Police Documents Allege Abuse, Forced Marriage in 'Jewish Taliban' Sect

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Under-aged girls were forced to marry older members of the ultra-Orthodox Lev Tahor sect in Canada, newly unsealed Quebec police documents claim.

According to the documents, which were unsealed on Friday on the request of several Canadian media outlets, children were brought from other countries into Canada to be married with members of the Lev Tahor sect. The Globe and Mail, a Toronto-based publication, reported that the documents are part of applications for search warrants.

The documents detail allegations of assault and sexual abuse against members of the sect, claiming one young woman said she was hit with a belt and a coat hanger and another told nurses at a hospital she was beaten by her brother, sexually abused by her father and forced to marry a man twice her at the age of 15, the report said.

The documents indicate that Quebec police stated investigating the Lev Tahor community almost two years ago, according to the report.

Court papers made public last month said children at the cult were forced to take psychotropic drugs, and many of the girls were suffering from neglect.

Earlier this month, Quebec police raided apartments occupied by members of the ultra-Orthodox Lev Tahor sect north of Chatham, Ontario. The police would not comment on the raid because the investigation is ongoing.

The sect of some 50 families relocated from Quebec to Ontario in November fearing that welfare authorities were about to remove several children. A judge in Ontario has upheld a Quebec youth court ruling ordering the removal of 14 children belonging to group.

The sect, known as the "Jewish Taliban" for their dress and anti-Zionist attitude, is led by Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans, who served two years in jail for conspiracy to commit kidnapping. He brought the community to Canada from Monsey, New York, after receiving refugee status there on the claim that he faced persecution back in Israel.

In 2011, two sisters from Beit Shemesh, ages 13 and 15, had been sent to the Lev Tahor community in Canada by their newly religious parents. After an intervention by their grandmother, the girls were detained at Montreal Airport and returned to Israel three days later.

Family belonging to the Haredi 'Lev Tahor' group, October 2011.Credit: Nir Keidar

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