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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.

  • Is your current tattoo particularly offensive in any way? e.g. - blatantly sexual or suggestive of anti-Islam? – Mikey Mar 2 '17 at 22:20
  • @Mikey The trip was four years ago, and no one cared in the slight about my ink. It is not offensive, but even if it was, I think I could pull it off (though I would cover it when appropriate). – Nix Mar 2 '17 at 22:31
  • Egyptian Christians have tattoos inside their wrists: cruxnow.com/faith/2015/06/27/… – Andrew Grimm Aug 28 '17 at 21:53
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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.

  • Well in other countries (eg Japan) it can be quite a problem, so it's entirely appropriate for the OP to clarify. – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Apr 21 '15 at 8:37
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I am Egyptian and I live in the middle of the Nile Delta. Here tourists come to discover cultural tourism. Some of them have a tattoo on their bodies and Egyptians regard them as foreigners only. Otherwise, but you must cover the tattoo while visiting mosques!

  • Don't Egyptian Christians have tattoos? – Andrew Grimm Aug 28 '17 at 21:55
  • Most Egyptian Christians have a tattoo that is a cross drawn on the wrist – Ayman Aug 29 '17 at 10:51
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Since you are asking for the middle east let me give you and all visitors an idea of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates.

Plenty of western people in Dubai have tattoos on display in the water parks and the major areas, sensitivity issue is not so much the tattoo but the "owner" and choice of dress. If you are dressed respectful then nobody will complain about a tattoo.

Definitely a no-go are all kind of tattoos that show violence, discrimination or any non muslim related drawings. You better cover up these tattoos.

Since I am working in the first licensed tattoo shop in Dubai, I have quite a lot of experience with this.

Respect is the key everywhere in the world.

  • 1
    Lots of people voted you down because they thought you were promoting the store (this site sometimes receives spam). We've removed the link to your store from this answer, and I hope other people vote this answer up. – Andrew Grimm Mar 23 '17 at 11:16
  • Have a plus 1 from me. – Calchas Aug 28 '17 at 12:30

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