Reform, by definition, is not a complete break with tradition, but a determination by scholars, activists, politicians and critical thinkers to re-claim the tenets of their faith. Muslim communities have historically displayed a tendency to preserve the status quo.By contrast, the individuals and movements in Islam and the Question of Reform are determined-often at great personal risk-to push aside existing political and social elites and the historically accepted interpretations of Islam and its place in society.The perspectives examined in this volume avoid superficial or apologetic examinations of Islam's political and social role. Instead, they meticulously scrutinise the religion's public role, often questioning the validity of dogmas that have acted as tools of empowerment for existing elites for centuries.
Benjamin MacQueen is an ARC Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Melbourne. He has published widely on issues dealing with Middle Eastern politics, conflict resolution in the Middle East, US democracy promotion in the Middle East, and relations between Australia and the Middle East.Kylie Baxter received her PhD from Monash University in 2008, and has published widely on Western Muslim communities and the utilisation of Islamist theory by organisations based in the West. Currently, her research focuses on Middle Eastern politics and international Islamism. She is the author of US Foreign Policy in the Middle East: The Rise of Anti-Americanism.Rebecca Barlow is a PhD candidate in the School of Political and Social Inquiry at Monash University, researching on the Iranian women's movement and the implementation of international human rights law in the Islamic Republic of Iran. She has published on issues of human rights, feminism and Islamic politics in Human Rights Quarterly and Third World Quarterly.