UK Health: Dangers of “Muslim Inbreeding”

UK: Minister Warns Of “Muslim Inbreeding”

Posted by Giraldus Cambrensis at February 10, 2008 8:30 PM

News from the Sunday Times, also picked up by the Telegraph revisits a theme we mentioned here in November 2005 – inbreeding amongst Pakistani-origin Muslims. This time an environment minister, Phil Woolas, has brought attention to the problem, calling it “an elephant in the room”.

Woolas, a former race relations minister, said: “If you have a child with your cousin the likelihood is there’ll be a genetic problem. The issue we need to debate is first cousin marriages, whereby a lot of arranged marriages are with first cousins, and that produces lots of genetic problems in terms of disability [in offspring of such unions].”

Back in November 2005, only Ann Cryer, MP for Keighley and Ilkley, seemed concerned enough to bring the matter to the attention of parliament. She has said earlier today that cousin marriage was “to do with a medieval culture where you keep wealth within the family. If you go into a paediatric ward in Bradford or Keighley you will find more than half of the kids there are from the Asian community. Since Asians only represent 20 per to 30 per cent of the population, you can see that they are over-represented.”

This is what we wrote in November 2005:

No, this is not a racist attack on Pakistani Muslims, but a sign that something is severely wrong with the traditional arranged marriages practised by many Muslims in Britain who have Pakistani origins.UK Member of Parliament for Keighley and Ilkley, Ann Cryer, has urged British Asians to stop marrying their cousins, state both the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph. The results of a report she has commissioned make for alarming reading. Even though Pakistani births represent 3.4% of births nationally, the incidence of recessive disorders from this group accounts for 30% of all births nationally with these traits.

Speaking on BBC’s Newsnight, she said “We address problems of smoking, drinking, obesity and we say it’s a public health issue, therefore we have to get involved with persuading people to adopt a different lifestyle. I think this should be applied to the Asian community. They must look outside the family for husbands and wives for their young people.”

“There is something very wrong going on. I think the sooner we start to have a debate and we start to encourage the Asian community to address it themselves by saying we have to stop this tradition of first-cousin marriages.”

The Telegraph states that more than 55% of British Pakistanis are married to first cousins, and in areas such as Bradford, more than 75% of all Pakistani marriages involve first cousin unions. Most hospitals record 20-30 different recessive disorders amongst local children, but Bradford’s Royal Infirmary has identified more than 140.

The variant genes which account for recessive defects are, in a normal union, only estimated to be present in a child of such a union in a likelihood of 100 to 1. In cases of marriages of first cousins, the odds increase to one in eight.

Trevor Philips, the Chairman of the UK’s Racial Equality Commission argued in September that Britain was already developing in its urban areas segregated ghettoes. Migration Watch has said that arranged marriages between people originated from the Indian sub-continent, marrying imported spouses from the subcontinent, were fueling this segregation.

Arranged marriages also take place between Hindus and SIkhs who in similar ways regularly import spouses from the Indian sub-continent to Britain. The issue of recessive disorders not occurring so frequently in these unions is probably because marriage between first cousins from these communities is frowned upon.

Habits which are ingrained will be hard to break. The Telegraph quotes one Pakistani British citizen. She says of her marriage to her cousin “You have an understanding, you have the same family history. It’s just a nicer emotional feel.”

Now, Ann Cryer is urging the National Health Service to be more proactive in warning Asian families of the dangers of cousin marriage. She said: “I have encountered cases of blindness and deafness. There was one poor girl who had to have an oxygen tank on her back and breathe from a hole in the front of her neck. The parents were warned they should not have any more children. But when the husband returned again from Pakistan, within months they had another child with exactly the same condition.”

The Sunday Times points to medical research which finds that although British of Pakistani origins account for 3% of total births in Britain, they nonetheless account for one in three children born in Britain who suffer a genetic illness.

The Telegraph states that more than 55% of British Pakistanis are married to their first cousins. With the high incidence of shared recessive genes leading to birth defects and congenital illness, the only explanation for the rise of such conditions is through inbreeding, much of which has gone on for generations.

It is estimated that the chance of an unrelated couple having the same variant gene that causes such disorders is 1 in 100. Within first cousin marriages, these rise to one in eight. It stands to reason that if the parents of the couple themselves belong to a line of individuals who “traditionally” engage in cousin marriage, the odds of having a birth with recessive disorders would increase further still.

Bradford is said to have 75% of its Pakistani-origin marriages being between first cousins. The Telegraph mentions that Indian doctors last year published a study in Neurology Asia, which found that there was a “significantly higher rate” of epilepsy amongst the offspring of blood relatives. The study, entitled “Arranged Marriage, Consanguinity and Epilepsy” by M. M. Mehndiratta, B. Paul and P. Mehndiratta, can be downloaded as a pdf document here.

Arranged marriage, as I have repeatedly stressed, is closely connected to issues of forced marriage and honor violence. If Muslims who come to this country do not abandon this anti-libertarian custom for the sake of their future offspring, then perhaps it is time to outlaw arranged marriage or make it more difficult to achieve. There are plans by the government to make forced marriage easier to confront, though whether these will be successful will remain to be seen.

In the Netherlands, arranged marriage is not illegal, but according to the Times of October 13, 2005: “People can bring in a husband or wife only once they are 24 years old, and do not depend on welfare benefits. The measures are aimed at curbing international arranged marriages.” Such a measure, introduced in Britain, could stop people importing brides or husbands from Pakistan, but could increase the number of girls forced to go to Pakistan to marry.

Ultimately, the best solution would be for Pakistani immigrants who currently isolate themselves in self-created ghettoes to abandon their reliance upon rural traditions. It is not fair on their children, nor on their children’s children, to perpetuate arranged marriage. There must come a time when immigrant cultures decide to become part of the society they moved to. Pakistani and also Bangladeshi communities have resolutely failed to do so, and have helped to create the “no-go areas” for non-Muslims, which were mentioned by Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester.

Despite its support from members of the Muslim Council Britain, such as Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari and Inayat Bunglawala, arranged marriages are not part of British culture and should not be celebrated in the name of “multiculturalism”. In rural Pakistan, where such customs originate, the treatment of women is appalling. How can one tell where an “arranged” marriage becomes a “forced marriage“? If taxpayers will have to pay for the care of the offspring of couples who engaged in inbreeding, the problem is no longer something that is an “Asian” issue – it will impact upon the rest of British society.


Posted by Giraldus Cambrensis at February 10, 2008 8:30 PM

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