Swedish 'Bearded Villains' mistaken for ISIS cell

A member of the Bearded Villains Sweden chapter holds the organization's flag during a photo shoot at Braehus Castle, to the southwest of Stockholm.

Story highlights

  • Police called to investigate a group of bearded men in Sweden
  • Flag was thought to resemble the ISIS banner
  • 'Bearded Villains' is an international group, with local chapters

(CNN)It's not often that a bit of facial hair can get you into trouble. But for a group of Swedish men, their beards -- and a familiar-looking flag -- had them mistaken for an ISIS terror cell.

The Swedish chapter of Bearded Villains, an international "brotherhood of elite bearded men" was meeting at a ruined castle for a photo shoot featuring the organization's black-and-white flag when a concerned motorist mistook them for an ISIS cell, according to local media reports and a member's posts on social media.
    Braehus Castle, in Granna, is around 280 kilometers (174 miles) southwest of the Swedish capital, Stockholm.
    Authorities were summoned, but after the confusion was cleared up the Villains were free to continue with their hirsute activities.
    The flag does bear a passing resemblance to the ISIS banner, largely due to its monochrome color scheme, but local police quickly ascertained that the 30 or so bearded men who were "hugging and laughing," according to a Facebook post by member Andreas Fransson, weren't terrorists.
    "We had a good laugh with the cops, who had to respond to the call, but quickly saw that we weren't terrorists, out in the middle of nowhere, dressed in formal wear, hugging and laughing," the post reads.

    'Loyalty, honor and respect'

    The mission of the organization, which has chapters around the world, could not be further from the aims of ISIS.
    Its website states that it is "devoted to loyalty, honor and respect toward all people, dedicated to the betterment of mankind through fraternity, charity and kindness."
    "It is obviously disappointing that someone mistook us for terrorists but also a bit of fun," Fransson told Swedish outlet Metro.