Apr 10, 2017

Religious group moves to Bohemia after conflicts in Germany

10 APRIL 2017

The Twelve Tribes religious group, infamous for its four-year-old scandal over an alleged maltreatment of children in Germany, their homeland, has moved to central Bohemia and settled on the outskirts of the village of Mšecké Žehrovice, daily Mladá fronta Dnes (MfD) writes yesterday.

Prague, April 8 (CTK) - The Twelve Tribes religious group, infamous for its four-year-old scandal over an alleged maltreatment of children in Germany, their homeland, has moved to central Bohemia and settled on the outskirts of the village of Msecke Zehrovice, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes today.

Before, a large part of the community lived in Germany where they faced problems with the authorities, the paper writes.

Members of the community refused to send their children to school, which is unlawful in Germany. Finally, the state permitted home schooling to them, but suspicion emerged that the people beat their children for failing to learn their lessons.

The situation peaked in 2013 when the German authorities took 40 children away from the group over maltreatment and a court in Augsburg sentenced the responsible teacher to two years in prison.

Immediately after the raid, a part of the community moved to the Czech Republic, and the rest followed in late 2016 and early this year. They joined the Twelve Tribes Czech community established some ten years ago, the daily writes.

The Czech community is led by Ales Heuler, nicknamed Alon, who gained meadows, fields and several houses within the post-communist restitution process, MfD writes.

The German newcomers welcomed it that home schooling is far from rare in the Czech Republic and the Czech approach to child punishment is more lenient than that of Germans, the daily writes.

Twelve Tribes are easy to distinguish from the rest of the locals by their clothing. They say they adhere to an alternative lifestyle and can support themselves by producing and growing all they need, the paper writes.

They say they do not apply other than "old traditional" methods of farming and crafts, but this seems to be their romantic dream rather reality, judging by the modern machines they use, such as cars, tractors and excavators, the daily continues.

They have even installed solar panels on a house roof, it adds.

The community follows strict rules. They call the life under one roof "a grape." Several families live in each of the local houses owned by the community. Single persons each have a single room in the house.

Everybody meets for prayers in the mornings and evenings. All earned money goes to common coffers, from which the community pays everything as needed.

They say their faith is derived from early Christianity. Following the first Christians' example, they mark Shabbat and important Jewish feasts, the paper writes.

Asked by reporters, Heuler would not say how strong the community is. Mayor Romany Metelkova estimated their number at 40. They include eight Czechs with official permanent residence in the village, the rest are foreigners registered at the foreigner police, she told the paper.

She said the social authority has been checking the group regularly and has met with no problems so far. The children have been regularly examined by teachers so that they can advance to a higher school grade.

Most people in Msecke Zehrovice like their new neighbours, from whom they bio food, vegetables, fruits and pastry.

"They also make excellent cider and ice cream, I have never tried any better," a local resident said, referring to Twelve Tribes.

He said he cannot complain about them as neighbours.

"They work through the day and they go to bed early in the evening. They are ideal neighbours, causing no problems," he told the daily.

Metelkova praised their children as very obedient.

http://praguemonitor.com/2017/04/10/mfd-religious-group-moves-bohemia-after-conflicts-germany

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