The struggle for ideological primacy within Islam is a fight that only Muslims themselves can wage, but the moderates are struggling for access to the public square. Muslim societies the world over have been intimidated, oppressed and manipulated by extremist ideologues and financiers for almost a half century. The only surviving civic culture you see today is the corrupt networks of government leaders and/or the Islamist infrastructure. In our quest for "liberty for all", we must level the playing field for mainstream Muslims who have no means to effectively contribute in the "marketplace of ideas". This conference in Jakarta provided leading Muslim voices of change their chance to assert that modern day applications of Islamic doctrine are not incompatible with democracy and the development of vibrant, effective civil society institutions.
About the Author: Hedieh Mirahmadi, an attorney by profession, Hedieh Mirahmadi has spent the past decade assisting moderate Muslim communities around the world to resist the ideological onslaught of Islamic extremism. She advises both government and civic leaders on the threat posed by the extremists, as well as on policies to transform stifled Muslim societies into progressive participants of a free society.