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Annette and Rüdiger Nehberg presenting THE GOLDEN BOOK with Stefanie Silber who designed the book
Annette and Rüdiger Nehberg presenting THE GOLDEN BOOK with Stefanie Silber who designed the book

THE GOLDEN BOOK – The centrepiece of TARGET’s action

Basic background

The GOLDEN BOOK is a precious object that TARGET hopes to distribute exclusively and free of charge to the prayer leaders in the mosques throughout the 35 countries where female genital mutilation is still common. It forms the basis for TARGET of a huge awareness campaign (see “The Campaign”). The GOLDEN BOOK is based on the “International Conference of Islamic Scholars” held at Al-Azhar in Cairo (Egypt) at TARGET’s instigation. The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Prof Dr Ali Gom’a, was its patron. Al-Azhar is a mosque and a university as well as being the spiritual home of Sunni Islam. In the course of the conference, eminent Muslim theologians proscribed female genital mutilation as a “criminal offence” that is not in keeping with their religion. This was set in stone in the “Cairo fatwa”. A fatwa is a binding religious ruling. Fatwas from Al-Azhar are highly considered and very influential throughout the Muslim world. The GOLDEN BOOK can even be considered a piece of Islamic history. TARGET conceived the idea in collaboration with Al-Azhar. The introduction is by the Grand Mufti, Prof Dr Ali Gom’a.


The first edition (10,000 copies) of TARGET’s GOLDEN BOOK was published in four languages (Arabic, French, English and German). It contains the “Cairo fatwa” as well as excerpts from the speeches that these high-ranking Islamic scholars and doctors gave during the Azhar conference. In addition there is information on the consequences of female genital mutilation. Colour pictures serve as illustrative material for the illiterate. There are photographs of the Al-Azhar conference, too. The second edition of the book (100,000 copies) has been printed in three languages: Arabic, French and English..

Target groups

The GOLDEN BOOK should be used by prayer leaders in the mosques as the basis for sermons. Universities, Women’s Human Rights groups and Qur’anic Schools may also have copies of the book. It is not for sale however.


The GOLDEN BOOK has been designed to be a precious object in keeping with its contents: the cover is in green faux leather, with an overlapping envelope-effect magnetic clasp and the towers of Al-Azhar embossed in gold. The paper is high quality with rounded corners and gold edging and the print is dark green. There is also a ribbon bookmark. Throughout the book there are small decorations that are based on architectural features of Al-Azhar. The expensive presentation serves to emphasise the value of the GOLDEN BOOK. It belongs next to, and should stand beside, the Qur’an. TARGET came up with the concept of the GOLDEN BOOK and created it together with Stefanie Silber.


2008: 10,000 copies in four languages
100,000 copies in three languages
from GGP-Media in Pößneck (Thuringia).
Total print run: potentially four million.

Translations into local languages
Amharic: 35,000
Afaraf: 12,500
Somali: 12,500


TARGET is funding the GOLDEN BOOKS and their distribution to all mosques. The organisation financed the first edition (10,000 copies) with an initial aid of 50,000 Euro. Each book protects girls in the mosque’s community.


In 2009 the GOLDEN BOOK was awarded the globally coveted “reddot” design award for excellent and innovative design.

Future developments

TARGET intends translating the contents of the GOLDEN BOOK into the most important local languages as well. These extra texts will supplement the GOLDEN BOOK. The booklets in the Ethiopian local languages Amharish, Afaraf and Somali were printed earlier in 2010. The fatwa from scholar Yusuf Al-Qaradawi (Qatar) has also been included.

TARGET has also produced a GOLDED DVD. It contains short film clips of statements by the most eminent Islamic scholars and doctors against female genital mutilation. Also included are key moments during the TARGET conference. The DVD will be produced in line with specific needs in each individual country and complements the GOLDEN BOOK.


Our thanks go to …
- Stefanie Silber (www.silbergestalten.de) for designing the book free of charge
- Bernd Meissner for setting the Arabic and Amharish texts (they share the same characters)
- Udo Sengstock from Bertelsmann-Tochter GGP-Media for his support at creating this unusual book
- GGP-Media for their reasonable prices
- ITM worldwide Logistics GmbH, in particular Jan Meyer, for his voluntary work in supporting our exports to Africa.