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Malaysian Christians fail in final bid to challenge government ban on use of 'Allah'

Malaysia's top court has rejected an appeal by the Roman Catholic church to use the word "Allah" to refer to God, saying a government ban on its usage by non-Muslim faiths was lawful.

The Federal Court ruled Monday that the church's newspaper has no grounds to appeal a lower court decision last year that disallowed it from using "Allah" in its Malay-language weekly publication. The decision was agreed to by four of the seven judges on the panel.

The Catholic church said the ruling failed to consider the fundamental rights of minorities. It said it may ask the court to review its own decision.

The government says "Allah" should be exclusive for Muslims amid concern its use by others would confuse Muslims and be used to convert them.