January 22, 2015 / 1:00 AM / 3 years ago

Malaysia court dismisses Catholic appeal to use Allah

Muslim demonstrators chant slogans outside Malaysia's Court of Appeal in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur, March 5, 2014.Samsul Said

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

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