2010 SAUDI ARABIA
Islamic scholars: if the veil is banned, Muslim women may uncover their face
06/08/2005 SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi Arabia: 7 of jailed Christians released
06/03/2005 SAUDI ARABIA
Families of Christians arrested in Riyadh appeal to international community
02/22/2010 PHILIPPINES - SAUDI ARABIA
Catholic migrant in Saudi Arabia: Three years without a day of rest and mass
by Santosh Digal
02/06/2010 SAUDI ARABIA - INDIA
Brian O'Connor: discrimination and religious intolerance the evils of Saudi Arabia
by Nirmala Carvalho

Editor's choices
IRAQ - ITALY
Almost 700,000 euros raised as the 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraA second instalment is sent with funds raised in September. The fate of East-West relations is being played out in the Middle East and Iraq. Pope Francis and the Synod issue an appeal. Governments are lukewarm. Aid is coming from around the world. A new international community is defeating the "globalisation of indifference."
IRAQ-VATICAN
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": Archbishops’ thanks as first aid arrives
by Amel NonaMsgr. Amel Nona, the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, who is also a refugee himself, thanks all the donors to the AsiaNews campaign. The situation is increasingly difficult given the huge number of refugees and the arrival of winter and snow, making outdoor shelters and tents impossible. The crisis, an occasion that activates the faith of Christians.
ITALY - IRAQ
After raising € 350,000, 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraDonations raised up to 31 August have been sent to the patriarch of Baghdad and the bishops of Kurdistan. The campaign helps to feed, house, clothe, and bring comfort to more than 150,000 Christian, Yazidi, Turkmen, Shia and Sunni refugees who fled the violence of the army of the Islamic Caliphate. People in Italy and around the world have been generous, including the poor and the unemployed, a sign of hope for the world as well as those who suffer and those who give.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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