Ask any gay person about his or her experience of coming out. Such stories are frequently characterized by periods of denial, lies to loved ones, and fear. Unfortunately, Mohammed Ahmed Ali’s coming-out story had the added stress of fleeing Somalia for the United States. On August 7, 2017, a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Ali’s petition to review two adverse orders by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Ali v. Sessions, 2017 WL 3381895, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 14641 (6th Cir. 2017). Ali challenged the BIA’s dismissal of his appeal from an Immigration Judge’s (IJ) denial of his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention against Torture (CAT). He also challenged the denial of his motion for reconsideration or reopening to a three-member panel of the BIA.
Ali is a Somali citizen who was detained on November 16, 2015, for entering the United States with a fake passport and no other identification. The Sunni Muslim man was 28 years old at the time, and was previously married to a Somali woman. While detained, Ali told authorities that he fled Somalia after he had sexual intercourse with Noor Amed, a male friend, while they were intoxicated. The men’s families, tribal elders, and religious leaders then decided to kill Ali for violating their Islamic faith. While recounting his escape, Ali also told authorities that it was the first time he had sexual relations with another man, that he was not gay, and that he liked both men and women.