FBI investigating Amish beard-cutting attacks
Authorities say there have been a handful of recent Amish-on-Amish beard-cutting attacks in several Ohio counties.
October 26th, 2011
04:28 PM ET

FBI investigating Amish beard-cutting attacks

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.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Amish • Crime • Ohio

soundoff (291 Responses)
  1. Kat

    "Amish 0n Amish beard cutting attack" LMAO Alrighty then!

    October 28, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  2. toadears

    OK his name is Mullet and he's chopping beards. There's a joke in there somewhere. Does Sam Mullet have a mullet haircut? And apparently this was a slow news day, I take it?

    October 28, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  3. toadears

    Beard cutting attacks? Lunatics. The more I see out of people the better I like pigs!

    October 28, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  4. ian

    man...the libs are attacking Christians on every front- so much for the "party of looooove"
    funny how the "tolerant" are the most intolerant.
    At the same time, liberals empower Islam.
    all the time ignoring events in Muslim counties they falsely accuse Christians of doing.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • DB

      You've got an awful lot of anger there, buddy. Try seeing a psychiatrist. You can bring your Bible with you if you prefer.

      October 28, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • toadears

      Jewish liberals do NOT support Islam. Gimme a D, gimme a U, gimme an H...whaddya got? Ian

      October 28, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  5. Joxer the Mighty

    @ Evolved DNA You are exactly right. We are all just people and no one is better or worse than one another. Did you notice the post I was commenting on claimed all religious people are idiots and fools? That is just as stupid as saying all atheists are fools.

    October 28, 2011 at 7:02 am |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      Hit the reply button numb nuts!

      October 28, 2011 at 7:03 am |
    • toadears

      Correct. One of the most immature things people do is cast stones at those with whom they disagree while calling them bigots. Duplicity is thy name.

      October 28, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  6. Jeremy

    '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?" '

    Beard cutting is a crime when the man is held down against his will and his beard is forcibly removed. It's called Assault.

    October 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  7. l

    The FBI and DEA fabricate evidence, steal from suspects and use murder to close bad cases.
    After two wars spanning ten years, the U.S. Military has become proficient in its use and concealment of torture. Torture is also being used by the DOJ (Department Of Justice) to help fabricate evidence and punish dissent.

    The FBI and DEA use sleep deprivation, drugging, humiliation, psycological stress, stress positions, threats of violence, threats of death, etc... Suspects respond better to suggestion and hyptotism which in turn make for higher conviction rates.

    There is evidence that employees from DoD, CIA and DOJ accepted bribes from Al Quida.
    How is it that the 9/11 terrorists could live for two weeks just two miles from NSA head quarters in Maryland, take flight simulator lessons on Jumbo jet trainers, could not speak English, and be on State department terror watch lists.

    October 27, 2011 at 6:43 am |
    • Reality

      Reliable references to support your wild claims are?

      October 27, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • Jason

      In what way is this relevant to the story?

      October 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Buzz Aldrin

      No they don't, they only kill terrorists. Mr Mullet is coming to chop your beard too, terrorist

      October 27, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • Dean Fox

      I'm guessing the fact the relevant agencies deny it emphatically when asked about it is proof enough, after all we all know the Government and their cohorts lie by default. ^^

      October 28, 2011 at 4:35 am |
  8. Rudedog

    Religion is like a weapon the only difference is A robber knows he is doing evil.

    October 27, 2011 at 6:16 am |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      hmmm, I guess you should go live in china then. They don't allow religion there.

      October 27, 2011 at 6:21 am |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      Ooops, I spoke too soon. They allow religion, they just persecute religious followers.

      October 27, 2011 at 6:23 am |
    • LammyKins

      You'll note Joxer does not dispute that religion is a weapon. He simply tries to misdirect the topic to some irrelevant point.

      October 27, 2011 at 7:24 am |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      irrelevant you say? Atheism can be used like a weapon just as easily as religion can, as you can see from China now and the U.S.S.R. before it. And I didn't deny it could be used as a weapon because it is true, it can be used like a weapon.

      October 27, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Dean Fox

      Religion is a tool for manipulating people. It is a set of ideological beliefs that adherents are encouraged to follow dogmatically under threat of the penalty of eternal damnation if they don't and eternal salvation if they do.

      Communism is similar in so much as it is a set of ideological beliefs that people are encouraged to follow dogmatically under threat of sanction by the state. The most extreme example of this is North Korea where the people are so scared they exhibit all the signs of absolute loving devotion to Kim Jong Ill for fear of showing anything else.

      Atheism is not communism. You can have atheist socialists, capitalists and liberals. Bizarrely you can have atheists who are open minded about the paranormal and the possibility of spirits, psychic powers and other "unexplained phenomena", they tend to be the more sceptical.

      What you tend to find is atheists don't hold to dogma. Here's my take on atheism. I don't believe there is a god because all the "evidence" presented to prove there is a god fall flat on scrutiny. I accept though I can no more prove there is no god than a theist can prove there is but what I do say is by the very fact their evidence falls flat proves that if there is a god the theists have it wrong.

      I doubt there is a god but if there is a supreme being it is not anything like what the theists imagine. I say this because the being imagined by the theists has too many human faults, such as vanity, vengefulness, spitefulness and insecurity, hardly traits of any self respecting deity. Religions are dogma built by humans around a concept of something greater than ourselves.

      Religion serves as a mechanism to manipulate people and it has being doing so since inception, sometimes with good intent but often quite cynically. Either way history and contemporary events demonstrate that it causes more trouble than it fixes.

      Religion is not necessary to do good, merely the desire to do good is necessary. Religion tends to corrupt that by saying that to do good must also include promoting the church in some way. The church of scientology takes this to the extreme in saying that the only way to help is through applying (promoting, selling and buying) scientology. The Red Cross meanwhile does the job without trying to convert people or suggesting they'd be better off following their ideology.

      October 28, 2011 at 5:01 am |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      @Dean Fox I greatly respect you Dean. You are one of the few atheists I have come into contact with that have clearly voiced their thoughts on the issue without criticizing theists. I will definitely agree that most theists concept of God is probably wrong and that religion has been used to control people. When you say the evidence falls flat though, is where we disagree. You have your mind open to the possibility of God so that is all that matters in my mind. You are believing based on what you have observed and experienced and not dogmatically saying there is no God. The things in my life have led me to believe there is a God but not like a normal Christian. I believe in the God represented by what Jesus did. If you read the Gospels, Jesus really had only two rules to live by: Love God and love other people. In the end, the idea of what Jesus did is that he sacrificed himself for everyone else. Live in peace Dean.

      October 28, 2011 at 6:57 am |
  9. Brownstain

    God is dead

    October 27, 2011 at 6:14 am |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      Dead to you maybe.

      October 27, 2011 at 6:20 am |
    • Jason

      Never existed.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      @Jason Where is your proof?

      October 27, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Buzz Aldrin

      My invisible buddy in the sky can beat up your invisible buddy in the sky.

      October 27, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Wafflelogic

      God is an invisible man in the sky. When Buzz Aldrin was in space, he was invisible – I could not see him – and he was a man in the sky. I guess that made Buzz Aldrin God for a few days. Except Neil Armstrong got jealous and pulled rank, which would actually make Buzz the second god, or Satan. Therefore, Neil Armstrong is God and Buzz Aldrin is Satan.

      That logic is every bit as sound and legitimate as any supplied by religions.

      October 28, 2011 at 4:31 am |
    • Mirosal

      This "god" of today is no different than all the others from days gone by. When you find Zeus, Apollo, Hera, Isis, Osiris, Thor, and Odin, your "god" will be in exactly the same place.. relegated to the realms of mythology

      October 29, 2011 at 4:17 am |
  10. Nanookofthe North

    Why don't you put back the old 'e-mail' article back so those of us who don't do social networking can continue to send articles of interest via e-mail, like on your other news stories ???

    October 27, 2011 at 5:55 am |
    • LammyKins

      Just select the test of the article and "cut and paste" it into an e-mail.

      October 27, 2011 at 7:41 am |
    • LammyKins

      Sorry "...text of the article"

      October 27, 2011 at 7:43 am |
  11. joey.s

    safe to say that Islam is not the only one out there with crazies

    October 27, 2011 at 5:55 am |
    • Rudedog

      obviously you have not heard of the inquisition

      October 27, 2011 at 6:06 am |
    • Buzz Aldrin

      Somehow I don't see beard chopping and blowing people up, ramming planes into buildings, blowing trains up, etc. as the same thing. DIAF, terrorist

      October 27, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
  12. Stan

    Religion is a curse upon this earth and will be the end of it one day

    October 27, 2011 at 5:36 am |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      Religion is not a curse, but it can be used by evil people to gain power. By your logic, atheism is a curse too since Stalin used it as an excuse to murder thousands.

      October 27, 2011 at 6:03 am |
    • LammyKins

      No Joxer, that's your logic not Stan's

      October 27, 2011 at 7:20 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @Joxer: Try reading up on Stalin. Atheism is not what lead him to do anything he did-that is a well known fact. Religious wars have gone on for centuries upon centuries. People do things in the name of god all the time, people do not do things in the name of not believing.

      October 27, 2011 at 7:31 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Atheism is a negative statement that says only what one does NOT believe.
      It does not imply any behaviours, morals, or characteristics whatsoever.
      Stalin didn't wave a banner of atheism for the people to rally around – his was a cult of personality, like Mao, Kim Jong Il, Hitler etc.
      The fact that the Catholic Church has come to an agreement with Fascist Italy ...proves beyond doubt that the Fascist world of ideas is closer to Christianity than those of Jewish liberalism or even atheistic Marxism...
      – Adolf Hitler in an article in the Völkischer Beobachter, February 29, 1929, on the new Lateran Treaty between Mussolini's fascist government and the Vatican

      October 27, 2011 at 9:05 am |
  13. oh please

    reigious people are all idiots

    all religions are cults of fools

    October 27, 2011 at 4:11 am |
    • Stan

      One word " Agree "

      October 27, 2011 at 5:34 am |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      I find it amusing that atheists act like they are so much better than believers. Did you forget that your buddy Stalin was an atheist too?

      October 27, 2011 at 6:16 am |
    • LammyKins

      Joxer worships the Logical Fallacy I do believe. It seems to be all he knows

      October 27, 2011 at 7:10 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @Lammy: Joxer as.sumes that because Stalin was an Atheist, this is what made him a wretched person. Joxer tends to neglect that there are children/women being abused in the name of religion every day. I doubt Joxer has ever read the history of Stalin or any other book outside of the buybull. Reality is too frightening for people like Joxer.

      October 27, 2011 at 7:34 am |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      @truthprevails Did I ever say atheism made Stalin evil? All I was trying to point out was that atheism could be used for evil just like religion can. Atheists tick me off because they act like they are better than someone who believes in God. Most believers tick me off too because they act like they are better than atheists and agnostics. Learn to get along without putting the other side down.

      October 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      @Lammy What logical fallacy are you speaking of?

      October 27, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • evolvedDNA

      Joxer the mighty.. you are saying then that there is no difference in believing in a god or not believing in a god,, we are all the same. As others have mentioned just because we do not believe in a god.. yours or anyone else s, does not make us any better or worse that those who do.

      October 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • Dean Fox


      October 28, 2011 at 5:12 am |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      @ Evolved DNA You are exactly right. We are all just people and no one is better or worse than one another. Did you notice the post I was commenting on claimed all religious people are idiots and fools? That is just as stupid as saying all atheists are fools.

      October 28, 2011 at 7:04 am |
  14. Houstonian

    @Austin you poor ignorat idiot. Even the liberal news media got it right in saying that Warren Jeffs is the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ, which has nothing to do with the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. Check your fact before spouting incorrect ignorant drivel. Oh, by the way, the LDS church is in no way connected to the Amish either.

    October 27, 2011 at 2:48 am |
  15. donnawoellner

    NO-ONE has the right 2 touch ANYONE without permission. It does not matter what religion, race, etc. They are basically very good people. they take care of themselves. Mullet needs to answer for his role in this. he is am extremist who was booted out for a reason. he has no right to try to inflict his will on anybody. The FBI absolutely needs to investigate. How would you feel he someone came into your home, forced you down, and invaded your space?

    October 27, 2011 at 1:54 am |
  16. Austin

    Warren Jeffs is the leader of the Mormon church. He's in prison for raping children. The Amish aren't nearly as aggressive and dangerous as the mormons. They are truly a cult of evil.

    October 27, 2011 at 1:51 am |
    • Daniel

      You are a true idiot. Jeffs has nothing to do with the actual Mormon Church. Do some research before opening your ignorant mouth.

      October 27, 2011 at 2:02 am |
  17. james

    From reading the headline, i feel like calling Woody Allen or Groucho for advice.

    October 27, 2011 at 1:34 am |
    • azrael

      by far best comment hands down...... my hats off to you good sir

      October 28, 2011 at 12:54 am |
  18. Roadsniper

    Young kids wonder why we dont respect them will look at how they treat all others that are different from them ammish mennonite alike or any religion for that matter. Its hard to imagine a world with no hate.than the haters will not exist no more. Look at the revolts over seas .these people are being exterminated for good reason, so all you haters ,remember this! All hate rolls down hill so now your next

    October 27, 2011 at 1:30 am |
    • Burnz

      You're all over the place there. Álso, You're pro extermination, but hate haters? I'm not amish but if I saw you I would get my posse and de-beard you... full force.

      October 27, 2011 at 1:35 am |
  19. Roadsniper

    Yes im very intelligent i came from your mooottthhheeerrr!!!!! So that should say something

    October 27, 2011 at 1:22 am |
  20. Jo

    Isn't this how the Mormons started:)

    October 27, 2011 at 1:19 am |
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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.