Catholic priests burn Harry Potter books in Poland

The Harry Potter series of books spins an epic tale of good and evil focused on the adventures of the eponymous bespectacled young wizard. (AFP)
Updated 01 April 2019

Catholic priests burn Harry Potter books in Poland

  • ‘We obey the Word,’ priests said in a Facebook post showing photographs of the public book burning
  • ‘It’s hard for me to believe that we’re so backward!’

WARSAW: Catholic priests in the northern Polish city of Koszalin burned books they say are sacrilegious this weekend, including tomes from British author J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series of fantasy novels.
“We obey the Word,” priests said in a Facebook post showing photographs of the public book burning and quoting Biblical passages from the book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament.
One passage exhorting believers to destroy the enemies of God includes the passage “burn their idols in the fire.”
The post shows three priests carrying a basket of books and other items including an African-styled face mask through a church to an outside fire pit.
Photographs show priests saying prayers over the fire pit, where other items including a ‘Hello Kitty’ umbrella and a Hindu religious figurine, are also burning.
The Facebook page belongs to the “SMS from Heaven” Catholic evangelical foundation set up to spread Christian message via mobile phone text messages.
“I’d like to believe this is a joke... Seriously? Are people burning fantasy literature in the 21st century in some kind of sick ritual?!” one Facebook user said in a comment underneath.
“It’s hard for me to believe that we’re so backward!” they added.
Launched in 1997, the Harry Potter series of books spins an epic tale of good and evil focused on the adventures of the eponymous bespectacled young wizard as he struggles against the dark wizard Lord Voldemort.
It has sometimes drawn criticism from religious and conservative circles for what they say is its focus on witchcraft.
In recent months, Poland’s influential Roman Catholic church has been struggling to deal with the fallout of revelations about pedophilia among priests that are unprecedented in this overwhelmingly Catholic country.
Last month, the Polish episcopate admitted for the first time that nearly 400 of its clergy had sexually abused children and minors over the last three decades.
That reflected the findings published in February by a charity focused on sex abuse in the church.


‘Corona cake’ spreading fast in Gaza

Updated 03 April 2020

‘Corona cake’ spreading fast in Gaza

  • The head of the Al-Nada bakery in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza has created a ‘corona cake’ depicting a woman wearing a blue face mask
  • He first posted the design on social media and now dozens of people are ordering them each day

KHAN YUNIS, Palestine: As he watched the world trying to raise awareness about the new coronavirus and convince people to stay at home, Palestinian baker Eyad Abu Rezqa cooked up an idea.
The head of the Al-Nada bakery in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza has created a ‘corona cake’ depicting a woman wearing a blue face mask, aiming to remind people of the importance of social distancing.
He first posted the design on social media and now dozens of people are ordering them each day in the impoverished Palestinian enclave, he said.
“Straight away it got great interest, customers starting saying ‘I want that cake’,” Abu Rezqa told AFP.
“Every day our clients’ demand for the mask cake is increasing.”
He stressed he was not belittling the risk of the deadly disease which has killed more than 50,000 people but trying to keep spirits up while promoting awareness.
So far Gaza has 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19, all of whom are in isolation, according to health authorities in the Hamas-run strip.
Like much of the world, authorities have put in place strict social distancing rules to try to prevent contagion but have not yet closed all non-essential businesses.
The staff making the cakes are wearing protective clothing, Abu Rezqa pointed out.