He was the main instigator of the wave of Danish Muslim mischief that arose in reaction to the 2005 Muhammad cartoons and that resulted in riots, embassy burnings, an international boycott of Danish products, and over a hundred deaths.
Now, he says, he's changed his mind – not just about the Muhammad cartoons, but about Islam itself. And about Denmark, too, for which he now professes the deepest affection and gratitude. In an August 22 op-ed for the Danish newspaper Politiken, in a lecture given at the Free Press Society, and in dozens of TV, radio, and print interviews in recent days, Ahmed Akkari has described his ideological journey from passionate jihadist to lover of liberty.
Born in Lebanon in 1978, Akkari was taken by his parents at age six to Denmark, where they were given asylum. His parents picked Denmark, he says, precisely because few immigrants lived there at the time; they figured it was a place where they could live a peaceful and assimilated life far from the turbulence of 1980s Lebanon.