In 2005, the Australian Federal Police referred eight Islamic books to the Australian Classification Board. The goal was to secure a ban of the books, all of which were alleged to advocate 'terrorist acts'. After nearly a year of review, and intense public debate, two of the books were refused classification and effectively banned in a move that would have severe repercussions for librarians, scholars, authors and the state of free speech in Australia. Banning Islamic Books in Australia examines the cultural and political contexts that led up to the ban, and the content of the books themselves in an attempt to determine what it was that made them seem so dangerous. It also documents the unintended consequences of the ban on library collections and academic freedom, and how this in turn affects free speech in contemporary Australia.
Richard Pennell did both his BA (in Arabic and Spanish) and his PhD (in Islamic History) at the University of Leeds in Britain. Before joining the History Department at the University of Melbourne he taught at the National University of Singapore, at the University of Nairobi in Kenya, at Garyounis University in Benghazi, Libya, and at Bogazici University in Turkey. His most recent books are Morocco since 1830- A History and Morocco- From Empire to Independence. He edited Bandits at Sea- A Pirate Reader. Pam Pryde is curator of Special Collections in the Baillieu Library at the University of Melbourne and treasurer for the Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand. Her interest is in book history-the book as a physical object-and articles she has written on this topic can be found in the Script & Print- Bulletin of the Bibliographical Society of Australia & New Zealand. For many years she has also been involved with the craft of hand-printing at the Ancora Press, Monash University. Emmett Stinson is a lecturer in Publishing and Communications at the University of Melbourne and president of SPUNC