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Church: Potter is Satanic.

Byline: DEBORAH SHELDON

AN American congregation are to hold a Harry Potter book bonfire on Sunday because they say the children's stories are an "abomination to God".

The books, about a teenage wizard, have come under fire in several US communities for supposedly encouraging Satanic thoughts in children.

The Christ Community Church in Alamogordo, New Mexico, is burning the novels as they "teach children to dabble in black magic and devil worship".

Pastor Jack Brock said: "These books encourage our youth to learn more about witches, warlocks and sorcerers. Those things are an abomination to God and to me.

"Harry Potter books are going to destroy the lives of many young people.''

Brock, 74, said the book burning was part of a determined effort to encourage Christians to remove everything from their homes that stops communication with God.

Even his Christmas Eve sermon was titled The Baby Jesus or Harry Potter? But Potter author JK Rowling laughed off the criticisms in a statement from her publishers.

She said: "I have met thousands of children now, and not one time has a child come up to me and said, 'Ms Rowling, I'm so glad I've read these books because now I want to be a witch'."

The books have topped bestseller lists worldwide and the movie Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone is a box office smash hit.

CAPTION(S):

WIZARD: Harry Potter
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 28, 2001
Words:232
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