Christians can call God Allah, Malaysian court rules

Christians have the constitutional right to use the word Allah in reference to God, a Malaysian court ruled today.

A Malaysian government ban on non-Muslims using the word was illegal, the Kuala Lumpur high court said.

A Christian group hailed the ruling as a victory for freedom of religion in the Muslim-majority country, where the issue has become a symbol of religious grievances of minority groups.

The court was ruling on a lawsuit filed by Malaysia’s Roman Catholic Church in late 2007 after the government blocked non-Muslims from translating God as Allah in their literature.

Authorities have insisted that Allah is an Islamic word that should be used exclusively by Muslims to refer to God, and its use by other religions would be misleading.

Allah is an Arabic word, which translates as God.

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