DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - A heavily tattooed German man whose face is embellished with horn implants and more than 100 piercings said Sunday he was refused entry to Dubai without reason, forcing him to skip a planned appearance at a nightclub. His look may have been a step too far for the Gulf's most liberal city, where a carefully cultivated reputation for tolerance and cutting-edge cosmopolitanism occasionally clashes with the region's conservative Islamic values.
Rolf Buchholz, 55, was traveling to the Middle Eastern commercial hub for the first time last week to appear at a circus-themed venue that woos partygoers with over-the-top attractions such as sword swallowers and burlesque dancers. He told The Associated Press that immigration agents initially stamped his passport and let him through, but that he was stopped again before he was able to exit customs. He soon found himself in a room with other deportees. Buchholz said airport workers told him officials were concerned he could be a practitioner of black magic, though authorities did not say so directly. The club said in an emailed statement that airport authorities cited "security reasons" in denying him entry.
In addition to his body art and faux horns, Buchholz has a record 453 piercings, many of them on his face and genitals, according to Guinness World Records. Buchholz, an information technology professional from Dortmund, Germany, had been scheduled to appear at the Cirque le Soir nightclub in Dubai's Fairmont Hotel on Friday.