US' next target religious freedom?

Feb 04, 2017, 09:29 IST | Agencies

If such an executive order is signed, organisations may be given wide latitude in denying jobs on the basis of religious beliefs. Pic/AP
If such an executive order is signed, organisations may be given wide latitude in denying jobs on the basis of religious beliefs. Pic/AP

Washington: The Trump administration is planning another controversial executive order, which will provide individuals and organisations the option to deny services, employment and other benefits to people based on religion, according to media reports.

The draft order — Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom — lays out many of the proposals that conservative Christians have been requesting for years, including legal protections for organisations that claim religious objections to providing a range of services, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"Such an order, if signed, would likely plunge President Donald Trump into a debate over religious freedom, gay rights and reproductive rights, which has churned through states and courts for years — most recently with the disputes over transgender people's use of bathrooms," the report said.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, however, said "Administration has no such plan to issue a directive on this issue."

Silicon Valley's might
Meanwhile, IT giant Microsoft appealed to the Trump administration to ease travel restrictions for its employees hit by the immigration ban, saying these individuals are not people trying to avoid detection.

Also lending weight to Silicon Valley's protest against the ban was Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who quit Trump's council of business leaders.

The news coincided with the report that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and his staff had donated $1.5 million to rights group American Civil Liberties Union to fight the ban.

Adviser cites fake attack
Earlier, Kellyanne Conway, a senior advisor to Trump, defended his travel ban by citing a fake terror attack. In an interview, she blamed two Iraqi refugees for the 'Bowling Green massacre'. However, there has never been a terrorist attack in Bowling Green, Kentucky, carried out either by Iraqi refugees or anyone else, the Washington Post said.

52%
No. of Americans who want Barack Obama back as Prez, as per a survey by Public Policy Polling

New Yorker, VF pull
out of WHCA party The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, which host two of the marquee events of White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) dinner weekend, will not be participating in this year's events. Vanity Fair traditionally co-hosts the über-exclusive April 29 after-party with Bloomberg. Asked for the reason behind the cancellation, Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, said "Trump", and "the fish".

Iran sanctions  being prepared
The Trump regime is preparing to levy new sanctions on Iran, in the first punitive action since it put Iran "on notice" after it test-fired a ballistic missile. It also warned North Korea of an "effective and overwhelming" response if it chose to use nuclear weapons.

Pak likely to come up on ban list soon
Sources close to the Trump administration say that it is only a matter of time before Pakistan is included on the immigration ban list. They say Trump is "keenly aware" of who gave Osama Bin Laden shelter.

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