A US travel policy that allows businesses to refuse to do business with people based on their religious beliefs has sparked a backlash in Massachusetts, and some business owners fear it will cost thousands more jobs in the state.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has ordered that all businesses must provide reasonable accommodation to people on religious grounds, which includes refusing to serve them.
Businesses are also required to provide a reasonable accommodation for employees.
The policy was introduced by President Donald Trump, who said he wanted to prevent the “Islamization” of the US, but the Trump administration later withdrew it after backlash.
The US has seen a sharp rise in attacks on Muslims in recent years, with at least nine Islamic State-inspired attacks in 2017, more than triple the number in 2016.
“We have to fight to maintain our freedoms, to keep them from becoming a source of terrorism, and to prevent these types of hateful, dangerous ideologies from taking root in our country,” Baker said at a news conference on Friday.
He said he had asked the US Justice Department to look into the travel ban, and that he would be “totally prepared” to sue the US if it was not enforced.
Baker also signed a law to give the state the power to investigate whether businesses had discriminated against people based solely on their religion.