Thursday, November 17, 2005

Time to ban marriages between cousins?

A British MP is raising the issue of banning marriages between cousins, a practice that is common among Muslims in many parts of the world, and is widespread in Muslim immigrant communities even in Europe. Marriage between close relatives greatly increases the risk of birth defects and should be discouraged in every possible way. The claim that this has "nothing to do with Islam" is nonsense. Muhammad himself married his cousin, and married off his daughter Fatima to her cousin Ali:

Experts: Inbreeding main cause of Arab infant mortality

After lowering infant mortality rates among Arabs in western Galilee through the reduction of neonatal infections, early detection and encouraging abortions of fetuses with major and lethal congenital defects, public health experts are now focusing on the last main cause of babies' deaths in this population: inbreeding. Dr. Avshalom Strulov of the University of Haifa's Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Studies and of the Health Ministry's Northern District health office reports in the August issue of the Israel Medical Association Journal about efforts to discourage Arab first cousins and other close relatives from marrying. Such consanguineous marriages, he writes, "are not part of the Islamic religion" and are indeed harmful since they lead to the conception of fetuses with serious inherited diseases. The district health office has initiated a project in areas with large Arab populations that includes study days for health personnel, initiation of reports against inbreeding in the Arabic-language mass media, and encouragement of Muslim religious leaders to declare in mosques that this practice is likely to produce defective children. Most of the activity, however, recruits elementary and high-school teachers in the Arab sector who speak to pupils about the dangers of marrying close relatives.

Ban Asian marriages of cousins, says MP

Marriages between cousins should be banned after research showed alarming rates in defective births among Asian communities in Britain, a Labour MP said last night. The report, commissioned by Ann Cryer, revealed that the Pakistani community accounted for 30 per cent of all births with recessive disorders, despite representing 3.4 per cent of the birth rate nationwide. It is estimated that more than 55 per cent of British Pakistanis are married to first cousins, resulting in an increasing rate of genetic defects and high rates of infant mortality. The likelihood of unrelated couples having the same variant genes that cause recessive disorders are estimated to be 100-1. Between first cousins, the odds increase to as much as one in eight. In Bradford, more than three quarters of all Pakistani marriages are believed to be between first cousins. The city's Royal Infirmary Hospital has identified more than 140 different recessive disorders among local children, compared with the usual 20-30.

Question: Is it better or preferable for a Muslim to marry someone he is not related to rather than a relative?

The basic principle is that marriage is permissible. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) married Zaynab bint Jahsh who was the daughter of his paternal aunt, and he gave his daughter Zaynab in marriage to Abu’l-‘Aas who was the son of her maternal aunt, and ‘Ali married Faatimah, and he was the son of her father’s paternal uncle.

Saudi Arabia Awakes to the Perils of Inbreeding

Across the Arab world today an average of 45 percent of married couples are related, according to Dr. Nadia Sakati, a pediatrician and senior consultant for the genetics research center at King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh. In some parts of Saudi Arabia, particularly in the south, where Mrs. Hefthi was raised, the rate of marriage among blood relatives ranges from 55 to 70 percent, among the highest rates in the world, according to the Saudi government. Widespread inbreeding in Saudi Arabia has produced several genetic disorders, Saudi public health officials said, including the blood diseases of thalassemia, a potentially fatal hemoglobin deficiency, and sickle cell anemia. Spinal muscular atrophy and diabetes are also common, especially in the regions with the longest traditions of marriage between relatives. Dr. Sakati said she had also found links between inbreeding and deafness and muteness.

Cousins, forced marriages and blind children

Habib Zada is a photographer but his two children, one-year-old Zaki and six-year-old Harez, will never see his pictures. Born from an arranged marriage between blood relatives, they are both blind - the victims of an ingrained tradition, like many handicapped youngsters in Afghanistan. The United Nations estimates between 800,000 and 2 million Afghans suffer from a disability. A quarter were caused by Afghanistan's 25 years of war but specialists are slowly coming to the conclusion that many of the rest result from arranged interfamilial marriages. Masooda Jalal, Afghanistan's new minister for women, who is also a pediatrician, said: "More than 13 years ago I remember a survey that said that hundreds of thousands of Afghans were mentally disabled." According to the survey "intermarriages were the first cause of this disability", she said. "Afghan culture is like this. The daughter should not go away," said her mother Rahila as she cuddles little Zaki. Poverty is another factor, with families marrying among themselves to avoid paying a large dowry, both Jalal and Azimi maintain.

Dhimmitude in Holland: No ban on marriages between cousins

"Despite a higher risk of birth defects, marriages and eventual offspring from unions between nephews and nieces will not be banned in the Netherlands." Why not? "Marriages between cousins are particularly common in Turkish and Moroccan communities and [Health Minister Hans] Hoogervorst said a ban would be 'disproportionate' and impossible to enforce."


At November 17, 2005 8:05 AM, Blogger pølsemannen said...

Well, amazingly(?) enough Sweden is still allowing marriages between cousins.
Link(PDF Swedish):
Maybe ethnic Swedes aren't banging their cousins anymore (I haven't done anything of the sort with my Swedish cousins), but I suppose cousin marriages are still allowed in order to satisfy the quite large muslim minority in the country.

At November 17, 2005 1:05 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Pølsemannen: Is it amazing that Al-Swedenistan is appeasing Muslims? But in this case, Norway is just as bad. Proposals have been made to ban the practice, but they haven't been adopted yet.

At November 17, 2005 3:43 PM, Blogger Esther said...

Muhammad may have married his cousin, but the bible is full of such close family marriages, and yet nobody claims that it has to do with Judaism, or Christianity.

Close family marriages are very common among all religions in the Caucus, for example. I think it is more of a social/cultural norm than a religious one.

In this case, the state must decide whether they're willing to bear the financial aspects of such marriages compared to letting people do as they please. When it comes to incense, the states have decides to forbid it, despite being people who obviously think differently.

At November 17, 2005 3:43 PM, Blogger Reliapundit said...

This VERY UN-PC issue is nevertheless probably a ROOT CAUSE of many pervasive problems in the Muslim world. CORRECTABLE PROBLEMS. I've written about this
extensively, and gotten MANY hits/links on these posts due to the research in them.

Check em out!

At November 17, 2005 6:56 PM, Blogger Don Miguel said...


That's not nice! You've insulted a lot of people when you should have specified only Arkansas and parts of Tennessee. :)


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