By Chris Welch, CNN
Bergholz, Ohio (CNN) - 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.
I just came across religion.blogs.cnn.com and I want to say: "What a beautiful picture!" I will surely contact you if we need a professional photographer.
NEWS FLASH! Early this morning a large number of cars, unmarked and marked, left Bergholz in the direction of the Sam Mullet compound.
Concerning the malicious Amish beard cutting attacks, if Samuel Mullet and his accomplishes are found guilt, they need to be treated to some old-school, "Scarlett Letter" justice. Part of the sentence should be shaving their beards off and maybe hair too. Then during their sentence and probation, they should required to have at least weekly shavings. If they report to a parole officer, require them to show up clean shaven and forbid them from wearing hats. Maybe, they should have to shave their eyebrows, too!
These people that you show cased on tonight's program are not the true Amish, they do not allow themselfs to be photographed or videoed! It is against their religous belief's! Any true Amish doesn't even own a mirrow, because it is vain!!! And being photographed is also vain in their belief's and totally against God's will!
It made sense when the Kentucky State Police got involved in Amish affairs. Horse drawn buggy's do not belong on 70 mph highways with 100,000 pound 18 wheelers (it is actually suicide .. like jumping off a bridge). BUT - assigning $150,000/year FBI agents to bear pulling? That's for the Hooterville Pd .. Andy and Barney ..at best.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.