The message this phenomenon sends is that tying any practice, however damaging, to the fear of offending Islamic sensibilities makes it virtually untouchable. That is what happens when there emerges within a society a privileged class that is placed beyond criticism out of fear or a misguided effort to win “hearts and minds.”
This is also exactly what has happened with Islamic supremacism and jihadist aspirations within Britain’s Muslim community. “It’s time to confront this taboo: First cousin marriages in Muslim communities are putting hundreds of children at risk,” by Sue Reid for the Daily Mail, June 3 (thanks to Zulu):
The man wept as he told how his beautiful, dark-eyed child died in a hospital cot with medical tubes snaking from his frail body as nurses fought unsuccessfully to save him. Sick with pneumonia, the two-year-old gave up the battle for life.
A rare tragedy, you might think, in modern Britain, with all the advances of medical science.
But in the terraced streets of Bradford, Yorkshire, a child’s death is anything but rare. At the boy”s inquest, coroner Mark Hinchliffe said Hamza Rehman had died because his Pakistan-born parents (shopkeeper Abdul and housewife Rozina) are first cousins. […]
A heartbroken Mr Rehman told the inquest that he and his wife were unsure whether to have any more children. The coroner expressed deep sympathy before saying that Hamza’s death should serve as a warning to others.
He said: “˜This highlights a cultural and religious issue relating to first-cousin marriages and the potential risk to children that some medical experts say can result from such unions.”
The coroner chose his words carefully, since he was addressing one of the most controversial “” and taboo “” subjects in multi-cultural Britain: marriage between cousins in the Muslim communities which has left hundreds, if not thousands, of children damaged or dead.
This week, leading geneticist Professor Steve Jones, of University College London, warned that “˜inbreeding” in Islamic communities was threatening the health of generations of children. […]
He said: “˜We should be concerned as there can be a lot of hidden genetic damage and children are much more likely to get two copies of a damaged gene.”
He highlighted Bradford as a city that was “˜very inbred”. […]
Are the MP”s words, and those of Professor Jones, inflammatory or simply a truth that needs to be aired?
Is what doctors are saying, and is what we are saying inflammatory? A Muslim writing for the Daily Mail, Saira Khan, says this: “Terrified of being branded Islamophobic, most people simply choose to ignore these issues and are more worried about causing offence than the plight of these poor, blameless children. But in keeping quiet out of a misplaced sense of political correctness, we are failing our own citizens.”
Is Saira Khan an Islamophobe?
Sadly, the facts speak for themselves. British Pakistanis, half of whom marry a first cousin (a figure that is universally agreed), are 13 times more likely to produce children with genetic disorders than the general population, according to Government-sponsored research.
One in ten children from these cousin marriages either dies in infancy or develops a serious life-threatening disability.
While British Pakistanis account for three per cent of the births in this country, they are responsible for 33 per cent of the 15,000 to 20,000 children born each year with genetic defects. […]
The problem is most serious in Bradford. A recent survey of 1,100 pregnant women in the city showed that 70 per cent have husbands who are first cousins “” a higher percentage than the average of 50 per cent among Pakistanis across the whole of Britain. […]
Many NHS doctors, while admitting privately there is a crisis, refuse to speak out for fear of being branded “˜racist”.
However, on Muslim websites the issue is discussed more freely. An Asian health worker wrote recently: “˜I went to two special schools in my city. One was for children with physical disabilities; the other with kids who had learning difficulties. […]
‘Of the six 16-year-olds at the second school, five were Pakistani and one was a Tamil. All had blood-related ancestry. I rest my case: cousin marriages don’t work.”
So why are cousin marriages so popular?
As one British-Pakistani put it bluntly on a similar website: “˜A main reason why this corrupt practice is still followed in Britain is because the family wants to keep their property, land, jewellery and money in the family.
“˜The lack of education in families, along with a Pakistani village culture, encourages these incestuous marriages. The children are born disabled and it must cost the NHS millions of pounds to treat them. Maybe if the NHS refused to treat the children the families would have second thoughts.”
They were harsh words. But this week I was told by charity workers, doctors and counsellors working with families in Yorkshire, Lancashire and the Midlands that many parents also believe it is an “˜act of God” or the “˜will of Allah” that their children are born disabled.
According to Zed Ali, manager of a Lancashire charity, Project BME (Black Minority Ethnics), some parents think that if their children die, they will become angels in heaven.
“˜It is hard to counter these religious views without offending the Pakistani community,” she says.
One young mother, calling herself by the Pakistani name of Shenzah, wrote recently: “˜I have a huge difficulty. I am married to a first cousin. My parents and my husband’s parents were also married to their first cousins.
“˜Now I have one daughter with lots of defects and the doctor is sure it is due to these marriages.
“˜I was against marrying a first cousin because I believed it would cause genetic problems, but my family forced me. According to them, what the doctors say is all nonsense.
But, in what amounts to a lazy excuse to keep the status quo, to forbid it would be to commit shirk, appropriating Allah’s sole right to permit and forbid:
“˜I cannot understand why cousin marriages are not forbidden in Islam. The Koran doesn’t forbid it and this encourages people around me to disbelieve what the doctors say.’…
One expects this article will bring charges of “slander.” Not entirely in the Western sense, but conflated with that of the Islamic tradition:
“Slander (ghiba) means to mention anything concerning a person that he would dislike, whether about his body, religion, everyday life, self, disposition, property, son, father, wife, servant, turban, garment, gait, movements, smiling, dissoluteness, frowning, cheerfulness, or anything else connected with him” (Umdat al-Salik, r2.2).”