Residents of Holywood, Co. Down in Northern Ireland called the authorities on Sunday about a suspicious “Islamist-style” flag that had been waving over somebody’s house.
When police officers arrived at the house, a resident had to explain to them that it was a European Union flag, flying in honor of Europe’s win over the US in the Ryder Cup golf competition.
Holywood is home to golf legend Rory McIlroy, who played in the Ryder Cup, and is covered in banners, pictures and road signs honoring the 2014 Open champion.
“Right in shock here,” the golf-loving homeowner told the BBC. “Had a Ryder Cup party yesterday and just had the police around – as apparently it’s caused offense.”
A similar false alarm rang in August, when New Jersey locals thought a man’s Muslim flag that he’s flown every Friday and Ramadan for ten years was an ISIS flag as well. The flag bore one of the same inscriptions as is on the ISIS flag, which sparked some confusion.
Globally, people are growing concerned over threats that the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS) is spreading. Just last month an Irish nun removed an Islamic State flag from a housing project in London.
The difference between the European Union flag and the Islamic State flag is quite obvious, however. The ISIS flag is black with white Arabic inscriptions, and the EU flag is blue with a circle of yellow stars.
“I just laughed,” the Holywood resident said. “In the end they were laughing too. It was just crazy.”
The Associated Press quoted Belfast councilman Andrew Muir saying, “You couldn’t make it up.”
“We need to be able to celebrate our success and the European flag is an open, inclusive symbol of Europe coming together.”
The owner of the EU flag took it down, in an effort to “keep the peace.”