Harry Potter 'is work of the devil' and should be banned in schools, religious parents say

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsWarner Bros. Pictures

Make-believe child wizard Harry Potter glorifies witchcraft, according to a group of religious parents who want JK Rowling's creation banned in state schools, a government education tsar claims.

Tom Bennett told an audience at London's City Hall in October that some parents from an evangelical Christian or Muslim background had raised concerns over the magical nature of the hugely successful children's stories.

"Harry Potter deals with the occult. There are many parents who are uncomfortable with their children discussing or looking at or reading anything at all to do with the occult," Bennett said.

"For many parents, particularly of evangelical Christian backgrounds and sometimes of some Muslim backgrounds, the occult is not something which exists in fiction and fantasy, the occult is something which is a very living – [a] live part of their faith."

The problem seems to occur when Religious Studies teachers use the books to illustrate a point, he explained.

"Teachers use all kinds of materials, including Harry Potter," he said. "I've seen RS [Religious Studies] teachers mention it as an example of a collection of books that makes a greater story arc (like the Bible), and children have made comments that they're not allowed to read them because they're the work of [the devil]."

In October it was reported that the actual use of witchcraft is on the rise in the UK.

One incident saw a young boy's parents throw him out of their home because they believed he was a "devil child," while another child had his face bitten by his mother, who believed he was a "witch possessed by evil spirits."

The claims were made by Project Violet, which is trying to stop faith-based abuse. The operation is run by London's Metropolitan Police.

They say 60 cases have been recorded this year as part of a worrying trend.

The news comes as the first trailer for the Harry Potter prequel, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, swept the internet this week.