Islam is predicated on modesty, from the architecture of its mosques to conservative conventions of dress that sometimes require women to expose nothing but their eyes. So it follows to reason that Islam and tattoos wouldn’t mix.
Over beers and Shisha tonight, Karim, the 22-year-old son of our tour guide, said ink is Haram since the body belongs to Allaah. Henna passes muster, but with any permanent change to the landscape of your body – even for the sake of art – you change his vision and his creation. Ninety percent of Egyptians are Muslim, but Karim said there is one tattoo artist in the whole country. He’s American, too.
Naturally, I asked if Karim would take us to his parlor. He said yes, and I’m already fantasizing about the narrative profile I could write.