Warning over extreme Jewish sect fundraising in London

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Warning over extreme Jewish sect fundraising in London

The claims, not yet verified by Jewish News, have been circulated by a group helping survivors of the Lev Tahor sect, whose jailed leaders were convicted of child kidnapping.

A group set up to help survivors of the Lev Tahor sect, whose leaders are in jail in the United States after being convicted of child kidnapping, claim this to be evidence of the group's presence in London.
A group set up to help survivors of the Lev Tahor sect, whose leaders are in jail in the United States after being convicted of child kidnapping, claim this to be evidence of the group's presence in London.

London’s strictly-Orthodox Jewish community were this week being warned that members of an extreme Jewish sect are currently in the British capital to raise funds. 

The photographic claims, which have not yet been verified by Jewish News, are being widely circulated online by a campaign group set up to help survivors of the Lev Tahor sect, whose leaders are currently in jail in the United States after being convicted of child kidnapping.

Hundreds of members of the anti-Zionist sect have been disbursed around the world in recent years, the group having settled – or sought to settle – in countries such as Guatemala, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Mexico, and Iran.

Those who have managed to escape have told of child sexual abuse, physical abuse, and a custom of arranged marriage for Jewish girls as young as 14, who are typically dressed head-to-toe in dark clothing from the age of three.

Eight years ago, Canadian authorities sought to place the young children of Lev Tahor members under the foster care of Canadian Jewish Orthodox families, after police raids found up to five children per room, sleeping on urine-soaked mattresses. Several had fungal infections.

Members’ prayers last twice as long as the Charedi norm, they adhere to an even stricter kosher food interpretation, and do not let their children attend school. Whenever a host country’s child safeguarding authorities begin investigating, they move to a different country.

A spokesperson for the US-based watch-group Lev Tahor Survivors said: “Numerous members have been convicted in the United States and the cult is actively trying to recruit to make up for the losses.”

Posting photos of two unidentified men in London, with past photos appearing to link them to the sect, the group said: “Two fundraisers are currently in England using heartfelt stories to collect money that will go directly to the leadership and not to the families starving and suffering under their authority… If you see them, remember that they are victims and should be treated kindly.”

Lev Tahor Survivors describes itself as “a group of volunteers focused on the rescue and support of the current victims and survivors of the Lev Tahor cult,” adding: “Our goals are to end the abuse, hold the offenders accountable, dismantle the harmful cult, and assist those who need help leaving.”

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