guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 23 November 2011 13.37 EST
Seven members of Amish breakaway group arrested over haircut attacks
US authorities have raided the compound of a breakaway Amish religious group and arrested seven men on federal hate crime charges in haircutting attacks against Amish men and women.
Cutting the hair is a highly offensive act to the traditional Amish, who believe the Bible instructs women to let their hair grow long and men to grow beards and stop shaving once they marry. Several members of the breakaway group forcefully cut the beards and hair of Amish men and women in September and October, authorities said.
Among those arrested Wednesday were the group's leader, Sam Mullet, and three of his sons, said Mike Tobin, a spokesman for the US attorney's office in Cleveland. He said authorities were planning to hold a news conference on Wednesday afternoon to explain why they charged the men with hate crimes. . . . . .
. . . . . Mullet told the Associated Press in October that he did not order the haircutting, but didn't stop his sons and others from carrying it out. He said the goal was to send a message to local Amish that they should be ashamed of themselves for the way they were treating Mullet and his community.