Malaysia's highest court has rejected a challenge to the ban on Christians using the word Allah to refer to their god, in a highly divisive legal case.
The case was brought by the Catholic Church, which sought to overturn a ban first put in place in 2007. But the Federal Court said an earlier ruling backing the ban was correct.
The case began over the use of Allah to refer to the Christian god in the Catholic Church's Malay-language paper. Christians argue they have used the word, which entered Malay from Arabic, to refer to their god for centuries and that the ruling
violates their rights.
Malaysian authorities claim its use by Christians could confuse easily confused Muslims and lead some to convert to Christianity.
This ruling was handed down by a seven-member panel, which voted by 4-3 to dismiss the challenge.
Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew said he was greatly disappointed by the judgement which didn't touch on the fundamental rights of minorities .
Reports in Malaysian newspapers suggested the Church could call for a review of the decision.