Tough stance on literary magic

13th April 2007 at 01:00
It is childish, we know, but when there is political debate on sex education in Germany we want to hear from parliamentary member Julia Bonk.

Ms Bonk is education spokes-man for the Left Party in the Saxony region and became the country's youngest MP two years ago, at the age of 18.

Recently she has urged headteachers not to pander to the wishes of those who want to object to matters of school policy on religious grounds.

"Otherwise parents could withdraw their children from swimming lessons or sex-instruction classes," she said.

But what sparked Ms Bonk's ire?

None other than Harry Potter. Or, to be exact, the decision by Chemnitz grammar school in Saxony to drop books about the boy wizard from a lesson examining tales of magic.

Two parents complained about the books' "unchristian values", so the school replaced them with a popular German children's bestseller, Rennschwein Rudi Ruessell (Rudi Ruessell the Racing Pig).

Ms Bonk was unimpressed. She described the school's climb-down as an "act of self-censorship" which she said "positively encouraged religious fundamentalists".

She has warned headteachers to resist such demands in case Grimms' Fairy Tales, which are full of witches, goblins and ghosts, are banned next.

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