Second TARGET Desert Conference - Mauritania, Nouakchott,
The second TARGET desert conference took place under the
care of the Grand Mufti of Mauritania, his Eminence Hamden
Ould Tah. From the outset it was different, as the circle
of participants was small. This included:
- His Eminence Grand Mufti Hamden Ould Tah, first chairman
of the Mauritanian Scholars
- Dr. Haimoud Ould Ramdan, Minister for Justice
- Bal Mohamed El Bechir, Imam
- Baba Ould Mata, Scholar
- A doctor
- A feminist
- An interpreter
- 12 journalists
- Annette Weber
- Rüdiger Nehberg
- Rüdiger Schulz, Charge d'Affaires from the German
- Hubertus Spieker, Honorary Consul Mauritania
The conference was made substantially easier by TARGET's
references from Azhar University (see also Al-Azhar/Cairo),
a letter of recommendation from the German Orient Institute
in Hamburg, the six-minute film on the crime of Female Genital
Mutilation, the result of the first TARGET desert conference
in Ethiopia and the doctor's speech. He made unmistakeably
clear what massive harm this causes to women's health.
After a few hours of discussion, the Ethiopian decisions
Grand Mufti Hamden Ould Tah declared: "Female circumcision
is a tradition of pre-Islamic peoples, in no way a religious
command and unacceptable across the whole world."
The Minister for Justice guaranteed his help to accelerate
an already planned law. At that time, Female Genital Mutilation
was still legal. In the meantime it has taken place - under
head of state Ely Ould Muhammad Vall - by presidential decree
The daily newspaper L'Eveil recognised the conference on
03/08/2004 with the headline: "An Islamic Commitment!"
We experienced a particular vote of confidence when some
participants spontaneously announced their desire to join
TARGET. We declared them honorary members and awarded them
TARGET Medals of Honour (see "Medals of Honour"
menu item, left side).
As the crowning glory we were able to write the entire text
of the fatwa on a five-metre long banner and fly it on the
old pilgrim's mosque at Chinguetti. The mosque is the seventh
largest holy place of Islam. For TARGET, the festive act was
a general test for Mecca. Imam Abd-Er Rahim Hajji: "Not
even a poster has ever been allowed here before."
The City of Chinguetti awarded Annette Weber and Rüdiger
Nehberg with honorary citizenship (see link above).