US travel restrictions entangle Iraqi-born Australian surgeon Munjed Al Muderis

Although Munjed Al Muderis has travelled to the United States more than 20 times during his career, the renowned surgeon has faced problems entering the country since travel restrictions on visitors from Muslim-majority countries were implemented.

The Iraqi-born Australian orthopaedics expert said he was recently refused entry on his way to deliver a keynote speech at an international prosthetics conference.

While checking in for a flight from London to Hawaii, Dr Al Muderis was pulled aside for questioning and stopped from boarding his scheduled flight.

"I can't put any reason other than racial profiling why they would pick me up," he told Chris Bath on ABC Radio Sydney.

US Department of Homeland Security officials informed him that his visa waiver travel authorisation had been revoked due to a recent visit he'd made to Iraq.

Dr Al Muderis told them he had already successfully entered the US three times since visiting Iraq, to which he said security officials had conceded were mistakes.

His partner Claudia Roberts, who is of Caucasian appearance, was travelling with him.

She also presented an Australian passport and had accompanied him to Iraq; she was initially given her boarding pass.

"I just had to point out to them clearly that I was profiled against my name while she wasn't," Dr Al Muderis said.

Dr Al Muderis tried to resolve the matter but ended up missing the conference.

On a following occasion he obtained a visa to attend another conference but was again singled out upon arriving in Dallas.

He was allowed to proceed on his journey but only after being interrogated by officials for 15 minutes.

"People should be accounted for what they do and their actions rather than their colour or their background, because that's the only thing you can't choose," he said.

Helping war victims in Iraq

Despite encountering travel obstacles Dr Al Muderis is undeterred in his efforts to help the people of his war-torn country of origin.

In 1999 he fled the regime of Saddam Hussein and in 2000 he was granted asylum in Australia after spending 10 months in an immigration detention centre.

He has gone on to become a pioneer in the field of osseointegration — a procedure involving integrating prosthetics with bones.

In 2017 he was requested by Iraq's Prime Minister to return to help amputee patients, the majority of them casualties of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

"And the response is unanimously ... 'We still need you, your time hasn't come'."

He has travelled to Iraq three times to perform life-changing surgery on hundreds of patients affected by the country's ongoing conflict.

On each self-funded trip he brings donated medical equipment and supplies and is accompanied by a small team of volunteer specialists due to the shortage of expertise in Iraq.

On the most recent trip his team worked with hospital staff to operate on 190 patients in 17 days.

He will soon return for a fourth visit.

"These victims are very poor people, they don't have any money, they don't have any resources to go and seek medical help elsewhere so I thought I would be able to help," he said.

"The way I look at it, if you help one person, that person will help another person and it will have a snowball effect."

For information about financial planning for doctors, please visit the Whole Wealth - Medical Professional Page

This article was published and provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

#expatriates #travel #conference #doctors #surgeon


  • White LinkedIn Icon
  • White YouTube Icon
  • White Instagram Icon
  • Twitter Clean
  • White Google+ Icon