And such a challenge would likely fall on deaf ears anyway, given the “Muslim view” that birth defects arising from such marriages are “a consequence of Allah’s will, and they may therefore approach it with fatalism.”
“Rise in marriages between cousins ‘is putting children’s health at risk,'” by Frances Gibb in The Times, March 20 (thanks to Kris):
The dangers of marriage between first cousins are to be highlighted by a leading professor, with a warning that their children are at risk of genetic defects.
Baroness Deech, a family law professor and crossbencher, will call next week for a “vigorous” public campaign to deter the practice, which is prevalent in Muslim and immigrant communities and on the rise. She will reignite a debate started five years ago when Ann Cryer, MP for Keighley, drew attention to the number of disabled babies being born in the town and called for cousin marriage to be stopped.
Fifty-five per cent of British Pakistanis are married to first cousins and in Bradford the figure is 75 per cent. British Pakistanis represent 3 per cent of all births in Britain but one third of children with recessive disorders. […]
“The local estimate was that 75 per cent of Bradford disabled children had cousin parents and the rate of cousin marriage in the UK Pakistani community is increasing,” Lady Deech will say. […]
Yet there are cultural differences or ignorance about disabled children, she says. Women may be blamed in some minority cultures for being childless or having disabled children; while the “Muslim view . . . is that it is a consequence of Allah’s will, and they may therefore approach it with fatalism”. […]
She says: “There is no reason, one could argue, why there should not be a campaign to highlight the risks and the preventative measures, every bit as vigorous as those centring on smoking, obesity and Aids.” While there was reluctance to “target or upset Muslims over cousin-marriage issues” the practice was not mandated by religion, only permitted, so it is not at heart a religious issue, she argues….