24 Nov 2011

Seven arrested over Amish hair-cutting attacks

8:58 pm on 24 November 2011

The FBI has charged seven members of a breakaway Amish sect in the United States with hate crimes after a series of attacks in which Amish men and women had their beards and hair forcibly cut.

Authorities carried out dawn raids in eastern Ohio targetting the breakaway sect.

The victims were allegedly held down while scissors and shears were used to cut their beards and hair - both hallmarks of their religious faith.

The attacks came after years of tension between the sect's leader Sam Mullet and mainstream members of the Amish community.

Mr Mullet and three of his sons were among the seven men arrested.

The BBC reports that the incidents are viewed as particularly offensive in the conservative Amish community, where women do not cut their hair and men grow beards once they marry.