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Malaysian Court Reserves Word 'Allah' for Muslims

Malaysia's Top Court Dismissed Catholic Church's Request on Use of 'Allah'

According to The Wall Street Journal, Malaysia's top court on Monday dismissed the Roman Catholic Church's request that it be allowed to appeal a ruling barring it from using "Allah" to refer to the Christian God in its newspaper.

The high-stakes case, which dates back seven years, has provoked strong feelings in the Muslim-majority country at a time when advocates of conservative Islam have been growing in influence.

The Catholic Church first brought a case in 2008 to try to overturn a determination by Malaysia's then-home minister, Syed Hamid Albar, the year before that prohibited the Herald newspaper from using the word "Allah" to refer to the Christian God and argued it should be used solely by Muslims.

 

Last October, the Court of Appeal overturned the lower court's ruling which said the Church had the constitutional right to use Allah. It ruled that the use of the word 'Allah' wasn't an integral part of the Christian faith and therefore overturned the lower court ruling which said the Herald had the constitutional right to use the word Allah.

"This ruling suggests that Malaysia is moving further away from its long-standing religious policy of moderation toward increasing Islamization of the society," Mr. Hiebert said. "It would appear that conservative Muslims are exerting greater influence over the country."

For more details please check The Wall Street Journal article