Malaysian court rules non-Muslims can use ‘Allah’

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A Malaysian court has ruled that non-Muslims can use the word “Allah” to refer to God, in a major ruling in a divisive issue for the Muslim-majority country. Two ethnic Malay political parties urged the government to challenge the ruling. The plaintiff’s lawyer says the High Court deemed a 35-year-old ban on the usage of Allah and three other Arabic words by Christian publications unconstitutional. The government has previously said Allah, a Malay word derived from Arabic, should be reserved exclusively for Muslims to avoid confusion that could lead them to convert to other religions. The high court’s ruling comes seven years after the country’s top court rejected a challenge by the Roman Catholic Church and upheld the ban.