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June 30, 2015 / 13 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Quebec’

Montreal Hate Crime Probe Starts With Death Threats and Bullets

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Montreal police have launched a probe into what they are calling a hate crime after residents of an apartment house found their cars damaged and death threats in envelopes with a bullet for each. The ethnicity and religion of the owners of the targeted vehicles was not released.

The incident, which occurred in the parking garage beneath an apartment building on Côte St. Luc Road, was clearly directed at the Jewish community, however — the neighborhood in which the incident took place is known as a “Jewish area.” The vandalism was discovered late Monday night when the smoke alarm in the garage suddenly activated.

Four of the vehicles were branded with swastikas, albeit painted backwards, sprayed in red paint on the hoods. Five of the cars “had envelopes on them, and on the white envelopes there were swastikas on them,” said a resident in the building who requested anonymity. CBC News agreed not to reveal his family name. “The swastikas were huge. They covered pretty much the majority of the hood,” he said. His neighbor’s car had a smashed windshield. On the ground in front of the car lay a hatchet.

“I’ve lived in Montreal my whole life… I’ve never seen this before first-hand, never been a victim of it and just to have it happen literally in your own home, it just left me speechless,” he told CBC Radio One.

One of the envelopes contained a bullet together with a threatening note, another resident told CBC News. Police collected the rest of the envelopes as evidence, before they were opened. “I’m just shocked. This is a hate crime and you never expect it to happen in your community,” the resident said.

“While the intent of the perpetrator cannot be absolutely determined at this time, given what is happening globally, the fact that swastikas are involved, that there were threatening notes and this is a Jewish area, leads one to understand that this was not just an act of simple vandalism but a crime targeting the Jewish community,” said Rabbi Reuben Poupko, chairman of the security committee of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).

Although police have not released all the details, Poupko told the Canadian Jewish News on Tuesday the notes were attached to all of the damaged vehicles. “They said something to the effect that ‘this bullet is for you,’ “ he told the paper.

The garage has no security surveillance cameras and there are no suspects, police said. Anyone with information is asked to call 514-393-1133.

Canada’s Harper Govt to Introduce Anti-Terror Legislation by Weekend

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper’s Conservative government is set to introduce new anti-terrorism legislation by the end of this week, following the recent steps taken by some nations in Europe.

The new laws would enhance the powers of police and security agencies while restricting movement of suspected extremists. It would be illegal to promote terrorism under the new laws as well, Harper told participants at an event in Ottawa on Sunday.

“These measures are designed to help authorities stop planned attacks, get threats off our streets, criminalize the promotion of terrorism and prevent terrorists from traveling and recruiting others,” he told supporters. “It will contain a range of measures to ensure that our police and security agencies have the tools they need to meet evolving threats and keep Canadians safe.”

Harper added that although there would be changes in Canada’s ‘no-fly’ policy, making it tougher for suspected terrorists to board planes, civil liberties would not be curbed.

“To be clear, in doing so, we shall be safeguarding our constitutional rights of speech, of association, of religion and all the rest,” he said.

Last autumn there was a series of terror attacks on Canadian soldiers in Ottawa and Quebec that shocked and horrified the public, which until then had not considered that terror could arrive in their land too. Two soldiers were killed within one week.

Lev Tahor Sect Trafficked In Human Cargo, Documents Show

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Search warrants unsealed in Quebec allege that the Haredi Lev Tahor sect trafficked in human cargo and committed other abuses.

The documents also reveal that Interpol and Israel helped build the criminal case against the group before its 250 members fled to Guatemala in March with leader Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans.

The list of charges in the warrant issued in January include detailed allegations by former Lev Tahor member, including Helbrans’ own brother Nathan, of physical force, use of psychotropic drugs, forced marriage of juveniles and sexual assault, according to Canadian reports.

Helbrans founded Lev Tahor in Israel in the late 1980s and ran it both there and in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he was convicted of kidnapping, and then for a decade near Montreal.

Canada granted him asylum in 2003 based on his claimed fear of being persecuted if sent back to Israel.

In November, the group fled Quebec for the adjacent province of Ontario, and four months later for Guatemala in the wake of the ongoing investigation by youth protection officials and other authorities.

This month, Lev Tahor left the village of San Juan la Laguna for the Guatemala City capita amid reports of rising tensions with local Catholics.

The remaining 30 Lev Tahor members who had remained in Canada also reportedly left Ontario for Guatemala this month to reunite with the rest of the sect.

Canada Arrests Seven Lev Tahor Sect Members Arrested In Raid

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

A dozen Canadian border security officials raided the compound of the fringe Haredi Orthodox sect Lev Tahor Wednesday and arrested seven members believed to be in violation of immigration laws.

Two families in the Lev Tahor community are at the center of an ongoing child custody case, including one family who fled to Guatemala, the Canadian Press reported.

One Lev Tahor man was seen being driven away in handcuffs. One witness said she saw immigration officials trying to enter a building where Lev Tahor children are believed to be housed. “I can hear the children crying and praying,” the source said.

Last month, 14 children and several Lev Tahor adults fled Canada ahead of an appeal of an Ontario court order mandating that the children be placed in the care of children’s aid in Quebec. Eight of the children made it to Trinidad and Tobago, where they were taken into custody and returned to Canada. Two more children taken into custody in Calgary also were removed from the sect.

The rest are in limbo in Guatemala, their original destination.

This week, a lawyer for one Lev Tahor family removed himself from the case.

About 250 members of the community fled Quebec last fall just before officials could seize some of the children. Child welfare officials said they had evidence of abuse, squalid living conditions, underage marriages and substandard education.

Lev Tahor members maintain they are being persecuted for their strict religious beliefs.

Canadian Judge Orders Law Enforcement to Apprehend Lev Tahor Children

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

A Canadian judge has ordered child protection officials to use law enforcement agencies to apprehend 14 children in the haredi Orthodox sect Lev Tahor after most of them fled the country.

On Wednesday, the judge was supposed to hear an appeal of an earlier ruling to seize the children and return them to Quebec to be placed in foster care. No members of Lev Tahor showed up, and reports surfaced that several sect members had fled to Guatemala and Trinidad and Tobago.

The judge ordered child protection officials in Chatham-Kent, Ontario to use the resources of local, provincial and federal police, and the Canada Border Services Agency, to locate the children and return them to Canada to be placed in the temporary care of Chatham-Kent Children’s Services. The order applies to three families.

Police said that 12 of the children under the order have left the country. The location of the other two remains unknown.

Earlier this week, authorities in Trinidad and Tobago stopped nine sect members of the sect — three adults and six children — at the airport as they were en route to Guatemala. They were offered a flight back to Toronto but refused, insisting they go to Guatemala.

According to a report in Trinidad media, the nine are “not detained” and neither are they deemed “fugitives.” They were stopped because of “inconsistencies” in their answers to questions and have hired a local lawyer, the report said. They remain at the airport, having spurned offers of a hotel.

Canadian embassy officials met Thursday with authorities from Trinidad’s security ministry, which handles immigration.

Another six children are already in Guatemala, reported the Montreal Gazette.

In an interview Thursday with the Gazette, Canadian youth protection official Denis Baraby said he’s concerned the remaining members of Lev Tahor are planning another exodus and that the rest of the children have to be seized soon.

“I think the community is preparing a mass move,” Baraby said. “If we want to protect the children that are in the community, we need to start working on the exit of the 114 other children.”

Some 250 members of Lev Tahor fled Quebec in November just ahead of a court order to seize 14 children and place them in foster care. Authorities said they had evidence of physical abuse, neglect, underage marriage and the forced ingestion of drugs.

The Lev Tahor settled in southwest Ontario, where the Quebec order was upheld last month. The affected families were told not to leave Canada pending the appeal. Baraby said the adults who took the children out of the country could be charged with kidnapping.

Police Allege Lev Tahor Abuse, Confinement, Forced Marriages (Video)

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

Recently released police documents the ongoing investigation into the Haredi group Lev Tahor include allegations of sexual abuse, detention, and beatings with crowbars, belts, whips and a coat hanger, according to the Toronto Star.

None of the material evidence reported in this report has been reviewed in court, as part of an indictment. So far, the discussion over the fate of the group has been conducted largely between the courts and child welfare agencies.

The redacted police documents outline information used to obtain search warrants executed in January on properties belonging to Lev Tahor families in both Ontario and Quebec. They chronicle allegations describing a community whose women and children live in a tightly controlled environment with strictly enforced rules and punishment.

The documents include interviews with members of the community, social workers and unnamed witnesses dating back to 2012. The names of any children mentioned are protected by a publication ban.

Nachman Helbrans, the son of sect leader Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans, told the Star in a phone interview the allegations are untrue and the result of a campaign being waged against them by former members.

“Nothing is done by force in our community. Nothing, nothing,” Helbrans insisted. “If this is serious allegations, how come in April 2012 they didn’t come one time to my house?”

“It’s against all the way of life in Lev Tahor to use force for any small or big issue. No one dreams about using force,” he said.

According to Digital Journal, a man named Adam Brudzewsky who spent two years living among the Lev Tahor group in Quebec, is the source of testimony linking them to the alleged crimes.

Brudzewsky, in his late 20s, Danish-born, has been described as someone trying to expose the Lev Tahor for their abuse of children who may also be a liar and mentally unstable.

Back in November, Brudzewsky told a Quebec court a disturbing tale of the two years he spent living with Lev Tahor, including his arranged marriage to a 15-year-old girl, the forced removals of children from their parents and a cult of personality surrounding the group’s spiritual leader.

The testimony added weight to the findings of child-protection workers who had been conducting a three-month probe of Lev Tahor.

That probe was cut short after some 200 Members of Lev Tahor fled Quebec to Toronto in November, reports indicate, where the Chatham-Kent child protective services have been keeping watch on the group. A judge had ordered 14 of the children to be placed in foster care in Quebec for at least a month.

Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans, who was convicted of kidnapping a young boy in 1994 in a U.S. court and served a two-year prison term before being deported to Israel, expressed rage at the authorities in Quebec, according to the Toronto Sun. Helbrans accused judges, political leaders, police and child protective services in Quebec of being bigots and antisemites, comparing them to Nazi war criminals. Here’s a video published last Friday, February 14, showing Helbrans before his own final departure From Quebec. Warning – the video and sound qualities are inconsistent.



In this video, shot in November 2013, Yoel Weingarten, a member of Lev Tahor, defended his community, accusing Israeli non-religious family members of being behind the persecution of his community. Weingarten also responds to allegation of neglect, and poor hygiene.



According to JTA, police search warrants paint an alarming picture of life in the close-knit, reclusive community. One man was quoted as saying he was diagnosed with a personality disorder and forced to take medications. Another member told police about beatings with sticks, crowbars, whips and belts. “He was forced to take pills during meal times three times a day,” the warrants state.

A witness (most likely Brudzewsky) said he saw a woman struck in the face because she refused to wear the burqa-like outfit for women that has led some media to deride the group as the Jewish Taliban.

Girls who were 13 or 14 were disciplined by being held in house basements while girls who were 14 and 15 were married to adult men, the police documents said. Children were also taken from their biological parents if the sect’s leader deemed they were not taught properly, the document added.

“There are about 20-30 children who have changed families. [A person who spoke to authorities] said that some children adapt well and return to their families but that others are upset, cry a lot,” the warrants state.

Children from Haredi Sect Must Return To Quebec, Judge Rules

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

An Ontario judge ruled Monday that children from a fringe Haredi sect whose members fled Quebec while the community was being investigated by social services should be returned to the province.

The court upheld a Quebec order to place 13 children from the Lev Tahor sect into temporary foster care, The Canadian Press reported, but the judge placed a 30-day stay on the order to give the families time to appeal.

The children, who live outside Chatham, Ontario, about two hours southwest of Toronto, were ordered into temporary foster care by a Quebec court in November.

Authorities in Quebec, where sect members had lived north of Montreal for several years, said they had evidence of neglect, psychological abuse, poor dental and physical health, and a substandard education regime in the community.

The 13 children belong to three families. A publication ban prohibits identifying them, and the community denies all allegations and has said it is the victim of a Zionist smear effort.

Last week, Quebec police, with the assistance of local officers, raided two homes in the Lev Tahor community in Ontario. Rabbi Nachman Helbrans, son of sect founder Shlomo Helbrans, said the search may have been an attempt to find evidence of illegal child marriages.

A former sect member testified in Quebec that he had personally witnessed seven underage marriages.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/children-from-haredi-sect-must-return-to-quebec-judge-rules/2014/02/04/

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