A heavily tattooed German man whose face is embellished with horn implants and more than 100 piercings said on Sunday that 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 travelling to Dubai for the first time last week to appear at a circus-themed venue that tempts partygoers with attractions such as sword swallowers and burlesque dancers.
Buchholz 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.
The club said in an emailed statement that airport authorities cited "security reasons" when denying him entry. Buchholz said airport workers told him officials were concerned he could be a practitioner of black magic, though authorities did not say so directly.
Read more from the Associated Press at The Guardian