Church school bans Harry Potter books

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The Independent Online

A church primary school has banned the bestselling Harry Potter books from its library because their tales of witchcraft and wizardry run contrary to the Bible's teachings.

Children at St Mary's Island Church of England School near Chatham, Kent, will only be able to read J K Rowling's three books about the young wizard in religious education lessons.

Carol Rookwood, the head, has ruled the book "inappropriate" for the school's 103 children because they portrayed witches and wizards as "imaginary, cuddly and fun".

She said: "As a Church of England-aided primary school Christianity is very central to what we do in school and our teaching. The Bible is very clear and consistent from Genesis to Revelations that wizards and wizardry, devils and demons are real and they do exist. They are powerful and they are dangerous and God's people have nothing to do with them. That's our base line."

The Harry Potter books made J K Rowling Britain's top- selling writer last year and won her the Whitbread children's book prize. But the books have attracted controversy in the United States, parents in South Carolina wanted them removed from schools because of their "dark and evil" content.

Mrs Rookwood insisted the school was not singling out Harry Potter, but admitted that classics such as The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis were acceptable.

She said: "It is not just books by one author, but a range of books, videos and TV programmes that portray witches and wizards as fantasy, imaginary, fun and harmless."