In 2005 he was spokesman for 27 Muslim organizations and leader of a group of imams who traveled around the Middle East to stir up trouble for Denmark. The plan was to force Denmark to apologize for the daily Jyllands-Postens publication of the famous 12 Muhammed cartoons on September 30 that year.
Today Ahmed Akkari bitterly regrets his behavior. He apologizes right and left and has even said that he understands the position of the former leader of the Danish Peoples Party, Pia Kjærsgaard who has been roundly reviled by politically correct Danes as a xenophobe and racist for her opposition to her countrys islamization and for her support of free speech.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who was Prime Minister during the Muhammed crisis, carefully explained that Denmark enjoys freedom of the press. The state neither can nor will regulate the press and consequently assumes no responsibility for what it writes therefore it has nothing to apologize for.
That made no impression on Ahmed Akkari and the other Danish imams and Muslim organizations that eyed an opportunity to intimidate Denmark into sacrificing our most fundamental rights and thus contribute to the countrys Islamization. A few months after the publication of the Muhammed cartoons, they produced evidence of terrible impositions and affronts to Muslims all over the world. The documentation was full of lies and fiction. For example, the instigators had included a photo from a French pig-howling competition. There was also a drawing of a praying Muslim with his bottom held high while being sexually accosted by a dog.
The message was effective. Danish diplomatic missions in Syria and Lebanon were burnt and more than 100 people died during violent demonstrations around the Muslim world.
In 2008 Akkari moved to Greenland to teach at a public school. And there during dark nights and surrounded by ice and mountains he read European writers of the Enlightenment and the American Declaration of Independence. Suddenly he realized that something was seriously wrong with his previous Islamic conviction and what he had done.
The former holy man stopped going to the mosque. As he tells the Danish daily Ekstra Bladet (August 8), he hasnt been to a mosque for four years. So how about the new grand mosque at Rovsingvej in Copenhagen?
I know that this mosque is a front for people connected with political Islam, which I oppose. It is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood, says Akkari.
To Berlingske Tidende (August 4) the former imam, who has shaved off his bread, explains that the principles of Islamism are based on interpretations, but are being presented as ultimate truth. Various interpretations are brushed off by people interested in portraying things as absolutely true. The Islamic Faith Community [the main Islamic organization in Denmark, LH] has a very strong tradition for that. I dont respect people who play clean and holy, when it is all about a power struggle, says Akkari and continues: The core of my rebellion is that the principles of Islamism claim a monopoly on a specific interpretation of being religious. There is something wrong with a monopoly on the right opinions and actions.
Among the things Ahmed Akkari regrets today is his threat against the Danish Muslim politician Naser Khader. If he were to become minister of integration, it would perhaps be a good idea to send a couple of guys to blow up his ministry, he said during the Muhammed crisis.
Now he says that he made a stupid mistake.
Akkari has turned on a dime in the case of the Muhammed drawings and Kurt Westergaard, who has been living under police protection for years and who was the victim of assassination attempt on January 1, 2010.
I wish to formally express my deep-felt apology, if that is enough. For what you have been through. Personally I can only say that I have been guilty of lighting a fire due to the thoughts I was captivated by. It was quite all right to publish the cartoons, says Akkari today.
Kurt Westergaard, who drew the famous cartoon of Muhammed with a bomb in his turban, drank coffee with his old scourge a couple of days after Akkaris conversion. And Westergaard is full of praise and forgiveness:
I think it magnanimous of Akkari. He has gone from being an Islamist to being a kindly, soft and tolerant humanist, says Kurt Westergaard.
Others are not so forgiving. Among them is another of Jyllands-Postens Muhammed cartoonists, Franz Füchsel. To the daily B.T. (August 9) he explains:
He [Ahmed Akkari] has been an evil, evil man and his past will never be forgotten.
Franz Füchsel considers it deranged that Ahmed Akkari at the blink of an eye expects us all to turn the page on his actions.
Today Kurt Westergaard is somewhat nervously impaired and confined to a wheelchair and has to live with a large police detail and whose fault is that? its Akkaris, says Franz Füchsel. He thinks that the formed hardcore imam has a personal motive his own enrichment for drinking coffee with Westergaard.
Ahmed Akkari is a small, untrustworthy man, who only looks to his own success, says Franz Füchsel.
Nor is there much forgiveness to be got from former Minister of Integration, Bertel Haarder (liberal).
He tells Ekstra Bladet (August 9) that Ahmed Akkari has been an expensive boy for Denmark. Akkari and the Islamic Faith Community brought fear into the lives of Danes, says the former minister and current member of parliament.
Nobody has harmed Denmark as much as that man. I consider him thoroughly unreliable and a great hypocrite, says Haarder and adds: Akkari was not a fellow traveler. He was leading the pack.
I think of him every time Im standing at an airport and have to remove my belt and shoes. I think of him when I see Naser Khaders life guards, and I think of him now that Christiansborg [the Danish parliament building, LH] has to be fortified to the tune of 25 million kroner, says Bertel Haarder and adds: I shall never forgive him.
Even though opinion is divided on the depth of Ahmed Akkaris conversion from extreme Muslim to bona fide democrat and not least on his motives, it is evident that his move has caused a fundamental change in the way Danes may discuss Islam and Muslim immigration
Several newspapers have hailed the former imam for saying what so-called Islamophobes have been hanged out to dry for saying. Regardless of whether Akkari should recant and revert to his old positions, he has said what he has said and from now on Islam-critics may well ask why Akkari is permitted to say what they may not.
To B.T. (July 29) Akkari states:
I have grown wiser. Today I have a critical view of the entire mode of thinking in the milieu I used to represent. Something is grievously wrong when everything is seen as a struggle between good and evil. Deviant thoughts are considered as attacks that must be defended against and that is dangerous. He adds: I have seen what has happened to those who have dared criticize the worldview of these people and their interpretation of Islam. They have been met with death threats and assassinations for criticizing the true faith.
To Jyllands-Posten (July 31) he states that they [Muslims] must understand that the countries where they are now residing have rules that must be obeyed. If they dont agree or if they cannot abide by these rules they must try to find another place they can better identify
This is undoubtedly reminiscent of what, e.g., politicians from the immigration-critical Danish Peoples Party have been saying for years.
It ought to be possible, says Ahmed Akkari to Kristeligt Dagblad (August 6), to be a Muslim without being subjected to social control and coercion in the name of God.
Unless we are faced with so-called taqiyya the religiously sanctioned right for Muslims to hide their intentions these utterances place Ahmed Akkari outside Islam. According Islams holy scripture and actual practice over 1400 years, he is from now to be regarded as an apostate.