Beards + black flag = ISIS? Hipsters 'unnerve local' in Sweden, get police called on them
Around 30 Bearded Villains – who describe themselves a “brotherhood of elite bearded men from all over the world” – gathered at the ruins of Brahehus Castle outside Gränna, Sweden on Saturday, for a day of bearded bliss. But although their intentions were good, they still managed to attract the attention of locals.
~30 suspected ISIL reported in Brahehus, Sweden. Police finds… "Bearded Villains" beard club doing photo shoot. -DN pic.twitter.com/2PSHUqWkl4— @b9AcE (@b9AcE) October 12, 2015
One local phoned the police while driving by, telling law enforcement that men from Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL) were at the site, waving the militant group's flag. The Bearded Villains' flag is black with white text, just like the flag of ISIS. However, the men’s flag clearly states the name of their group in English.
But once officers arrived at the scene, they quickly realized they weren't dealing with terrorists at all. Instead, all they saw was “a bunch of happy bearded guys,” Bearded Villains member Andreas Fransson told the Jönköpings-Posten. He added that both the group and the cops had a good laugh about the situation.
The Swedish members of the group, who meet about once a month to socialize, were in charge of the Bearded Villains' flag over the weekend. The flag is passed between the group’s clubs around the world.
“We went to Brahehus with a professional photographer to be photographed with the flag because it was the first time we had it. It is obviously disappointing that someone mistook us for terrorists, but also a bit of fun,” Fransson said.
It's not the first time that an innocent gathering has been mistaken for ISIS activity in Sweden. In February, two large birthday balloons with the number “21” were believed to be balloons spelling out “IS,” for Islamic State, when viewed from behind. Police were called to the scene, and the owner of the balloons was asked to take them out of view to prevent future misunderstandings.