Twelve men of a fringe Amish group pleaded not guilty to charges of beard and hair-cutting attacks against Amish men and women, which is an offensive act in Amish culture.
FBI arrested the seven of the 12 members last November after an internal religious dispute within their community motivated the group to commit a string of attacks, the BBC reported.
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The Amish believe the Bible instructs them to abstain from cutting hair as it is considered a blessing and a part of a woman’s beauty, and a symbol of manhood for men. To have hair forcefully cut is to be shamed.
The group was led by 66-year-old Samuel Mullet, who was denied bond along with his son Johnny Mullet, 37, during a court hearing on Wednesday in Cleveland, Ohio.
GlobalPost reported previously:
“Mullet is said to be the head of a splinter settlement estranged from nearby Amish communities, and resentful of what he perceived to be their persecution of his group.
He and his followers allegedly intended the unwanted haircuts as an act of protest against their fellow Amish, for whom the cutting of hair and beards is strictly proscribed.”
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The trial date is set for March 19.