Fatima Mernissi might be one of the most important figures in the world today. I wish she got more credit and recognition outside academic circles. She is one of a large group of scholars who work for reform in the Muslim world within the boundaries of Islam - what better way is there for reform than from within.
In her writings, particularly Beyond the Veil: Male Female Dynamics in a Modern Muslim Society, she interprets the Quran and Hadiths (traditions of the Prophet Muhammad), to reveal the true meaning behind them. For example, Islam and the Prophet Muhammad counted justice above all, especially for the poor and underprivileged. The Prophet treated women as his equals, taking advice from his wife on political decisions.
One of my favorite misinterpretations of the Hadiths is that the Prophet Muhammad took many wives because women were not equal to men; that he forced these women to live with him and that they had no say. The Prophet Muhammad took women (voluntarily) into his household that had been widowed due to war and conflict of the times to care for them and provide for them.
Many might read this and say 'apologist' but this is the truth. This model the Prophet set up has been corrupted and misinterpreted by oppressed males and power hungry leaders. They have perversed the real Islam for their own benefit.
It is up to Muslims to retake their religion through work such as that of Fatima Mernissi.