Muslims baying for blood :Danes threatened to be 'cut into as many pieces as cartoons' - effigy of journalists burned in Iraq
February 5, 2006
Troops try charm offensive to quell threats from Iraqi fanatics
Denmark's troops in Iraq have gone on a charm offensive to explain that they respect the Prophet Mohammed, as one insurgent group called on followers to capture Danish soldiers and "cut them into as many pieces as the number of newspapers that printed the cartoons".
The Islamic Army in Iraq also named France, Holland, Norway and Spain - where last week newspapers published the cartoons - as enemies of Islam whose citizens should be targeted.
In Ramadi another group issued leaflets demanding retribution against Danes.
Denmark has about 500 troops in Iraq, most of them based in the British-controlled zone around Basra. A British spokesman for the coalition said: "The Danes are actively engaging with the local population to explain the situation through leaflets, appearing on TV and by meeting local officials.
"They are saying Danish soldiers respect Islam and the Prophet Mohammed and cannot be held accountable for what independent newspapers are doing back home."
He said Danish troops were still going on patrol, but the situation was being closely monitored.
The latest threats came after thousands of Iraqis took to the streets across the country to demonstrate against the publication of the cartoons. Demonstrators burnt the Danish flag and an effigy representing Danish journalists.
More than 500 people gathered in the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah chanting pro-Islamic slogans and burning Danish dairy products.
The transport ministry, which is run by a Shia fundamentalist, announced that all contracts with Danish firms would be cancelled and there would be little chance for any other tenders.
Christians said they feared retaliatory attacks after Church leaders claimed to have evidence that recent bombings at four churches were linked to the row.
"Innocent people were killed because of these cartoons," said Louis Sako, the Chaldean archbishop in the northern city of Kirkuk. "This is terror."