KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A Malaysian appeals court has upheld a government ban against using "Allah" to refer to God in non-Muslim faiths.
"Allah" is the Arabic word for God and is commonly used in the Malay language to refer to God. But the Malaysian government insists that "Allah" should be exclusively reserved for Muslims because of concerns it would confuse Muslims and could be used to convert them.
Conservative Malaysian Muslim groups hailed Monday's verdict as necessary to safeguard the sanctity of Islam. However, Roman Catholic church representatives said it violated the religious rights of minorities in a country where authorities have been accused of unfairly championing Islamic causes for political gain.