Australia to Deport German Doctor with Disabled Son | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 31.10.2008
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Australia to Deport German Doctor with Disabled Son

Australia has asked a German-born doctor with a disabled son to leave the country because caring for the 13 year-old with Down Syndrome would be costly. The move has sparked outrage among disability groups.

German doctor Bernard Möller, center, with Down Syndrome son Lukas, 13, left

Bernard Möller, center, with Down Syndrome son Lukas, 13, left

A German doctor serving in a country town has been told to leave Australia because of the possible cost to the state of looking after his 13-year-old disabled son.

Bernard Moeller, the only doctor at a small hospital in rural Victoria, has been on a temporary visa since arriving in 2005 and had hoped to gain citizenship and make a new life in Australia with his wife and child.

"I'm really disappointed that the government encourages people to come here and fill the gaps and tell people our son is a burden for the society," Moeller said Friday. "That's really disappointing, saddening and unfair because I'm doing a lot for the Australian community and I'm happy to do that."

Moeller's application for permanent residency has been denied, the Immigration Department says, because Lukas Moeller, who was born with Down syndrome, will become a "significant and ongoing cost to the Australian community."

Down syndrome discrimination

Down syndrome Victoria chief executive Catherine McAlpine said the department had discriminated against Lukas.

"The department's assessment appears to be based on archaic notions of intellectual disability rather than a comprehensive individualized assessment process," she said in a statement.

"The department also appears to have focused only on potential costs and taken no account of the contribution this young man and his family will make to the community."

German converts to Islam to be deported

Separately, a German family in Egypt faces deportation too.

Egypt said it would expel a German family that tore up its German identification papers upon arrival, fearing the documents would connect them to an "infidel state."

Egypt accused the family of Islamic extremism and imprisoned the family, which consisted of a man, his wife, his two sisters and his mother. They were being prepared for deportation, Egyptian Independent al-Badeel newspaper reported.

According to media reports, the family does not want to return to Germany.

German embassy supports deportation

The German embassy in Cairo is cooperating with Egyptian officials to deport the family, the paper said. However, it has declined to give them new identification documents for fear they would also be destroyed. It must also be determined which country will pay for the flight.

Veiled women belonging to Pakistan Islamic fundamental Jamat-i-Islami gather in 1996 in Islamabad

New converts to Islam can be prone to religious extremism, according to one political scientist

Eyewitnesses said the female members of the family wore all-enveloping garg that only allowed their eyes to be seen. None of the family is fluent in Arabic, which made communication with police authorities difficult. After their arrest, they debated whether a true Muslim would allow himself to be photographed for a passport.

Al-Badeel quoted political scientist, Hossam Tamaam, as saying new converts to Islam often leave their home countries to live in Muslim countries and can be prone to religious extremism.

The paper did not give further details about the family. Egypt's staunchly secular government has cracked down in the past on militant Islamic movements.

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