Religious beliefs tested after two Amish children abducted in US

(Photo: REUTERS / Ernest Scheyder)Austin Eudaly (L), an executive with Flatiron Energy Partners, talks with members of the Ohio Amish community at the Deersville, Ohio, Volunteer Fire Department on December 10, 2013. Many farmers in the close-knit Amish community who eschew electricity and most technology, are among landowners capitalizing on a new financial trend in the United States energy booms- selling decades of future oil an natural gas royalties for an immediate pile of cash.

The disappearance of two Amish sisters from their family property near the Canadian border with the United States has put the Christian group's beliefs to the test.

The girl's aged 12 and seven disappeared last week from the roadside vegetable stand in front of their family home in the rural town of Oswegatchie, in new York state near the Canadian border.

After learning that the girls were missing, their father, Mose Miller, went to a non-Amish neighbor to seek help and call the emergency number 911 for him.

Amish beliefs hold much in common with the Mennonites, from whom they originated.

They interact with the world but don't deal with secular culture. They believe that secular culture pollutes their minds therefore they avoid the use of modern technology.

They also have protocols for cooking, worship, schooling, dating and interacting with non-Amish.

"They are in the world but not of the world," said Karen M. Johnson-Weiner, a professor of anthropology who has studied the Amish for years.

"They are passing through this world without becoming part of it," she said to New York Times.

Because of the Amish beliefs, it was at first difficult for the police to start with the investigation. The police needed photos of the girls to issue an alert, but the family had none.

Mose finally agreed to compromise. He allowed a sketch artist to make an illustration of the older sister, but not the younger one.

"They were so uncomfortable," Sheriff Kevin M. Wells of St. Lawrence County said. "We asked them to make a lot of difficult decisions."

The incident was a turning point in the lives of not only the Miller family but of the Amish population because of the international attention the incident stirred.

After 24 hours, the sisters were released when the suspects became frightened by news reports on the girls.

The Amish girls had reportedly been shackled to the couple's bed and were sexually assaulted, authorities said on Saturday the New York Times reported.

The parents, who have 14 children, did not express anger toward the suspects.

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