4 March 2014, TheWall Street Journal KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: The Catholic Church is gearing up for an expected tough fight Wednesday at Malaysia’s highest court when it argues for the right to appeal against a lower court decision banning it from using the word ‘Allah’ in its newspaper. The lower court ruled the word is exclusive to Muslims, who make up the majority of the country. The Church counters that it wants to use ‘Allah’ for its Malaysian Malay-speaking members, who for generations have used the word to refer to the Christian ‘God’.
Mr. Benjamin Dawson, a lawyer on the Church’s legal team told The Wall Street Journal that the key issues include whether the home minister had the power to ban the Church from using ‘Allah’ and whether his decision can be reviewed by the court system. “The central issue in this case is whether the fundamental liberties under the Malaysian Constitution are subject to Article 3(1), which provides that Islam is the official religion of the country,’ said Mr. Dawson.