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Extremist haredi Orthodox cult flees Quebec, bound for Iran

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(JTA) — Forty families belonging to an extremist haredi Orthodox cult fled their Quebec homes and are planning to go to Iran.

Members of the group, called Lev Tahor, or Pure Heart, left their homes on Tuesday out of fear that Canadian welfare authorities would take their children, the Times of Israel website reported Wednesday, citing an Israeli whose sister and eight children belong to the cult. The cult has been accused of neglecting and abusing its 137 children.

The members traveled to Ontario before the planned move to Iran, according to the Times of Israel.

The cult, led by Israeli Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans, reportedly uses extreme violence and mind control. Most of its members are Israeli-born with Canadian-born children.

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