The beard in Islam is a deeply contentious issue. For some it is stamp of authority whilst for others it proves their devotion. A lot of young people use it as a way to 'rebel' along with donning Arab gear.
Personally I feel that you do not have to wear a big sign around your neck saying you are Muslim and demand sympathy / attention.
The beard is in Islam not the other way round!
Yes Muhammed (pbuh) had a beard but that was the trend of 7th century along with most places. Some of the most avowed enemies of early Islam such as Abu Lahab also kept a luxuriant beard and was the Prophets Uncle!
And surely God will judge our actions rather than the style or length of ones beard???