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from setting up to the present day





Rüdiger Nehberg and two friends travel with camels for 4 ½ months through the Danakil desert in Ethiopia. Civil war breaks out. On two occasions, his Muslim hosts save Nehberg’s life by physically protecting him when he is attacked. Since then he has felt an affinity with Islam. He meets Aischa, a Nomad woman, and learns from her about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) for the first time.
Struggle for the survival of the Yanomami Indians in Brazil
Nehberg witnesses an impending genocide: 65,000 gold-diggers against 20,000 Indians. He decides to help.
From a pastry cook life transforms him into a human rights activist. In 1990 he sells his pastry shop and involves himself in some spectacular campaigns for the rights of Indians.
When the Yanomami obtain an acceptable peace settlement in 2000, he looks for a new challenge.
He finds it in the shape of the fight against Female Genital Mutilation.

1999  Beginning of the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)   What happens to the author of the book “Desert Flower” illustrates to Nehberg the full extent of this crime. He decides to take action against the practice. His experiences of the Yanomami Indians’ 20-year-long struggle against genocide in Brazil and his knowledge of Islam come to his aid.

2000  Founding of TARGET   Existing human rights organisations are unwilling to join forces with Nehberg and support his strategy of venturing to take up the struggle in partnership with Islam. He therefore founds his own organisation and calls it TARGET.
He is supported by his partner, Annette Weber, and five friends. From that moment on, they work exclusively as a team.

2001  Early investigations   Nehberg and Weber begin their investigations in Ethiopia. They document the mutilation of Christians and Muslims in order to present those responsible with the full horror of these acts.
  Pro-Islamic Alliance   Founding of the “Pro-Islamic Alliance against Female Genital Mutilation” so that action can be taken against this thousand-year-old crime, in partnership with Islam. The majority of victims are Muslim women; the most frequently heard false justification: “It’s in the Qur’an”.

2002  Sultan Ali Mirah gives permission for a tribal Conference
  First visit to Sultan Ali Mirah Hanfary,
the religious leader of the Afar people in the Danakil desert (Ethiopia). He lifts the veil of silence on the issue of FGM and gives TARGET permission to hold a conference for all 60 of his tribal leaders.
  1st TARGET Desert Conference with the Afar people in Ethiopia   Rüdiger meets Ali Mekla in Osnabrück. Ali is Afar with German nationality and therefore an authority on his people. He takes on the organisation of the conference.
After two days’ discussions, the tribal leaders decide on 1.2.2002 to put a stop to FGM.
They declare the practice to be a sin and incorporate this into sharia law.
  Letter of thanks   The Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs acknowledges the conference as an historic turning point for his people in a letter of thanks to Nehberg and Weber.
  Fostering   Rüdiger and Annette agree to foster Amina, a young girl who has not spoken since being mutilated.
  Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany   Nehberg is awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his 20 year long commitment to the survival of the Yanomami Indians (Brazil) and for his work in partnership with Islam against Female Genital Mutilation.
  Conversation with Grand Sheikh Tantawi   he German Embassy in Cairo arranges an initial meeting with the Egyptian Minister of Religious Affairs, Prof Dr Zakzouk. He in turn facilitates a conversation with the senior Representative of the Azhar University, Grand Sheikh Prof Dr Mohamed Sayyid Tantawi. The latter sets down in writing and declares to the camera that FGM is un-islamic. He writes TARGET the first Fatwa on 13.7.2002 (religious ruling).
  "Weitsicht" Prize   Nehberg is awarded the “Weitsichtpreis” in Frankfurt for his commitment to the Yanomami Indians and the fight against FGM.

2003  Construction and transportation of the mobile hospital   By way of thanks for the success of the first TARGET Desert Conference, TARGET offers the Afar people of Ethiopia a mobile hospital. It comprises two 4 x 4 vehicles, a German woman doctor, a nurse and seven Ethiopian assistants. Headquarters are set up in the city of Mekele.

2004  Mauritania:
2nd TARGET Desert Conference
  The Grand Mufti Hamden Ould Tah and his advisors endorse the ban on FGM and write TARGET the second Fatwa on 28.7.2004.
  Banner hung in front of the shrine   TARGET is given permission to hang the Fatwa on a large banner in front of the pilgrims’ mosque in Chinguetti, the seventh largest Islamic shrine in the world.
  Honorary citizens   Nehberg and Weber become honorary citizens of Chinguetti.
3rd TARGET Desert Conference
  On 8. 8.2004 the Afar people of Djibouti endorse the decision taken by their Ethiopian compatriots. Sultan Abdelkader Mohamed Humad writes the third Fatwa.
  Press conference in Hamburg for the “Caravan of Hope”   Hamden Ould Tah and three aides arrive in Hamburg in December 2004 and pass through the city centre with a small caravan presenting the “Caravan of Hope” for Mauritania.
The event is held under the patronage of Hamburg’s First Mayor, Ole von Beust, from the CDU party.

2005  “Caravan of Hope”   Together with 14 camels and ten Mauritanian guides, Nehberg and Weber travel from oasis to oasis on behalf of the Grand Mufti of Mauritania to spread the word about the recent announcement on FGM. The message is written in white letters on the green background of the banners.
  Important Federal Supreme Court of Justice decision   The German Federal Supreme Court announces an important decision (as a result of a TARGET initiative): if girls of foreign nationality living in Germany are at risk of being mutilated in their home country, their parents face losing their right to decide on their daughter(s)’ place of residence (File number: XII ZB 166/03).

2006  Mauritanian President   The new Head of State, Ely Ould Mohamed Vall, invites Nehberg to meet him and outlaws FGM by decree.
  Sewing machine project - Mauritania   TARGET begins a pilot scheme to train as dressmakers seven women who were previously circumcisers.
  Foster girl moves   The foster girl, Amina, and a friend move to Addis Abeba where they can receive better schooling.
  Pioneering Cairo Conference!   Under the patronage of the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Prof. Dr. Ali Gom'a, the leading Sunni Islamic expert, TARGET is allowed to convene an International Conference of Scholars against FGM in the Azhar Conference Centre bringing together the top representatives of Islam worldwide.
  Fatwa against FGM   On 24.11.06 the scholars declare FGM to be a “criminal offence against the highest values of Islam” and therefore a sin. This event is unprecedented in the history of religion.
  Honorary citizens of the Afar   The Afar make Nehberg and Weber honorary citizens of their people.
  “Caravan of Hope” book   Rüdiger Nehberg and Annette Weber’s book, “Karawane der Hoffnung – Mit dem Islam gegen den Schmerz und das Schweigen“ (“Caravan of hope – United with Islam against pain and silence”) is published on the second day of the Cairo Conference.

2007  Hamburg “Citizen’s Award”   Nehberg is awarded the “Bürgerpreis” (“citizen’s award”) of the city of Hamburg.
  Two awards for the TARGET film   The GOLD AWARD and the SPECIAL AWARD won at the World Media Festival for the documentary film „Die ,Sache‘ - Feldzug gegen ein Tabu“ (“The ‘matter’ – Campaign against a taboo” illustrating TARGET’s fight against FGM.
  B.A.U.M. Award   In Berlin, Nehberg receives the international B.A.U.M. Special Award. German Federal President, Horst Köhler, receives Nehberg and Weber and pays tribute to their success in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation.

2008  Orders of Merit   For outstanding work in the fight against FGM, Ruediger Nehberg was awarded the First Class Order of Merit and Annette Weber the Order of Merit.
  Distribution of a book against FGM   Following TARGET’s Scholars’ Conference, Egypt’s Minister of Religious Affairs, Prof Dr Zakzouk, has announced that a small book against FGM has been distributed to 90,000 Egyptian mosques.

2009  Sheikh Prof Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawi   Audience with Sheikh Prof Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawi (Qatar), chairman of the International Union for Muslim Scholars. In March, on TARGET’s initiative, he issues a clear and unambiguous fatwa, calling for an end to FGM, and even declaring it the work of the devil.
  THE GOLDEN BOOK for East Africa  

In April, over 100 high-ranking delegates from East Africa participate in the conference THE GOLDEN BOOK for East Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Qaradawi’s fatwa proves pivotal for the success of the conference.

  • 50,000 GOLDEN BOOKS are delivered to Ethiopia.
  • THE GOLDEN BOOK is awarded the most prestigious German design award reddot.
  • The German TV channel ProSieben shows the documentary, Karawane der Hoffnung (Caravan of Hope), about our education campaign THE GOLDEN BOOK. It is broadcasted in December as a special in the popular “Galileo”-series.

2010  Maternity Clinic   Construction works start on the maternity clinic in the Ethiopian Danakil Desert in the Afar region. TARGET is supported by the German professional association of gynaecologists, Berufsverband der Frauenärzte (BVA).

Printing 60,000 books in the Ethiopian national language Amharic and in the local languages Afaraf as well as Somali to accompany THE GOLDEN BOOK.

  Caravan of Hope   The ProSieben TV documentary Karawane der Hoffnung (Caravan of Hope) is awarded the Adolf-Grimme-Prize and the Rose d’Or.

2011  Special Exhibition   Special exhibition on FGM of TARGET opens in the Völkerkundemuseum (Museum of Ethnology) in Hamburg
  THE GOLDEN BOOK for Djibouti  

TARGET holds two conferences in the important Issa-towns Arta and Ali Sabieh as a, for now, last step of the project THE GOLDEN BOOK for Djibouti.

  Sheikh Prof Dr Muhammad Said Ramadan Al-Buti.   Audience with Sheikh Prof Dr Muhammad Said Ramadan Al-Buti, the world’s most renowned scholar of the Shafi’i Law School, Damaskus. He formulates a Shafi’ite fatwa for the protection of the endangered girls.

2012  THE GOLDEN BOOK for Guinea-Bissau   Preparation of the conference “THE GOLDEN BOOK for Guinea-Bissau” in cooperation with Bernadette Albrecht, Weltfriedensdienst.
  Jungle Clinic Waiapí  

Festive opening of the Jungle Clinic Waiapí in Brazil.

  Maternity Clinic in the Dankalia Desert   The Maternity Clinic in the Dankalia Desert is partly “key-ready”.