Emirati national military service recruits not allowed to have illegal tattoos

Emirati national military service recruits not allowed to have illegal tattoos

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Emirati national military service recruits not allowed to have illegal tattoos

DUBAI // Doctors expect national military service for young Emiratis to bring a rise in the number seeking to have tattoos removed.

Body art is banned in the military and tattoos are viewed as haram by Muslim scholars, but it is not unusual for Emirati men and women to have them – especially if they have lived, studied or taken holidays abroad.

With national service now a requirement for all Emirati men aged between 18 and 30, Dr Hassan Galadari, a dermatologist and assistant professor at UAE University, expects more young people to undergo the painful process of having tattoos removed by laser.

“Usually it is young individuals who are in their mid twenties to thirties who have had those tattoos applied during their teenage years and now they would like to remove them, either for religious reasons or due to the nature of their work,” said Dr Galadari, who is Emirati. “They have usually been applied at home using non-sterile instruments: rarely are they done professionally in ink parlours.

“Tattoos may fall out of popularity among UAE youth with the introduction of national service.”

Almost all the body art Dr Galadari sees on Emiratis is permanent make-up on eyebrows or lips.

“It’s been perceived as a cultural norm here where tattoos are not. Religiously, permanent make-up is frowned upon unless for medical reasons such as losing your hair to cancer, but people still do it,” Dr Galadari said.

Some permanent make-up procedures can be performed in beauty salons, he said, and not always to a high standard.

“We see many people who have this done. The colour has changed with time and the ink isn’t always professional grade.”Dr Galadari said there were many health risks in being tattooed by someone who had not been properly trained.“Health wise, people should be told that some tattoo ink can lead to an allergic reaction, conditions such as sarcoidosis and even hepatitis C. There are outlets that will not allow those with tattoos to donate […]