Malaysia court dismisses Catholic appeal to use Allah

Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:37am EST
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KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia's Federal Court dismissed on Wednesday the Catholic Church's application to review a judgment that prevented a Christian publication from using the word Allah to refer to God, ending a legal battle that began in 2007.

The Church's bid was unanimously rejected because the threshold required for a review was not met, the judges said.

Conservative Muslim groups declared victory when the nation's top court last year upheld a ruling preventing usage of the word Allah in the Malay language section of the Church's weekly newspaper.

A court had previously ruled that the word was exclusive to majority Malay Muslims. Christians make up about 9 percent of Malaysia's 29 million people.

Last January, religious authorities in Selangor state seized over 300 Malay Bibles from a Christian group, saying they acted on a decree by the sultan of that state forbidding non-Muslims from using Allah.

(Reporting By Trinna Leong; Editing by Praveen Menon)