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I stumbled upon a question on blending in in Egypt, in which one user warns that Egyptians regard tattooed people as criminals or foreigners.

How big of a problem will tattoos be for a regular tourist? Obviously you should cover your ink when visiting a mosque or a fancy restaurant, but I'm thinking more in general.

Is this a general opinion of the people in the Middle-East or Arabian countries? Is it tied to religion (and therefore also in other muslim countries) or culture?

I will be travelling to Egypt soon, and I have a tattoo that is visible even in short sleeves. I am also considering a simple skull-and-bone tattoo, which will be covered in short sleeves, but not when I lose the shirt on the beach, when trekking or whatever.

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

If you are a foreigner then it is ok, you can show them or hide them no one will actually care. It is not something common there for middle easterners to have but people do not judge foreigners for having or showing them.

Regarding Egypt in particular, it is common for criminals and people who been prisoned to have them, so that will be the first impression. The answer in that question was meant for a person who wants to blend in and look like Egyptian. But for a tourist it is totally fine to show them. I live in Saudi Arabia which is considered to be the most conservative country in the middle east and locals do not make tattoos at all but we totally accept foreigners with tattoos like they do not have it...

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It is totally okay to visit Egypt with a tattoo.
I am 100% Egyptian and I have tattoos in many parts of my body and nobody can say anything. It does not identify me as a criminal or anything. It is just normal.

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Well in other countries (eg Japan) it can be quite a problem, so it's entirely appropriate for the OP to clarify. – Mark Mayo Apr 21 '15 at 8:37

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