Many-pierced man not allowed in Dubai German Rolf Buchholz shows his face with 168 piercings (AP photos)
Many-pierced man not allowed in Dubai

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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.

The club said in an emailed statement that airport authorities cited "security reasons" in 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.

"I got never an official answer," he said. "They are friendly but nobody answers your questions."

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.

Airport and immigration officials referred questions to the police, who could not be reached for comment.

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.

The club opened in 2011 and promises a little bit of everything: "Stilt walkers, midgets, contortionists, tattooed dancers, jugglers, drummers ... magicians and fire eaters," according to its website.

Alcohol flows freely in Dubai bars and clubs, which are typically attached to hotels, and revelers dress just as chicly and skimpily as they would in the West.

But while Dubai is far more laid-back than nearby Saudi Arabia or Qatar, traditional Islamic values remain strong, particularly among members of the local population who are far outnumbered by foreign residents.

Actions deemed insulting to local values, including public displays of affection, public intoxication and disrespect for religion, can lead to fines and jail time.

Jad Lahoud, the executive director of Pragma Lifestyle, the company that runs the Dubai branch of the club, said it was "a shame that Rolf couldn't join us this time."

"Cirque le Soir Dubai always strives to bring unique entertainment and concepts to the UAE, however we will always act in line with the laws that govern this nation," he added in an emailed statement.

Buchholz tweeted shortly after he was ordered to leave that he would never come back to Dubai.

But by Sunday, he seemed to be reconsidering. He said he would be happy to return if he had government assurance he'd be let in though he conceded that might yet be a long shot.

"I have two horns. I think that was also a problem for me in Dubai," he said.

Critical thinking challenge: Rolf Buchholz is an information technology professional. What jobs is he not suited for?

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  • diabreab-Cre
    9/03/2014 - 03:23 p.m.

    it doesn't matter whether he could get a j ob or not what matter is what he wants to do with his self . Honestly , it doesn't matter if its nasty or not if hes happy with his self . Having them piercing might be his job. hes being his self and that's all that matter. And it WAS wrong for them to not let him board the plane in Dubai because him going into Dubai has nothing to do with his appearance . If he decides to get over 400 piercing , let him be .

  • diabreab-Cre
    9/03/2014 - 03:29 p.m.

    It doesn't mater whether he could get a job or not . He is doing what he wants to do because he is a fully grown man. It WAS wrong to not let him board the plane . He has rights just like anyone else he is human. If he wants to get piercing let him be because he is happy with himself and he is obviously not trying to please anyone else . Judging people on their appearance is not going to get you anywhere .

  • ne2001bieber
    9/08/2014 - 01:14 p.m.

    There is many jobs that Rolf cant have. He cant be a teacher, a waiter, a doctor, a dentists, a therapists ( he has problems of his own lol ), and many more things because his face is unprofessional.

  • basketballstar7
    9/08/2014 - 01:15 p.m.

    Wow! That just doesn't look right. I would never do that, I would think that it would hurt really bad to have perching all over my face.

  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    10/07/2014 - 02:38 p.m.

    How does he even eat? I would think that food would get stuck on the back of his lips piercings. I don't know why someone would want 453 piercings. It would probably cost a lot of money to get all of them done, but it does give him something to be known for.

  • TehyaWhite-Ste
    10/08/2014 - 02:39 p.m.

    I think it was super rude for them to not let him in. They had no good reason, and they did it just because they didn't like the way he looked. That would be like if they didn't let an overly obese person into a place, just because they were overly obese. In my opinion, they were way in the wrong.

  • LAlanie-Sti
    10/16/2014 - 03:10 p.m.

    It is not right that they banded him from Dubai. Yes he has piercings way too many ... But he did not do anything wrong so they did not have a valid reason to kick him out. On the same sense I get there point of view.

  • shameerz-jac
    11/16/2015 - 06:20 p.m.

    Well in my opinion that man should not be held back for the way he looks. And also it probably hurt really badly

  • tukam-lam
    11/18/2015 - 10:53 a.m.

    I understand why Dubai doesn't want this man in their country, I mean Dubai is all about looks and people look at you from the outside first. That's just the way it is.But on the other hand, I believe that everyone is equal whether you have dark skin,white skin or even green! so I really don't think that piercings should be a reason a man isn't allowed the country,although the look is quite extreme,that's not a way anybody should be treated.If that amount of piercings makes that man happy, than everyone should be happy. Because my goal at the end of the day, and should be everyones as well is to be happy! So do what makes you happy, and you shouldn't care what people have to say because your happy anyway!

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