Danish troops to respect fasting customs

About 400 Danish soldiers stationed in Iraq have been told to avoid consuming food and smoking in public so as not to offend Muslims who are fasting during Ramadan.

    Most Iraqis see coalition troops as occupiers of their land

    This is according to the Danish contingent's former commander, Colonel Niels Bundsgaard. He felt they would attract goodwill by doing so.

    "We have to do so to show that we accept them and respect their culture," said Bundsgaard, who has just completed four months commanding the Danish contingent.

    Ramadan, the month of fasting, was set to begin in Iraq on Monday.

    Radio station

    Bundsgaard also announced that a radio station for his troops would go on the air at al-Qurna, headquarters of the sector occupied by the Danish contingent under British command.

    The Danish government, a staunch supporter of the US-led war in Iraq, sent more than 400 soldiers to the country.

    But the opposition accuses the government of having committed Denmark to the war without a United Nations mandate. The opposition also said Denmark was duped, based on the argument of a threat of weapons of mass destruction, which almost six months after US President George Bush formally declared major war operations over, have yet to be found.



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