Rare birth defects common in Gaza due to inbreeding

From CNN thank you Islam in Europe

The video I include here from CNN has an interesting aspect to it. They discuss how the quaint practice of Muslim first cousin marriage is responsible for all these birth defects, and they point out that these people may not attend school past a certain young age because Muslims will not allow girls to have an education, yet somehow, CNN manages to leave the distinct impression that its all Israel’s fault.


Rare gender identity defect hits Gaza families

Until last summer Ahmed was living as a girl called Ola and posed for this family photo.

Until last summer Ahmed was living as a girl called Ola and posed for this family photo.


  • High frequency of rare disorder in Gaza; boys born with recessed reproductive organs
  • They often live as girls until puberty when their true sex becomes apparent
  • They often need complicated sex-change surgery to live normal lives
  • Doctor says prevalence of the condition in Gaza is down to in-breeding

Editor’s Note: Watch Connect the World tonight 9pm GMT, 4pm ET.

Gaza City (CNN) — Two Palestinian teenagers stroll amid the mounds of rubble left by last year’s Israeli military offensive, listening to the tinny beat of a Turkish pop song playing on a cell phone.

Nadir Mohammed Saleh and Ahmed Fayiz Abed Rabo are cousins and next-door neighbors. With their gelled hair, buttoned-down shirts and jeans, they look much like any other 16-year-old Palestinian boy. But looks, Ahmed says, can be deceiving.

“Only my appearance, my haircut and clothing, makes me look like a boy,” Ahmed says, gesturing with his hands across his face. “Inside, I am like a female. I am a girl.”

Until last summer, both Nadir and Ahmed were — for all intents and purposes — girls. They wore female headscarves, attended girls’ school and even answered to the female first names Navin and Ola.

Both Nadir and Ahmed were born with a rare birth defect called male pseudohermaphrodism.

Deficiency of the hormone 17-B-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17-B-HSD) during pregnancy left their male reproductive organs deformed and buried deep within their abdomens.

At birth, doctors identified Nadir and Ahmed as girls, because they appeared to have female genitalia.

As a result, they spent the first 16 years of their lives dressing and acting like girls. It was a role that grew increasingly difficult to play, as they hit puberty and their bodies began generating testosterone, resulting in facial hair and increasingly masculine features.

“They used to travel by car to girls’ school and back,” says Nadir’s father Mohammed Sadih Ahmed Saleh. “Because of their facial hair, it was difficult for them to go out into the street. Psychologically they were distressed.”

Finally, on June 22, with the support of their families, both Nadir and Ahmed transformed themselves into boys.

“They transferred on the same day,” Saleh says. “Clothing, they switched to the other [boys’] school on the same day. They cut their hair on the same day. Both of them helped each other get through this crisis.”

There are an unusually high number of male pseudohermaphrodite births in the Gaza neighborhood of Jabalya, where Nadir and Ahmed live.

Dr. Jehad Abudaia, a Canadian-Palestinian pediatrician and urologist practicing in Gaza, says he has diagnosed nearly 80 cases like Nadir’s and Ahmed’s in the last seven years.

“It is astonishing that we have [so] many cases with this defect, which is very rare all over the world,” Abudaia says. He attributes the high frequency of this birth defect to “consanguinity,” or in-breeding.

“If you want to go to the root of the problem, this problem runs in families in the genes.” Abudaia says. “They want to get married to cousins… they don’t go to another family. This is a problem.”

In Western, more developed countries, doctors typically identify and then operate to correct disorders of sex differentiation at birth. But in war-torn Gaza, which has a lower standard of medical care, the birth defect can go undetected for years.

“Some of them unfortunately will be discovered late, when they are more than 14 years [old]. When they have been living as a female and they don’t have menstruation, then they will go to the gynecologist,” Abudaia says.

Abudaia’s first advice to patients with the disorder is to immediately adopt male clothing and hair cuts, and then to plan for a sex-change operation.

This unusual ritual has been performed several times in the extended family of Nadir and Ahmed, where sex differentiation is a recurring disorder.

Nadir’s 21-year-old brother Midyam and his 32-year-old cousin Ameen Abd Hamed share the same condition of male pseudohermaphrodism. As adolescents, they too underwent the gender identity transformation process the family refers to as “the transfer.”

The traumatizing experience is all the more difficult because Gaza is a socially-conservative society, where there is a fair amount of segregation between males and females.

“I sat down with Nadir and explained to him how to adapt to the street, how to sit with the guys and talk to them… because at the beginning his mental state was bad, just like what happened to me,” Ameen says.

“We did not understand what to do,” says Ahmed, one of the 16-year-olds. “It was a new life for us, as if we were born again.”

Though Nadir and Ahmed clearly have the love and support of their family, they say that is not enough. They are appealing to the international community to help them get the expensive and complicated sex-change operations they say they need to live normal lives.

“It’s the only obstacle and the source of all the problems,” Nadir says.

Until the sex-change operation is completed, Palestinian officials won’t change the gender on their identity cards to “male,” thus restricting their access to higher education.

In addition, Nadir and Ahmed complain of health problems like kidney infections due to complications resulting from the disfigurement of their genitalia.

“This is 100 percent a humanitarian issue,” says Nadir’s father, Mohammed. “There are four conditions in the same [extended] family. If we propose conducting the same operation on all four of them, the cost would be $30,000. We don’t have $30,000 and there is no advanced medicine in Gaza.”

Until then, these troubled Palestinians say their genders and their identities will remain in conflict, much like the land around them.

About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

11 Replies to “Rare birth defects common in Gaza due to inbreeding”

  1. Very strange story but I wonder how relevant it is to the overall content of your blog. To me it seems to be a very weird cheapshot attempt at painting Palestinians as “inbreeders” or degenerate perverts… truth or not it lowers your blog into muckracking territory and believe me if I thought you were a “report everything nasty” “suppress the good things” kindof blog I wouldn’t be here… let’s elevate the dialogue okay?

  2. Excellent observation. I posted this for two reasons.
    1. Islam itself is responsible for this condition, as Islam itself encourages and damn near insists on first cousin inbreeding. This has caused massive problems all over the Arabian Peninsula, and if you google a phrase something like: ‘Rare genetic disorders on rise in UK’ you will find it is because of Islam, despite every effort to remove that from the language and reports.
    2. This article shows that the two boys especially are double victims. One, of the rare disorder they suffer, and secondly because Hamas, a Muslim organisation will not allow them to get a proper education (Presumably in advanced chemistry and rocketry) as they are registered as girls and of course, Islam does not allow women to be educated. Yet somehow, CNN made it look like Israel is the problem and cause when it is in all matters, Islam. So while I appreciate and accept your comment at one level, this was my reasoning.
    Thank you for posting and for your vigilance. Even though I do not agree this was the case, I do agree with your criteria 100%.

  3. These “boys” are victims of their society’s mores, mentality and traditions, and those have nothing to do with Israel.

    Also, I do wonder how much of all that rubble was already in place long before last year’s IDF-retaliation campaign to stop the thousands of Qassams shot out of Gaza, and how much of it is due to secondary explosions of stockpiled Hamas ordinance.

  4. Reporting on the news is not delving into muckracking. Perhaps one of the most important aspects of this story is why Hamas and Palestinian authorities still allow young Palestinian children to be birthed by centuries old, idological inbreeding only to suffer, and why the funding of medical/health care is secondary only to the purchase of arms, rockets, tunnel-digging and mass anti-Israeli propaganda campaigns. I would think that Palestinians would be far better off if authorities in Gaza for once, considered building a nation which viewed it’s people worthy recipients of proper care.

  5. Yeah and you can always count on the Iranian state media to tell the truth about Israel. You know Iran? The place that denies the holocaust happened but is spending all it has to make the next one?
    As to the white phosphorus Israel not only did not use it illegally but according to many high ranking officers, waged the most compassionate military effort of all time. Clearly Israel is guilty of stupidity for doing so, but thats just who they are.

  6. why do these fucks ask you if you considered whether or not the “phosphorus” blah de blah caused the defects. That story clearly shows that the kid in the story’s uncle had the condition – and many other OLDER family members !! these aren’t newborn babies#1 – the problem is affecting a specific neighborhood and a specific family#2 – the doctor reporting the problem is PALESTINIAN and SAYS ITS GENETIC AND DUE TO INBREEDING – why would HE lie?#3 – what is wrong with peoplem, did they even read the article? were there even such things as depleted uranium weaponry 30 years ago when the uncle was born? if it was due to weapons wouldn’t everybody getting fucked up and not with the same condition within the same neighborhoods where everyone is related? DDDuuuuuHHHHHHHHH thats the IQ of the people with their stupid blaming everybody but the perpetrator mentalities !!! In iraq a city with a bunch of defects, that could be related to the weapons, complain but fail to mention that they bulldozed all the rubble & spent ammo into the water they use as drinking water !!! so was it in fact just the use of the weapons, or the fact that they dumped it in their water and DRINK it on a daily basis ?? alot of things can cause birth defects or cancer, but you have to actually consume it for it to be a problem !

  7. Fifty generations (1,400 years) of close-cousin marriage, i.e., “inbreeding,” has turned the “relationship coefficient” way, way up in the Muslim world (Arabian Peninsula and Pakistan most notably). Genetic mutations are now at a high frequency in the gene pool, yet it remains a relatively (no pun intended) untold story, probably due to various racial and political sensitivities.
    Even knowing the tremendous risks and cost to society, Muslims encourage and continue their deep tradition of close-cousin “inbreeding.” The story of these two Gaza teens with the terrible genetic mutation needs to be told, and this blogger disclosed their dreadful story evenhandedly.
    Because serious genetic disorders are so prevalent in the UK’s Pakistani community —  and so costly in every sense — the largely hidden and untold story of the consequences of consanguinity are slowly and painfully coming to light at long last.
    No personal disclosures and no disrespect intended.

  8. I pray for these children. It breaks my heart when I consider what their lives must haven been, and what they will be. I pray for our own children, that they will have the ability to think critically yet compassionately, and that they will be on a quest for truth … which, in the end, is the only thing that will keep them free.

    “The greatest tragedy in modern times is the culture of denial. The denial of facts, and the denial of reality.” – IQ al Rasooli

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