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Pro-Islamic Alliance

What is TARGET?

05.08.2010 TARGET (2000 – 2010):

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TARGET is a human rights organisation founded in 2000 by Rüdiger Nehberg. It is non-profit making and specifically works in situ with the populations directly concerned. It has adopted a single combat approach. There were seven original founding members: five intermediaries and Annette Weber and Rüdiger Nehberg as activists. Thanks to them TARGET is quick off the mark, unconventional and flexible.

Its main purpose is specific, in-situ action against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). TARGET manages a mobile field hospital for the Afar people in Ethiopia, has sponsored two Afar girls and has set up a sewing workers’ project in Mauritania for women circumcisers who now find themselves unemployed. Another project supports a hospital for the Waiapí Indians in the Brazilian rain forest.

TARGET is audited by the German tax authorities, a firm of lawyers and a certified tax consultant.

TARGET has access to a team of highly qualified advisors: representatives of the Azhar University in Cairo and Islamic authorities in Africa; the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs, German Embassies, Prof. Dr. Udo Steinbach, former director of the German Orient Institute in Hamburg, now director of the GIGA Institute of Middle East Studies, as well as doctors.

TARGET is financed exclusively by donations. TARGET’s strength lies in its network of supporters.

What are TARGET's goals?

Each day, 8,000 girls are robbed of their genitals and therefore of their dignity. That is one girl every eleven seconds. Throughout the world, 150 million women are affected. TARGET wants to put an end to this crime.

FGM is practised mainly in African countries – and has been, in some places, for over 5,000 years, regardless of religion and nationality.

How does TARGET work?

Since the justification for Female Genital Mutilation is given, incorrectly, by reference to holy texts and religious duty and the majority of victims are Muslim girls and women, we believe our best chance to end this bloody custom can be found in the strength of Islam itself.

TARGET’s “Pro-Islamic Alliance against Female Genital Mutilation” aims to set out clearly that the custom, wherever practised, is incompatible with the Qur’an and with the ethics of Islam, discriminates against Islam, amounts to presumption in God’s name and is a sin. Leading Islamic authorities have endorsed the alliance.

TARGET’s vision is to bring the Azhar decision to all mosques throughout the world and eventually to have a ban on Female Genital Mutilation proclaimed in Mecca. For the wellbeing of women; in honour of Islam; in praise of Allah; and, last but not least, as thanks from Rüdiger Nehberg for the highly cultivated Islamic hospitality he has received and that has twice saved his and his friends’ lives. He now has a binding obligation.

What are TARGET’s achievements so far?

  • The breakthrough: in November 2006 in the Azhar University in Cairo, TARGET, together with eminent Islamic scholars, organised an “International Conference of Islamic Scholars against Female Genital Mutilation” under the patronage of the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Prof Dr Ali Gom’a. The outcome made history and amounts to a defining fatwa and a legal document. “Female genital mutilation is a criminal offence. It is contrary to the highest values of Islam”.
  • The Afar people ( Ethiopia, population 1.6 million) back in 2002 declared Female Genital Mutilation to be a sin at the “1 st Desert Conference” organised by TARGET. They are the first people to draw effective legal consequences for their people from the Cairo fatwa. The Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs for the Afar People together with all clan leaders set down on 6 July 2007 the sanction for Female Genital Mutilation in tribal law: “A legal obligation to report parents and blood money from the circumcisers”. TARGET as a result is allowed to hang a large metal plaque with photographs of prominent members of the Afar community in front of the mosque at the entrance to Samara, the new capital of the Afar province. The VIPs declare their support for the message that stands resplendent on the plaque in four languages: “Female Genital Mutilation is a sinful deed”!
  • Decisive “Desert Conferences” in Djibouti and Mauritania (2004) involving political and religious tribal leaders led to outlawing Female Genital Mutilation. TARGET has been given permission to hang a transparency bearing the fatwa against Female Genital Mutilation in front of the seventh largest holy shrine of Islam, a pilgrims’ mosque in the Mauritanian desert.

Why do Muslims trust TARGET?

  • Because TARGET from the start and contrary to the zeitgeist has always believed that the best chance to put an end to the custom can be found in the strength of Islam itself.
  • Because TARGET has co-operated from the beginning with the highest Islamic authorities.
  • Because we come in friendship, respectfully and free from any missionary or “western” ulterior motives.