Former Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was reportedly denied a U.S. Visa after being booked to speak at two New England area events.
The now infamous ‘Trump Ban’ has reportedly prevented the former president from travelling to the Cambridge, Massachusetts to deliver a keynote speech at the 9th Annual African Development Conference at Harvard University; as well as South Portland, Maine to speak at the World Affairs Council of Maine in a presentation titled “Somalia the Crossroads: Opportunities + Challenges Post-Civil War”.
The cancellation was announced by the World Affairs Council of Maine who posted in a since-deleted post on their facebook page and on their website.
“World Affairs Council of Maine regrets to share that H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was denied visa issuance by the U.S. Consulate in Somalia under Executive Order 13769, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States. Somalia is one of the six Muslim countries included in the travel ban. President Hassan is therefore unable to present as Keynote Speaker at Harvard’s African Development Conference this weekend or at the World Affairs Council’s event on Tuesday.”
Although the World Affairs Council of Maine said Mohamud was banned under Executive Order 13769, that Executive Order was revoked and replaced by Executive Order 13780 and further expanded by Presidential Proclamation 9645 which explicitly restricts travel from eight nations, six of them predominantly Muslim: Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, North Korea and Venezuela.
The African Development Conference has not announced a cancellation of their event, and at the time of writing, their event is still scheduled.
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has visited the U.S. several times while serving as the President of Somalia, including visits to the U.N General Assembly in New York and the White House.
This now-deleted Facebook post by the World Affairs Council of Maine announces the cancellation of his appearance as the keynote speaker at their event. The group says the former president was denied a visa under the controversial ‘Trump Ban’. PHOTO: TWITTER ( @AbdisalamAato )
The VISA rejection comes weeks after another high-profile African dignitary was allegedly denied entry into the U.S.
Earlier this month, several African media outlets were reporting that Liberia’s Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor was either denied or given offered a ‘restricted visa’ to attend the UN’s 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York.
The United States Embassy has previously said that the country’s “privacy laws” forbids it from discussing visa and immigration issues with anyone other than the person concerned.
“U.S. privacy laws prohibit us from discussing any person’s visa application status, immigration status, or citizenship status with anyone other than the person in question,” the embassy said in a release.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet His Excellency Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, and Mrs. Qamar Ali Omar, in the Blue Room during a U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit dinner at the White House, Aug. 5, 2014. [Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon]
Somalia’s current President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo who holds dual U.S. and Somali citizenship has insisted that he wants Somalia off the immigration ban. In an interview with VOA a day after his election he said he would work to convey the message.
“It is part of my responsibility to talk about this issue with the U.S. government by conveying our message to the president and his government that the Somali people are really good, hard-working people,” Farmajo said. “They raise their families in the United States. So we will see if he can change that policy and exclude Somalis from that list.”
US visa denials for African invitees have forced the cancellation of a US-Africa Energy Summit scheduled for later this last September.
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud joins a growing list of foreign dignitaries that were reportedly denied entry into the U.S in 2018 that include Kosovo Prime Minister M Ramush Haradinaj, Serbian General Ljubisa Dikovic, and Argentine Ex-Foreign Minister Hector Timerman.