It's impossible to find anything positive to say about ISIS, but I guess we can give them credit for their consistent branding. They are committed to a familiar black flag, decorated with a handwritten Arabic statement that translates to "There is no god but God" and a white seal that says "God Messenger Mohammad." What it doesn't say is "Jack Daniels Old No. 7 Brand," but that's apparently news to one very confused Swiss person.
When an unidentified 29-year-old Zurich man moved into his new neighborhood, he started flying both an Italian flag and a Jack Daniels flag from his roof. The former was because he is of Italian descent, the latter was because he thought it was "funny." But when he went through his mail on Saturday, he found a letter from an anonymous neighbor who was irked by the Italian flag and flat out angry about the other one, all because that person mistook Tennessee whiskey for a terrorist organization.
"Is it necessary to be afraid of you?" the note read. "First the Italian flag and now the Black Death flag. Are you [Islamic State] sympathizers?" The hateful message was signed "Worried Neighbors," and suggested that maybe the man and his girlfriend should be put under observation. (You know there's some crotchety old couple crumpling their mini-blinds and staring at the dude's front door right this second.)
"I fell from the clouds when I read that," the man told Swiss news outlet 20 Minuten. He has asked around the neighborhood, but either no one knows who wrote the letter, no one wants to rat on the person who wrote the letter, or no one wants to fess up to mistaking an American whiskey company for an extremist group. The man has since reported the incident to the police, and is considering legal action if he ever finds out who mistook Jack Daniels for Daesh. "If we are falsely being told that we are IS supporters, it damages our reputation," he said.
His neighbor isn't the first person to misidentify an ISIS flag, although he or she might be the most head-scratching. In June 2015, CNN correspondent Lucy Pawle expressed her disgust for an ISIS flag that flew in the middle of London's Pride parade. "[It] appears to be […] a clear attempt to mimic the ISIS flag," she said. "If you look at the flag, it's clearly not Arabic." No shit, Lucy. The flag, which was being waved by artist Paul Coombs, was actually decorated with dildos, butt plugs, and anal beads. "The flag was so clearly made of dildos that I never thought it could be mistaken for an actual ISIS flag," Coombs told The Guardian.
And in October 2015, a group of Swedish beard enthusiasts were visited by the police after someone mistook their black "Beard Villains" flag for you-know-who's flag. "The police saw of course that we weren't terrorists, just very happy and nice bearded gentlemen," Beard Villains member Andreas Fransson said at the time.
Back in Switzerland, though, that Jack Daniels-loving man isn't taking his flag down any time soon. That, he said, would mean his neighbors won.