British woman deported over Buddha tattoo abused on Facebook
November 17, 2017 06:04 pm
A woman who was deported from Sri Lanka for having a tattoo of the Buddha on her arm says she had to leave Facebook after being abused by extremists.
Naomi Coleman, 41, from Coventry, won compensation on Wednesday after being detained in the country for four days, in April 2014.
Following her deportation, she says she received online messages telling her she should die and burn in hell.
Ms Coleman, a Buddhist herself, said she will not return to Sri Lanka.
Ms Coleman, an NHS support worker, said she received the messages following her deportation.
“I have never experienced anything like this with Buddhism,” she said.
“They mostly seemed to be sent from Buddhist extremists in Sri Lanka. They were writing that I should die and burn in hell.
“I came completely off Facebook for a few weeks and have now changed my name on social media.
“To me, this is not the Buddhist way. Buddhism is about compassion and understanding.”
On Wednesday, Sir Lanka’s Supreme Court said Ms Coleman’s treatment while she was in custody was “scandalous and horrifying” and awarded her compensation of 800,000 Sri Lankan rupees - about £4,000.
It said there was “no legal basis” for her arrest and she had been subject to “degrading treatment” by some officers and a prison guard.
Ms Coleman, who has been a Buddhist for about 10 years, has travelled widely and continues to go to retreats in Thailand and Nepal.
She said she was “overwhelmed” by the ruling but would not be returning to Sri Lanka.
“It’s a shame - it’s a beautiful country and most of the people are very welcoming,” she said.
“But it seems there is a small percentage of people who want to cause trouble for me.
“I’m not sure if it’s because I am a woman travelling alone. But, at the moment, I wouldn’t feel safe going back.”