Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Islam & Inbreeding

Another lovely tradition in the Muslim community (besides Qu'ran mandated beating of your wife, honor killing your daughters and cutting out your daughter's genitalia) is inbreeding. Yet another backward tradition that no one wants to discuss for fear they'll be perceived as "culturally insensitive."

"...Mr Woolas, [Britain's Environment Minister that is now facing calls to resign], insisted that he had a duty to raise the subject of cousin marriage - which is legal in the UK - based on cultural and not religious grounds. He was backed by fellow Labour MP Ann Cryer, who represents Keighley, West Yorkshire.

She warned that parts of the Pakistani community are in denial about soaring rates of genetic defects among children born to first-cousin marriages.

Mrs Cryer said as many as eight out of ten transcontinental marriages in Bradford were between cousins and could have "tragic" impacts.

She first raised the issue more than two years ago after research showed British Pakistanis were 13 times more likely to have children with recessive disorders than the general population.

On Radio 4's Today programme yesterday, she said: "The vast majority of marriages in the Muslim community in Bradford, 80 per cent, are transcontinental.

"The vast majority of those are to cousins. Many of those do result in either infant mortality or in recessive disorders."

Asked if the problem was recognised in the British Pakistani community, she said: "They are in denial. But I am hoping that now we have broken the silence, leaders will start to have a debate about it and perhaps even give advice and say 'Look you can carry on marrying your cousins, but there is a price to pay'.

"The price to pay is often in either babies being born dead, babies being born very early and babies being born with very severe genetically transmitted disorders.

"This is a blight on that community, but particularly on specific families."

Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College London, backed the calls to raise public awareness. He said, in general, mortality and disability almost doubled among marriages between cousins..." (source)

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