Malaysia gov't wins right to appeal case against Roman Catholic officials over use of 'Allah'

Malaysia's government has won the right to appeal a court ruling that allows the country's non-Muslim minority to use the word "Allah" to refer to God.

Appeal hearings are scheduled to start Sept. 10 to resolve the politically sensitive dispute that triggered attacks on Malaysian churches and other places of worship more than three years ago.

The government insists "Allah" is an Islamic word and that its use by others would confuse Muslims.

A nearly 6-year-old court dispute over the issue stems from efforts by the newspaper of the Roman Catholic Church in Malaysia to use "Allah" in its Malay-language publication.

Malaysia's Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the government has the right to challenge a 2009 verdict by a lower court that permitted the newspaper to use "Allah."