November 12, 2011 In the small town of Bergholz, Ohio Jefferson County Sheriff, Fred Abdalla says the beard-cutting attacks against the peaceful Amish continue. The latest attack of an elderly Amish man in his 70’s was commited by his own son and grandsons, members of a breakaway Amish cult.
The leader of Amish extremist group, Sam Mullet is a very dangerous man, Sheriff Abdalla warned, that with so much power over members of his flock -anything Mullet orders them to do, gets done.
Sheriff Abdalla reached out to the FBI last month, who then began their own investigation. The FBI involvement was said to anger Sam Mullet even more.
The victim was lured to his estranged son home after recieved letters from him asking if they could “bury the hatchett” and reconcile their religious differences. The father and son had not spoken in several years. The son, whose father-in-law is the group’s leader, was not one of five men charged in a previously reported incident, the Sheriff said.
The sheriff escorted the father and his wife to the son’s house on Wednesday for dinner and said he warned the son not to attack his father. Nervous that something might happen, Abdalla said he parked a couple of hundred yards away.
After two hours the victim and his emerged, scared, upset and virtually clean-shaven, but wouldn’t press charges. The two said that along with his sons, the elderely victim own grandsons, he was wrestled to the floor. When his wife tried to intervene, she was restrained by her daughter-in-law, the sheriff said.
“This guy was just totally destroyed after this happened,” Sheriff Abdalla told the Associated Press.
At least a half a dozen attacks on men and women have been reported in the quiet Amish community since September. Sheriff Abdalla told a CNN reporter that the beard-cutting attacks are humiliating to the Amish. For both men and women, hair is considered sacred. An Amish man the beard is a symbol of pride and to women, their hair is viewed as a gift from God.
“It’s so frustrating. It’s a criminal act, and I’m less than two hundred yards away from it happening. I can’t arrest the character because his father refuses to file a complaint,” Abdalla said. “But we’re pursuing it, and we’re pursuing it harder than ever because of this case.”
Witnesses to the cult’s environment, including former members say Sam Mullet makes up rules the other Amish have never heard of and then punishes people for breaking them.
Although five members of the extremist sect were arrested on October 4th for a seperate beard-cutting incident in which three of Mullet’s sons are charged – Sheriff Abdalla said because of Amish tradition, more arrests stemming from other attacks aren’t likely. The Amish believe in solving conflicts by means of their faith and church, without the involvement of law enforcement.
For members of the Amish community to reach out to police and some even agreed to speak to the media indicates the level of the terror experienced.
The FBI involvement in the incidents indicates the serious nature of the crimes. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorists attacks, the Department of Homeland Security named the FBI as lead agency in all suspected cases of terrorism, until an incident is determined to be not terror-related.