THE GOLDEN BOOK in Ethiopia
Conference in Addis Ababa
TARGET presented the GOLDEN BOOK on 15 and 16 April 2009 in Addis Ababa as part of the International Conference of Scholars on “The GOLDEN BOOK for East Africa”. Together with the Ethiopian Council for Islamic Affairs, TARGET invited delegates from Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somaliland and Sudan.
The 100 eminent religious representatives finally gave their unanimous backing to the GOLDEN BOOK after long, controversial and emotionally charged discussions and have made it the basis of an awareness campaign
In September 2009 50,000 GOLDEN BOOKS arrived in Addis Ababa. The Ethiopian Council then expressed its wish to have the contents translated into Amharish, Afaraf and Somali for the respective regions and printed as a supplement. In that way the book and its supplement can be distributed extensively to the mosques. We began printing the accompanying booklets in 2010.
In June 2010, the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs of Ethiopia reassured TARGET in a statement of intent saying that “in order to ensure the success of the action, we solemnly agree to support all efforts in every way possible”
First sermons and their effect
The first sermon using the GOLDEN BOOK took place before the Ethiopian faithful on 17 April 2009 during Friday prayers in the Sheikh Shogolle Mosque in Addis Ababa. The Afar village of Barachele had its premiere on Friday 24 April 2009.
Success came swiftly: Mariam, a circumciser in the Afar region, heard the message from the GOLDEN BOOK and decided to give up her activity on the spot so that she, along with other colleagues, could campaign to abolish the custom. In the Afar region, circumcisers are almost always also midwives so they know where girls are born. The aim of the erstwhile circumciser: henceforth no girl should be mutilated because it is a sin. The women now refuse requests from parents to mutilate girls and instead explain all the negative consequences of the custom. The local leader in the area is on their side. Likewise, TARGET offered its support. After just ten weeks, in September, we received Mariam’s report: 60 girls had been spared mutilation. The mothers had sworn by Allah not to have their daughters mutilated and to allow this to be verified at any time. The initiator of the action, Mariam, chose as the first girl to be spared mutilation her own granddaughter (!).
Sheikh Darassa of the Afar people, who has since become deputy Chairman of the Ethiopian Council, participated back in November 2006 in TARGET’s Conference in Azhar in Cairo (Egypt). He has been a staunch ally of TARGET since the first Desert Conference organised by TARGET in 2002.
ProSieben has dedicated a “Galileo Special” programme to TARGET’s Ethiopian Campaign.
First broadcast on 20 December 2009