Islamic states have fired back at a United Nations- appointed special expert on freedom of expression, who said that speech should not be restricted in order to protect religion. "Restrictions should never be used to protect particular institutions or abstract notions, concepts or beliefs, including religious ones," wrote Frank La Rue in his report presented to the Human Rights Council, which started its 11th regular session this week.

He was engaged in an open discussion on his report with diplomats on Tuesday and Wednesday.

La Rue, a Guatemalan human rights jurist, said restrictions to prevent intolerance should only be applied to "advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence."

He also called on the council, and the UN General Assembly in New York, not to adopt resolutions that support the idea of defamation of religion.

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