In its reasons for launching the action, the Malaysian government claimed the use of the word “Allah” should be exclusively reserved for Muslims owing to concerns its use by other faiths could confuse Muslims and be used to convert them.
The Jakarta Post points out Malaysia’s Christian, Buddhist and Hindu minorities have often complained the government infringes their constitutional rights to practice religion freely.
It adds that Roman Catholic representatives say the ban is unreasonable because Christians who speak Malay have used “Allah” in their bibles, literature and songs, long before authorities sought to curb it.
Reverend Lawrence Andrew, the editor of The Herald, said he was “disappointed and dismayed” at the ruling and that he would appeal the decision.
He added: “It is a retrograde step in the development of law in relation to the fundamental liberty of religious minorities.”