A Roman Catholic newspaper cleared its first legal hurdle Monday in its fight against a Malaysian government ban on Christians using the word "Allah" as a synonym for "God."
High Court Judge Lau Bee Lan ruled that prosecutors' objection to a lawsuit by The Herald weekly was "without merit."
The judge said she will allow the paper - the main media organ of the Catholic church in Muslim-majority Malaysia - to contest the government ban in court.
The Herald is seeking to reverse a government order that prohibits the paper from using the word "Allah" as a synonym for God in its Malay-language section. The government says the word refers only to the Muslim God and its use by Christians might confuse Muslims. It has threatened to revoke the paper's publishing license if it defies the order.