Heads up: A group of bearded men waving a black flag doesn't automatically mean ISIS is hanging out in your town!
Police in Jönköping, a city in southern Sweden, learned this lesson after they were tipped off about a meeting of ISIS "warriors" outside the city. Instead, they found members of a club for bearded men.
Apparently "[a] member of the public who passed by on the freeway had seen the gang and alerted the police that the Islamic state (IS), were at the site."
The club had gathered because, for the first time, they had a Bearded Villains flag, which also seems to have been the reason they were confused for ISIS. The group's flag, which is passed among different chapters around the world, looks like this:
According to The Bearded Villains' website they're "a brotherhood of elite bearded men from all over the world" who've been around since 2014. As far as I can tell, their main crime is being incredibly corny:
But never fear, the Swedish chapter was left unharmed. Fransson told Jönköpings-Posten that the cops "laughed when they arrived and saw that it was not some terrorists, just a bunch of happy bearded guys taking photographs." He also added that "[i]t is obviously disappointing that someone mistook us for terrorists but also a bit funny."
It also really bugs me when that happens to me and my friends!
Ethan Chiel is a reporter for Fusion, writing mostly about the internet and technology. You can (and should) email him at firstname.lastname@example.org