These Aren’t the Beards You’re Looking For

A group of bearded men were stopped in Sweden after they were mistaken for terrorists.


Nothing fits the stereotyped image of terrorists quite like a group of bearded hipsters posing for a photoshoot in a field in Sweden.

At least that’s what one Swedish passerby thought this weekend when he mistook 30 men gathered with a black flag for the Islamic State and called the police.

Turns out the men weren’t terrorists at all. They were gathered just north of the city of Jonkoping for the monthly meeting of their international beard club, the Bearded Villains. As for the flag? Other than the fact it’s black and white, it looks nothing like the Islamic State’s.

“We lined up for a photoshoot, 30 men from the club with our flag, and suddenly we see two police officers,” Andreas Fransson, a member of the group, told the Jonkoping-Post, a Swedish newspaper.

This isn’t the first time an innocent gathering has prompted paranoid Swedish vigilantes to take action.

In February, a Swedish birthday party was interrupted after someone walking by mistook balloons reading “1” and “2″ for “IS” — an acronym used by the Islamic State.

Sarah Ericsson, the party’s host, didn’t hesitate to remove the balloons after three police officers showed up and explained how they looked from the outside.

“Extremism should always be taken seriously, and we did take the balloons down immediately,” she told the Local, a Swedish news site.

The Bearded Villains, on the other hand, didn’t let their mistaken identities as terrorists interrupt their weekend fun. Their beard club passes its flag between chapters in various countries each month, and the Swedish group wasn’t going to waste its chance to pose for professional photographs with it.

“The police had a good laugh with us when they arrived and saw that this didn’t have anything to do with terrorists, just a bunch of happy bearded dudes having their photographs taken,” Fransson said.

Photo credit: Bearded Villains Facebook Page