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FBI Investigating Amish Beard-Cutting Attacks

Members of the Amish community in eastern Ohio are the subject of a federal investigation following a wave of Amish-on-Amish incidents, FBI spokeswoman Vicki Anderson confirmed to CNN Wednesday.

Five men have been arrested and charged with kidnapping and burglary stemming from an incident at the home of Myron and Arlene Miller in early October in which the group of men pulled Myron out of the home by his beard, held him down, and cut off large portions of the beard. An Amish man’s beard is a significant symbol of his faith.

According to Jefferson County Sheriff Fred J. Abdalla, the incident at the Millers’ home was one of a handful of incidents throughout several counties in which as many as 30 men and women carried out similar attacks.

Additional arrests stemming from the other attacks aren’t likely, Abdalla said, because the other victims have not pressed charges. It is Amish tradition to solve conflicts by means of their faith and church, without the involvement of law enforcement.

The perpetrators are believed to be followers of a breakaway Amish group led by Sam Mullet. Of the five that have been arrested, three are Mullet’s sons.

Local law enforcement officials and members of the Amish community believe Mullet has created a cult and is single-handedly behind the beard cutting incidents and other crimes in recent years.

Asked by CNN whether the accusations that he’s behind the beard incidents were true, Mullet responded by asking rhetorically, “Beard cutting is a crime, is it?” He then denied the allegations that he’s running a cult before dismissing CNN from his property.

(Source: CNN)

15 Responses

  1. Why is the FEDERAL Bureau of Investigation dealing with something in which no federal laws are involved and no state lines are being crossed? Frugality in government might be furthered with more respect for federalism and less duplication.

  2. The FBI has to deal with it, most likely because of jurisdiction and constitutional issues. The Amish are not officially under state or local police jurisdiction. The FBI is also involved because of the nature of general Amish crime committed.

  3. I wonder is beard cutting or hair cutting a crime (i.e. someone holds you down and shaves you or cuts your hair)?

    That would be assault.

    Why is the FEDERAL Bureau of Investigation dealing with . . .

    The story does mention there are other incidents. Perhaps those were over state lines. Besides, if civil rights were violated, that makes it federal.

  4. caution: be careful not to cut your son’s hair for his third birthday “chalaka” unless he first signs a consent form. You don’t want to be investigated, do you?

  5. #12/yochi: Are you talking about the agitators from Crown Heights who went to other kehillos to proselytize them to the meshiachstan religion?

  6. You are all missing the most important point here. The problem is the lack of separation of church and state. If there would be clearer separation, these sorts of attacks could never happen. Another point nobody has mentioned is the chilul HaShem here. My reaction certainly was why would I want to be frum if these bearded men in wide-brimmed hats who do not recognize the government and who don’t have televisions, act this way. Clearly it is because the are receiving too much support from the government and need to enter the work force. And what about the armed forces. They claim they can’t fight due to some issue of religion. Now c’mon! That is not right. No one is saying this because clearly these are exceptions to the rule . . . V’hameivin yovin.

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