The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


December 10, 2012

Expert blasts 'Amish Mafia' as 'pure fiction'

LANCASTER — A local expert on the Amish is calling out the Discovery Channel’s newest reality show, claiming “Amish Mafia” is nothing more than “pure fiction.”

The new show claims to document the real-life work of a small group of men “who protect and maintain peace and order within the Amish community in Lancaster,” according to Discovery Channel’s website.

However, Donald Kraybill, a professor at Elizabethtown College specializing in Amish and Anabaptist studies, said none of his sources inside the Amish community have ever heard of such a group.

“I’m not aware of anything like that and the Amish people that I’ve talked with about it aren’t aware of that either,” he said.

The recent fascination with shows about Amish life, also captured on shows like TLC’s “Breaking Amish” and National Geographic Channel’s “Amish: Out of Order,” comes from their dissolution of stereotypes about the close-knit religious group, Kraybill said.

“They project fabricated images of Amish life which contradict certain stereotypes,” he said. “They break those stereotypes, which makes them surprising and interesting and shocking.”

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