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BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - Slovakia's Jewish community protested Friday a proposal to remove a law punishing Holocaust denial from the country's penal code.

The law was included in the penal code in 2001, but the Justice Ministry has proposed that it be removed as part of the code's comprehensive amendment, arguing it limits freedom of speech.

The plan, which needs to be approved by parliament, has stirred criticism throughout Slovakia.

The Central Union of Jewish Religious Communities said Friday it was "publicly expressing deep concern" over the plan.

"An institution which should initiate the fight against the growing influence of fascist ideologies looks for reasons to rescind anti-fascist legislation, arguing with pseudo-human phrases about freedom of expression," the group said, adding the ministry's arguments are 'misleading'.

The group appealed to Slovakia's lawmakers "not to help legalize neo-Nazi activities" and urged them to vote against the proposal.

Some lawmakers have already submitted a proposal which seeks to return the law back to the penal code.

The amendment of Slovakia's penal code is to be voted on in parliament next month.