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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Pakistani inbreeding, not Muslim inbreeding


    by Rumbold
    10th February, 2008 at 4:20 pm    

    A minister has rightly highlighted the issue of the dangers of marrying one’s cousin, a practise especially prevalent amongst those of Pakistani origin in the UK:

    “A government minister has warned that inbreeding among immigrants is causing a surge in birth defects - comments likely to spark a new row over the place of Muslims in British society.

    Phil Woolas, an environment minister, said the culture of arranged marriages between first cousins was the “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.”

    Medical research suggests that while British Pakistanis are responsible for 3% of all births, they account for one in three British children born with genetic illnesses.”

    This is a problem derived from Pakistani cultural norms, as the minister points out. Sadly, many in the media have chosen to once again make this a Muslim issue; it is not, it is a cultural issue. Those Pakistanis just happen to be Muslims. It is a great shame that the media cannot report such things nowadays without having to crowbar in ‘Muslim’ or ‘Islam’ into the title. One might put it down to ignorance, but in fact it is down to sensationalism. ‘Muslim’ sells papers.

    This inbreeding trend is a real problem, and can only be solved by those of Pakistani descent themselves, even if doctors and other professionals highlight the dangers of inbreeding at every opportunity. Making it a ‘Muslim’ issue will only harden the hearts of those who will suffer most, as their siege mentality with regards to their religion will be reinforced.

    Labour MP Ann Cryer, who often talks a lot of sense, supported the minister:

    “The call for action was also supported by Labour MP Ann Cryer who raised the issue two years ago after research showed British Pakistanis were 13 times more likely to have children with recessive disorders than the general population. Mrs Cryer, who represents Keighley in West Yorkshire, told the Sunday Times: “This is to do with a medieval culture where you keep wealth within the family.”

    “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,” she added. “The parents were warned they should not have any more children. But when the husband returned from Pakistan, within months they had another child with exactly the same condition.”

    Research for BBC2′s Newsnight in November 2005 showed British Pakistanis accounted for 3.4% of all births but have 30% of all British children with “recessive disorders”.”

    Update: As Bartholomew has pointed out below, the real problem comes from generations of marrying one’s cousins. This should not negate the minister’s warnings however, as it is directed at those who are prone to marry their cousins, thus continuing the cycle of babies who are being born with increased chances of disabilities.


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    Filed in: Cultural Relativism,Culture,Pakistan






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    1. Saqib — on 10th February, 2008 at 4:47 pm  

      Hi Rumbold,

      Actually I would beg to differ with you, it is NOT simply a cultural issue, for cousin marriage is something which is permitted in Islam and indeed took place during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Of course, this is not the same as saying that it is encouraged or indeed recommended.

      Of course, in places like Pakistan it has become the norm in some families and communities, and in this sense has become ‘cultural’. What needs to happen is that the scientific evidence needs to be presented and weighed up by Islamic scholars, who, if indeed the diagnosis is correct, are better positioned to reach out to the community.

      My own understanding, and I could be wrong, is that it is repeated first cousin marriage that is problematic as the chromosomes are too similar. If that is the case, then that is not problematic at all, all human knowledge is there to enhance our understanding.

      I agree with you on the Muslim thing about the media in other areas too, the recent case of young Shafelia Ahmad was constantly referred to as ‘Muslim’ when they could have used ethnicity instead.

    2. randomi — on 10th February, 2008 at 4:49 pm  

      It is a great shame that the media cannot report such things nowadays without having to crowbar in ‘Muslim’ or ‘Islam’ into the title. One might put it down to ignorance, but in fact it is down to sensationalism. ‘Muslim’ sells papers.

      Actually this is completely incorrect IMO. There are countless of “asian youths” when it always seems to transpire they are in fact all Muslim.

      When the youths found to be throwing stones at HMD event, we knew, all of us, that they were Muslim kids. Often, in fact “youths” seems to be a byword for ethnic youths.

      Actually, a form of political correctness pervades the media. When they are terrorist alerts it’s always “three ASIANS were arrested”. We all know it’s not three Buddhists. But we have to guess cos they are all named Mohammed and Ahmed.

      No, this is the only case in recent memory were they have recently incorrectly labelled a problem as “Muslim” rather than Asian.

    3. Edwin Greenwood — on 10th February, 2008 at 4:51 pm  

      Is not cousin marriage common among certain Middle Eastern groups and also among Bangladeshis — also Muslim societies? I agree that it is a cultural issue (basically keeping wealth within the controllable extended family) rather than a quintessentially Muslim one, and the Pakistanis are probably the biggest offenders in the UK, but it is not purely a Pak problem.

      The problem is probably exacerbated in the UK by the perceived obligation to assist near relatives to migrate to the UK. Perhaps this biases the selection towards first cousins rather than second cousins. Speaking as a mere ignorant indigenous gora, I would be interested to know the extent of cousin marriage for this purpose within the Sikh and Hindu communities. Does it exist at all?

    4. Leon — on 10th February, 2008 at 4:51 pm  

      It’s not limited to Pakistan. There are Christian Arabs from Egypt and Sudan that practice cousin marrying too…

    5. Rumbold — on 10th February, 2008 at 4:54 pm  

      Saqib:

      “Actually I would beg to differ with you, it is NOT simply a cultural issue, for cousin marriage is something which is permitted in Islam and indeed took place during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Of course, this is not the same as saying that it is encouraged or indeed recommended.”

      Your last sentence hits the nail on the head Saqib. Such marriages might be allowed in Islam, but they are certainly not recommended. In which case, it is a cultural issue.

    6. Anas — on 10th February, 2008 at 4:55 pm  

      Cousin marrying is fucking up Pakistani/British Pakistani society, especially first cousin marriage (I’m pretty sure it’s not as prevalent in Indian Hindu/Sikh communities). When will we get it into our heads that we’re fucking up our genepool?

    7. Rumbold — on 10th February, 2008 at 4:57 pm  

      I suppose what I should have made clearer was that while cousin marriage is not limited to those of Pakistani origin, in the UK it is those of Pakistani origin who are most likely to marry their cousins.

    8. Kulvinder — on 10th February, 2008 at 4:57 pm  

      This is to do with a medieval culture where you keep wealth within the family.

      As opposed to giving it to the state?!

      Obviously a bandwagon will now form calling for ‘cousin relationships’ to be outlawed. Personally i don’t have any problem with anyone getting into a relationship with anyone they choose.

      Its their business not yours.

      What this is essentially about is the health service, for whatever reason theres an inclination to overlook the unhealthier aspects of our own lives and somewhat fanatically focus on how ‘the others’ are draining the health service. Personally i neither have carnal knowledge of my cousins nor do i smoke so i claim the moral high ground.

    9. Sid — on 10th February, 2008 at 5:05 pm  

      Kulvinder

      As opposed to giving it to the state?!

      I’d go further. Individual. I would support inviduals born from first cousin marriages have the right to sue their parents for their disabilities? But would it be a deterrant for first cousin marriages?

    10. Saqib — on 10th February, 2008 at 5:07 pm  

      Rumbold:

      I don’t totally agree with that.

      Cousin marriage’s explicit permissibility is indicative of it being considered natural, and healthy. This then would become the basis for it becoming the norm in many societies where previously it wasn’t.

      For example, before Hindus converted to Islam in India during the 8th century, was cousin marriage practiced by them? If not, as I suspect is the answer, it would seem that it was the initial Islamic allowance that brought this tradition of cousin marriage, which has now become part of the social fabric of that society. As long as people see justification in scripture they will continue to do so, hence the approach has to be focused on engaging with this, and not culture.

    11. Saqib — on 10th February, 2008 at 5:17 pm  

      Sid:

      ‘I’d go further. Individual. I would support inviduals born from first cousin marriages have the right to sue their parents for their disabilities? But would it be a deterrant for first cousin marriages?’

      Don’t know about that, but i would certainly like to sue your parents for bringing into this world such an over opinionated, ignorant fellow.

    12. Sid — on 10th February, 2008 at 5:30 pm  

      Saqib, can we at least agree that first cousin marriage is a bad thing irrespective of its ethnic provenance?

      Can we also agree that diabilities the children are born with are completely avoidable?

      And third, and i know i’m pushing it here, can you try and remain civil?

    13. Rumbold — on 10th February, 2008 at 5:44 pm  

      Kulvinder:

      “What this is essentially about is the health service, for whatever reason theres an inclination to overlook the unhealthier aspects of our own lives and somewhat fanatically focus on how ‘the others’ are draining the health service. Personally i neither have carnal knowledge of my cousins nor do i smoke so i claim the moral high ground.”

      Kulvinder, I think that you are missing the point. It is not about frowning on others’ bad habits, but rather the fact that having a baby with one’s cousin significantly increases the chance of babies being born with disabilities. This issue should be given as much press as possible. If people want to have sex with their cousin, fine, but they should be aware that they are significantly increasing the chance of hurting their future child (if indeed they are planning to have a child). This problem is systematic.

      Saqib:

      “Cousin marriage’s explicit permissibility is indicative of it being considered natural, and healthy. This then would become the basis for it becoming the norm in many societies where previously it wasn’t.

      For example, before Hindus converted to Islam in India during the 8th century, was cousin marriage practiced by them? If not, as I suspect is the answer, it would seem that it was the initial Islamic allowance that brought this tradition of cousin marriage, which has now become part of the social fabric of that society. As long as people see justification in scripture they will continue to do so, hence the approach has to be focused on engaging with this, and not culture.”

      While I think that any scripture smiling on cousin marriage is wrong, that is not why cousins marry. They marry in order to solidify ties between families, which is why that dissecting such scripture would have very little effect on the actual situation.

      Saqib and Sid:

      Both of you are excellent debators, who disagree a lot, so you should both be happy with the other’s presence. After all, this is a debating site.

    14. Jean-Luc Gascard — on 10th February, 2008 at 5:48 pm  

      Greenwood @ 3

      Isn’t the Elizabeth II and the rest of them bunch of inbred retards, isn’t that also what the neo nazis try to do?

    15. Saqib — on 10th February, 2008 at 5:48 pm  

      Sid:

      ‘Saqib, can we at least agree that first cousin marriage is a bad thing irrespective of its ethnic provenance?’

      As far as first cousin marriage is concerned it depends on the weight of the evidence, which I have not seen in full. There are issues which need further questioning from the findings:

      1) Could the prevalence of disabilities in children born from first cousin marriages be linked to other things, i.e. repeated first cousin marriage?

      2) Why is it only Pakistani families who seem to have this, why not Bengali’s, who are also a substantial minority in this country…perhaps the disabilities could be down to reasons of ethnicity also, rather like thalassemia.

      There are other component issues such as these that I would like answers to. If I, and others like me are satisfied with the methodology and evidence used, then yes we can agree Sid.

      ‘Can we also agree that diabilities the children are born with are completely avoidable?’

      This is really linked to the first part Sid. I would imagine, however, based on my own observations, that most children born with disabilities are not from first cousin marriages, in fact the report suggests i think one-third are, hence two-thirds are not, hence there are other factors.

      ‘And third, and i know i’m pushing it here, can you try and remain civil?’

      Sure I can, but bear in mind that those born to first cousin marriages may have found your comments to be rather outlandish.

    16. Saqib — on 10th February, 2008 at 5:54 pm  

      Rumbold:

      ‘While I think that any scripture smiling on cousin marriage is wrong, that is not why cousins marry. They marry in order to solidify ties between families, which is why that dissecting such scripture would have very little effect on the actual situation.’

      There are many treasons for cousin marriage; the main one being that amongst Muslims it is simply sometimes easier to find a suitable spouse from the inner-circle of cousins. This was especially true in immobile communities where people could better attest to the character of individuals. It becomes less prevalent with migration and mobile communities.

      I do however agree Rumbold that the element of solidifying family bonds is also a component element, though not overarching. I find however the argument that it is about money somewhat crude.

    17. Jai — on 10th February, 2008 at 5:58 pm  

      I would be interested to know the extent of cousin marriage for this purpose within the Sikh and Hindu communities. Does it exist at all?

      especially first cousin marriage (I’m pretty sure it’s not as prevalent in Indian Hindu/Sikh communities).

      No. We’re usually brought up to think of our first-cousins as literally being our brothers and sisters (in many cases with relatively little distinction made between our cousins and siblings in our “immediate family”).

      Click here for information about the festival/custom of Raksha Bandan, for those who aren’t aware of it.

      Therefore, the notion of having romantic relations with one’s first-cousins is regarded as being as incestuous, unnatural and morally unacceptable as being involved with one’s own brother or sister.

    18. Saqib — on 10th February, 2008 at 6:02 pm  

      Jai:

      ‘No. We’re usually brought up to think of our first-cousins as literally being our brothers and sisters (in many cases with relatively little distinction made between our cousins and siblings in our “immediate family”).’

      Thanks for that.

      It kind of backs my point on post 10.

    19. Bartholomew — on 10th February, 2008 at 6:12 pm  

      From the NY Times in 2002:

      Contrary to widely held beliefs and longstanding taboos in America, first cousins can have children together without a great risk of birth defects or genetic disease, scientists are reporting today. They say there is no biological reason to discourage cousins from marrying.

      …Although the increase represents a near doubling of the risk, the result is still not considered large enough to discourage cousins from having children, said Dr. Arno Motulsky, a professor emeritus of medicine and genome sciences at the University of Washington, and the senior author of the report.

      ”In terms of general risks in life it’s not very high,” Dr. Motulsky said. Even at its worst, 7 percent, he said, ”93 percent of the time, nothing is going to happen.”

      The report is in today’s issue of The Journal of Genetic Counseling…

      OK, I’ll get my banjo…

    20. Don — on 10th February, 2008 at 6:13 pm  

      As for scriptures, as far as I know the OT has no position. Which seems odd in itself, given it’s obsession with regulating every damn thing.

      And, if I read that big list in the church porch aright, the CofE has no problem with it. I could be wrong, that list is like brain gym.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibited_degree_of_kinship#In_the_Church_of_England

      Pretty sure the RC’s allow it.

    21. Saqib — on 10th February, 2008 at 6:19 pm  

      Bartholomew:

      Thanks for that link.

    22. Refresh — on 10th February, 2008 at 6:20 pm  

      Rumbold

      Your noble intentions may well be like those of the Archbishop.

    23. Saqib — on 10th February, 2008 at 6:20 pm  

      Don:

      ‘As for scriptures, as far as I know the OT has no position. Which seems odd in itself, given it’s obsession with regulating every damn thing.’

      Have you tried Leviticus?

    24. Saqib — on 10th February, 2008 at 6:22 pm  

      Refresh:

      ‘Rumbold

      Your noble intentions may well be like those of the Archbishop.’

      Let’s not start that discussion here Refresh…that thread has over 400 comments and is still going strong.

    25. Refresh — on 10th February, 2008 at 6:38 pm  

      Saqib

      True that one is proving to be an excellent debate.

      As for the one here we seem to be focussed on cousin marriages rather than the liberties being taken by the media (and of course Woolas and Cryer).

    26. The Wandering African — on 10th February, 2008 at 6:43 pm  

      Muhammed himself married his cousin and daughter in-law.

      That makes incest in the UK an Islamic issue.

    27. alan — on 10th February, 2008 at 6:44 pm  

      It seems clear that the problem is not First cousin marriage (which btw is permitted in Christianity as well), but the institutionalising of first cousin marriage such that it is repeated through the generations, thus magnifying a small risk of reinforcing bad recessive genes into a much larger risk.

      The incidence of etra-pair paternity will reduce this risk to some extent.

    28. Kulvinder — on 10th February, 2008 at 6:45 pm  

      I would support inviduals born from first cousin marriages have the right to sue their parents for their disabilities?

      Whilst im sure everyone would love to make their parents suffer (especially whilst being a teenager) its more than a little ridiculous to start claiming damages for your existence.

      Besides if anyone is that bothered about it they can always kill themselves.

      …but rather the fact that having a baby with one’s cousin significantly increases the chance of babies being born with disabilities.

      I don’t recall suggesting otherwise. Tiny point but having children with your cousin doesn’t increase the risk substantially, rather its repeated behaviour over several generations that increases the risk. I’m not sure why everyone is seeking to portray these people as completely unaware of what the dangers are. They read the same newspapers as you or i; theres nothing wrong with knowing the risk and continuing anyway.

      To me the issue is no different to any other ‘genetically (or otherwise) incompatible’ individuals having children. If anyone wishes to legislate against this kind of behaviour they have to accept the same laws would be applicable to everyone else. I’d really rather not get into genetic purity laws.

      Besides HIV positive couples having children also pose a definitive risk to their children; wheres the moral outrage there? Granted the risk can be reduced (but not eliminated) via drug treatment, but the ‘cousin-couples’ can be given the option of IVF to screen/select embryos.

    29. Saqib — on 10th February, 2008 at 6:49 pm  

      Refresh:

      ‘As for the one here we seem to be focussed on cousin marriages rather than the liberties being taken by the media (and of course Woolas and Cryer).’

      Yes, and you would think that with names like wool-ass and cry-er they would do as much as possible to be away from the media spotlight.

      The thing I hate about the media on this issue is how it is presented as some ignorant, immigrant people slavishly following harmful cultural practices, whilst some serious question still remain. This is particularly rich, when you consider that the medical evidence of the harmful effects of alcohol, ‘recreation drugs’ and tobacco are more compelling, however it doesn’t seem to deter the great rational population in this our beautiful island from consuming.

    30. Kulvinder — on 10th February, 2008 at 6:52 pm  

      nb Ann Cryer seems incapable of giving nuanced quotes at the best of times but the ‘medieval culture’ claim is more than a little hilarious.

      As i’ve said before the only objectively meaningful use of the word ‘culture’ with respect to an entire nation or a state is its laws - that is ultimately what binds everyone into a framework of ‘how they do things’.

      It is perfecly legal in this country to marry your cousin and for you children to marry your nieces and nephews. If she believes English law is ‘medieval’ then so be it; though one has to point out her party has been in government for the past 10 years.

    31. Saqib — on 10th February, 2008 at 6:53 pm  

      The Wandering African:

      ‘Muhammed himself married his cousin and daughter in-law.’

      Actually, the lady the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) married, Zaynab, was his cousin, but not his daughter in law, for her previous husband, Zayd was not his son, he grew up in his household. Before prophethood he was referred to as the Prophet’s (pbuh) son, afterwards this was disliked, for Islam came to maintain lineage.

    32. Don — on 10th February, 2008 at 6:59 pm  

      Saqib,

      ‘Have you tried Leviticus?’

      Where else would one start? Nope, nothing about cousins that I can see. Leviticus 18, right? If I am wrong, say so. I mean, re-reading Leviticus is never a chore, but if you know something, give a link.

      ‘Yes, and you would think that with names like wool-ass and cry-er they would do as much as possible to be away from the media spotlight. ‘

      What?

    33. fugstar — on 10th February, 2008 at 7:00 pm  

      PP plumbs new depths every single time.

      the point of carrying such information is?

      vicious delight?

      Useless generation, dumb flag scum.

    34. Saqib — on 10th February, 2008 at 7:05 pm  

      Alan & Kulvinder

      This is exactly my understanding, that repeated first cousin marriage can increase the likelihood of disabilities in children. It is this type of nuanced understanding which is not coming through, which makes those who are not convinced of the ‘findings’ reject all of it.

      Kulvinder:

      ‘To me the issue is no different to any other ‘genetically (or otherwise) incompatible’ individuals having children. If anyone wishes to legislate against this kind of behaviour they have to accept the same laws would be applicable to everyone else. I’d really rather not get into genetic purity laws.

      Besides HIV positive couples having children also pose a definitive risk to their children; wheres the moral outrage there? Granted the risk can be reduced (but not eliminated) via drug treatment, but the ‘cousin-couples’ can be given the option of IVF to screen/select embryos.’

      Excellent points

    35. Saqib — on 10th February, 2008 at 7:13 pm  

      Don:

      ‘Where else would one start? Nope, nothing about cousins that I can see. Leviticus 18, right? If I am wrong, say so. I mean, re-reading Leviticus is never a chore, but if you know something, give a link.’

      Yes, it is 18, where it talks of prohibited degrees of marriage. However I have googled some stuff, which says that in parts of Genesis cousin marriages are performed, which shouldn’t surprise us given that this is part of semitic culture.

      ‘‘Yes, and you would think that with names like wool-ass and cry-er they would do as much as possible to be away from the media spotlight. ‘

      I was trying to be ironic with their names…obviously it didn’t work.

    36. Sid — on 10th February, 2008 at 7:28 pm  

      Besides if anyone is that bothered about it they can always kill themselves.

      I was being intentionally cheeky about children being able to sue their parents for being first cousins. Went down like a lead balloon, but then you’re a tough crowd. However, Kulvinder’s comment is both just wrong *and* facetious.

    37. Kulvinder — on 10th February, 2008 at 7:30 pm  

      Ah, apologies then.

    38. Don — on 10th February, 2008 at 7:34 pm  

      How the hell did some research that highlighted a public health danger turn into this?

      There is no legal or religious prohibition against marrying a cousin either here or in the sub-continent, either in christianity or islam. I am not aware there is any widespread social stigma attached. But there is, in some places, a kind of folk wisdom that when cousin marriages are prevelant, birth defects are liable to rise. We now know that that is the case.

      This research, as far as I can tell, identifies a community at high risk. Kulvinder seems confident that they know the risk and continue anyway, and why not as if the damaged offspring don’t like it, they can always kill themselves.

      He is, of course, quite wrong.

      The question should surely be how best to reduce that risk, given that no individual is engaging in any activity which is legally, religiously or morally wrong and which has only a slight risk to their own outcome.

      Sometimes, on PP we have people with real expertise and experience in the issues under discussion and then we get a good thread.

      Sometimes we have agenda-waving and then, what’s the point? Might as well read the papers.

    39. Kulvinder — on 10th February, 2008 at 7:38 pm  

      What?

    40. Rumbold — on 10th February, 2008 at 7:39 pm  

      Saqib:

      “There are many treasons for cousin marriage; the main one being that amongst Muslims it is simply sometimes easier to find a suitable spouse from the inner-circle of cousins. This was especially true in immobile communities where people could better attest to the character of individuals. It becomes less prevalent with migration and mobile communities.

      I do however agree Rumbold that the element of solidifying family bonds is also a component element, though not overarching. I find however the argument that it is about money somewhat crude.”

      Interesting point about the lack of migration increasing the chances of inter-familial marriage. The money argument is crude, but contains a kernel of truth.

      “The thing I hate about the media on this issue is how it is presented as some ignorant, immigrant people slavishly following harmful cultural practices, whilst some serious question still remain. This is particularly rich, when you consider that the medical evidence of the harmful effects of alcohol, ‘recreation drugs’ and tobacco are more compelling, however it doesn’t seem to deter the great rational population in this our beautiful island from consuming.”

      I don’t see why one negates the other. People know about the dangers of smoking/drinking heavily when pregnant. Do they know about the possible consequences of having a child with their cousin?

      Jai:

      Thanks for that information on some Hindu and Sikh attitudes.

      Bartholomew:

      Excellent link. I think it in fact re-inforces the original point, that is to say, things will get even worse if there are more cousin marriages.

      Refresh:

      “Your noble intentions may well be like those of the Archbishop.”

      Oh dear god- really? Why?

      Kulvinder:

      ” I’m not sure why everyone is seeking to portray these people as completely unaware of what the dangers are. They read the same newspapers as you or i; theres nothing wrong with knowing the risk and continuing anyway.”

      I wonder how aware some people are of this issue, especially those who view Pakistan as their home, and thus tend to follow UK news less. Obviously there are some who know the risks and carry on, but given this is such a widespread problem I believe that a bit of publicity about this issue now and then helps. I think that you are presuming that in rural Pakistan people are fully educated about the dangers of cousin marriage. Why would they be?

      I do not want to legislate against cousin marriage, but I do support calls to emphasize the problems such children can face. I am suprised that you are so blase about it. One can frown on something without wanting to ban it.

      Fugstar:

      “PP plumbs new depths every single time.”

      Quite an achievement, eh?

    41. Saqib — on 10th February, 2008 at 7:43 pm  

      Don:

      Well, I have actually gone through these points on most of my posts. Cousin marriage is islamically permitted, and as such Muslims will continue to have these marriages as long as religious sanctions exist. I have seen these rather banal Pakistani organisations attempting to achieve this through their ‘cultural’ appeal, however most people simply will not take notice. Hence, the best way of tackling the ‘problem, however it is identified, is through communication with Islamic scholars, and Muslim community organisations, who in my opinion will carry more weight.

      The risk in any case seems very small in first cousin marriages, however is increased to higher levels with repetition. This information needs to be provided, and not the simple scaremongering.

    42. Kulvinder — on 10th February, 2008 at 7:45 pm  

      I think that you are presuming that in rural Pakistan people are fully educated about the dangers of cousin marriage. Why would they be?

      Sorry i think theres been a case of crossed wires, i wouldn’t know what people in rural pakistan think. I was commenting within the context of the times article:

      ‘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’

      As well as

      ‘The problem is that many of the parents themselves and many of the public spokespeople are themselves products of first cousin marriages. It’s very difficult for people to say ‘you can’t do that’ because it’s a very sensitive, human thing.”‘

      Which both infer an awareness of what the risks are, and either a choice to ignore those risks or a reluctance to tell people to ‘stop’ because the ‘spokespeople’ themselves have parents who are cousins.

    43. Saqib — on 10th February, 2008 at 7:49 pm  

      Rumbold:

      ‘I don’t see why one negates the other. People know about the dangers of smoking/drinking heavily when pregnant. Do they know about the possible consequences of having a child with their cousin?’

      Well, following on from my previous post to the ‘Don’, it is not about negation, but proportion and how one problem is presented as a ‘given’, whilst the others are almost presented as evidences, which people can choose to accept or ignore, without being assumed to be ignorant. Perhaps I am being paranoid here, but I can imagine people thinking ‘ah, backward people, believing in superstition instead of science’ when that is not the case, for the issues are more nuanced, and reconcilable.

      In any case, I agree, that any such research, with all the nuances should be made available in the public domain, so that people may make an informed decision. And if we are truly serious about wanting to help, work with people who can shift attitudes instead of paying lip-service (and funding some rather lame Pakistani organisations)

    44. Don — on 10th February, 2008 at 7:50 pm  

      Bloody hell, Kulvinder, is that the only option? ‘Just carry on, the risks are unimportant’ or ‘genetic purity laws’?

      You don’t see a third choice? Such as recognising that thousand of children born with unnecessary genetic defects is actually a problem? And that it is possible to approach that problem without plummetting into totalitarianism? (Don’t bother posting links on eugenics, I’m familiar).

    45. Rumbold — on 10th February, 2008 at 7:51 pm  

      Saqib:

      “The risk in any case seems very small in first cousin marriages, however is increased to higher levels with repetition. This information needs to be provided, and not the simple scaremongering.”

      But the warning was directed at those of Pakistani origin, some of whom have been intermarrying for generations, so I think that it is a valid warning.

      Kulvinder:

      I agree that once one tells people the risks and they do it anyway there is nothing one can do. I do wonder however how many people are aware of the risks, and that is my point.

    46. Don — on 10th February, 2008 at 7:59 pm  

      fugstar’
      Just noticed #33

      ‘dumb flag scum.’

      Nice one.

    47. Sid — on 10th February, 2008 at 8:02 pm  

      There is no equivalence between not prohibited by religion and sactioned by religion. It ie neither prohibited nor religiously encouraged. The practice is merely culturally accepted to the point of become a social custom in some quarters.

      And since this is the case, surely education and awareness should be promoted to discourage this practide, since it has very real, tragic consequences.

      There is certainly no arbitrary religious edict to uphold and cling to this case. But I’m sure the possibility of creating one from thin air is not beyond the skills of certain interpetators.

    48. Rumbold — on 10th February, 2008 at 8:02 pm  

      Saqib:

      “Perhaps I am being paranoid here, but I can imagine people thinking ‘ah, backward people, believing in superstition instead of science’ when that is not the case, for the issues are more nuanced, and reconcilable.”

      I hope that the problem is reconcilable. It is not a case of thinking of them as backward, because they see nothing wrong in marrying one’s cousin, but it is important to hammer home the point about children being born with disabilities. After all, how many parents want their children to be born with disabilities? The real culprits are those who arrange the marriages, not the young bride and groom. Once the marriage has taken place, there is pressure on the married couple to have children. We need to affect a change in attitude when the elders are arranging the marriage, so they choose a couple who are not related.

      “In any case, I agree, that any such research, with all the nuances should be made available in the public domain, so that people may make an informed decision. And if we are truly serious about wanting to help, work with people who can shift attitudes instead of paying lip-service (and funding some rather lame Pakistani organisations).”

      The question is, how best to educate people.

    49. Kulvinder — on 10th February, 2008 at 8:05 pm  

      Such as recognising that thousand of children born with unnecessary genetic defects is actually a problem? And that it is possible to approach that problem without plummetting into totalitarianism?

      …erm yes. Which is why i advocated the use of IVF or some kind of method where embryos are screened and selected - similar to how risk is reduced for HIV couples.

      Thats a completely different approach to assuming people don’t know the risks and educating them about it. To reiterate the analogy i used; i don’t think its particularly useful to continually emphasise to HIV+ couples the risk of having children.

      The fact is they want to have children.

      The debate should be about how risks can be reduced either at fertilisation or during pregnancy not on the moral relativism of who your partner is. At the moment its a political debate, it should be a medical one.

    50. Sid — on 10th February, 2008 at 8:05 pm  

      Useless generation, dumb flag scum.

      what does that mean?

    51. ZinZin — on 10th February, 2008 at 8:11 pm  

      “Useless generation, dumb flag scum.

      what does that mean?”

      Stay on topic were discussing inbred generations.

    52. Leon — on 10th February, 2008 at 8:25 pm  

      PP plumbs new depths every single time.

      We do? Care to give some examples of plumbed depths recently on PP?

    53. Don — on 10th February, 2008 at 8:34 pm  

      ‘At the moment its a political debate, it should be a medical one.’

      Yes, obviously. That is part of the point I thought I was making. But is there a significant take up rate of those options?

      If not, then dismissing educational strategies as redundant seems unhelpful. And I was not engaging in moral relativism.

      re fugstar,

      I thought ‘dumb flag scum’ was a reference to those who can’t see an issue without finding a way to twist it to their pre-set agenda. Y’know, knee-jerk partisans. Thought it had a ring to it.

    54. Kulvinder — on 10th February, 2008 at 8:43 pm  

      But is there a significant take up rate of those options?

      I don’t believe its an option (if anyone knows better id be happy to stand corrected).

    55. Don — on 10th February, 2008 at 8:54 pm  

      Or if anyone knows anything, that would be good too.

      Is IVF an effective solution? You proposed it, it’s fair to expect you to have some kind of data. I don’t know.

      Screening? Well, surely recognising that a problem exists is the key to an effective screening strategy. Is there a problem? The evidence seems to suggest that there is.

      If establishing an effective screening programme is what you are arguing for, then I wouldn’t disagree, but your posts have just been dismissive of there being anything to even discuss.

    56. Saqib — on 10th February, 2008 at 8:59 pm  

      Rumbold:

      ‘I hope that the problem is reconcilable. It is not a case of thinking of them as backward, because they see nothing wrong in marrying one’s cousin, but it is important to hammer home the point about children being born with disabilities. After all, how many parents want their children to be born with disabilities? The real culprits are those who arrange the marriages, not the young bride and groom. Once the marriage has taken place, there is pressure on the married couple to have children. We need to affect a change in attitude when the elders are arranging the marriage, so they choose a couple who are not related.’

      I must reiterate though Rumbold that the chances of disability at this point are only slightly increased,
      and probably their are more chances of disability through other factors. It does seem, however that it is, as Alan put it ‘institutionalized cousin marriage’ which can increase the likelihood even further. Hence I would take issue with the use of the word ‘culprits.’ However, with these important points, of course things are reconcilable.

      It is also, not about elders arranging marriages; many people are highly satisfied through cousin marriages, and see it as good way of finding spouses. Hence I would conclude, that it is the issue of continuous cousin marriage which needs attention.

    57. Kulvinder — on 10th February, 2008 at 9:03 pm  

      s IVF an effective solution? You proposed it, it’s fair to expect you to have some kind of data. I don’t know.

      I don’t have any data on the success of a form of treatment i don’t believe is currently used in these types of situations.

      Shocking i know.

      but your posts have just been dismissive of there being anything to even discuss.

      …right. Like when?

    58. Saqib — on 10th February, 2008 at 9:27 pm  

      Sid:

      ‘And since this is the case, surely education and awareness should be promoted to discourage this practide, since it has very real, tragic consequences.

      I will try to be civil Sid.

      But according to most figures, even if one assumes the findings are 100% accurate, the overwhelming majority of such marriages produce no such result. Is it not a case of people evaluating the evidence and then making an informed decision?

    59. Don — on 10th February, 2008 at 9:28 pm  

      Like when you threw in IVF without any data.

      Like when you asserted that ‘these people’ read the same newspapers we do, do it anyway, accept the cost of genetic defect and why not? AVF and screening will fix it. Do you know this, or does it just fit in with your philosophy?

      Like when you found a supercilious sneer to be the appropriate response to those who pay the largest cost in this dilemma. And who often don’t have the option of killing themselves.

    60. El Cid — on 10th February, 2008 at 9:32 pm  

      Fugstar/Don, still don’t get the ‘dumb flag scum’ reference.
      Although, in my defense, I do remember highlighting/discussing this matter of inbred genetic tendencies within the Pakistani community on PP at least 18 months ago.
      Rohin was possibly a co-contributor, and maybe Sid/Sonia too (my memory is faded).
      Obviously, it ain’t news unless a government minister talks about it, but still… feels like deja vu.

    61. Don — on 10th February, 2008 at 9:43 pm  

      ‘But according to most figures, even if one assumes the findings are 100% accurate, the overwhelming majority of such marriages produce no such result.’

      But 13 times more likely, given a prevelance of the custom within an identified group. If the overwhelming majority of cousin marriages resulted in birth defects, then of course people would have stopped. What kind of argument is that? We may be a disfunctional species, but once we hit majority defect rate we either notice or die out. It’s about increased probabilities, and how to decrease those.

      ‘Is it not a case of people evaluating the evidence and then making an informed decision?’

      Who said otherwise?

    62. Saqib — on 10th February, 2008 at 9:49 pm  

      Don:

      ‘But 13 times more likely, given a prevelance of the custom within an identified group. If the overwhelming majority of cousin marriages resulted in birth defects, then of course people would have stopped. What kind of argument is that?

      I am talking about the various findings, not just the one in the Times article. Check the article in the NY Times (post 19), which puts the risk far lower. If we focus on the British Pakistanis, there could also be other factors contributing to this, which I have listed on other posts on this thread. These need answering.

      Other then that I think we would agree.

    63. Kulvinder — on 10th February, 2008 at 9:54 pm  

      Like when you threw in IVF without any data.

      Damn my impertinence! I was juxtaposing with the way in which HIV+ couples are dealt with, and the types of treatments/policies that i think should be explored.

      I make no apologies for making the suggestion; nor for the absence of ‘data’. Infact asking me for it on a blog is a laughable.

      Like when you asserted that ‘these people’ read the same newspapers we do, do it anyway, accept the cost of genetic defect and why not?

      #42

      Like when you found a supercilious sneer to be the appropriate response to those who pay the largest cost in this dilemma. And who often don’t have the option of killing themselves.

      Isn’t ‘superlicious sneer’ a bit of a tautology?

      Regardless i initially took Sid to be serious in his suggestion, and as such i was serious in mine. If you’re advocating something as ridiculous as bringing a lawsuit against your own parents for your existence then there is always the option of voluntary euthanasia.

      You cannot blame someone else for the fact that you are alive. I take no issue with, nor make any judgement on anyone who wishes to commit suicide.

      It was far far from a sneering comment.

      Obviously when sid said he meant it as a joke i realised it could be taken the wrong way and derail the thread (hello) so i apologised.

    64. Kulvinder — on 10th February, 2008 at 9:58 pm  

      nb i still don’t see how any of that made me dismissive.

    65. Kulvinder — on 10th February, 2008 at 10:00 pm  

      We may be a disfunctional species, but once we hit majority defect rate we either notice or die out.

      I have no obligation to the human species.

    66. Don — on 10th February, 2008 at 10:10 pm  

      …; nor for the absence of ‘data’. Infact asking me for it on a blog is a laughable.’

      Yeah, asking that a claim be supported by evidence is laughable. People often provide links to evidence when they make an assertion. You must have noticed.

      ‘I have no obligation to the human species.’

      You got me there, beyond tautology.

    67. Don — on 10th February, 2008 at 10:12 pm  

      #42 refers to a single case.

    68. Don — on 10th February, 2008 at 10:27 pm  

      ‘You cannot blame someone else for the fact that you are alive.’

      But if being alive consists of a decade of pain, distress, incomprehension and sensory deprivation, all of which could have been avoided, followed by being switched off as a mercy, then the concept of blame, if it were available, would be justified.

    69. Roger — on 10th February, 2008 at 10:46 pm  

      ‘ Woolas, a former race relations minister, said: “If you have a child with your cousin the likelihood is there’ll be a genetic problem.”’
      Then Mr Woolas doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
      If you have a child with your cousin the likelihood is there won’t be a genetic problem and the probability of the child’s having a genetic problem is about the same as if you have a child with someone who isn’t related to you. However, if your ancestors have been having children with their cousins for several generations there is a staedily increasing likelihood that the children will have genetic problems and in that case- even if you don’t have a genetic problem yourself- it would be very unwise to have children with your cousin.
      This isn’t just a Pakistani problem, I think. Anywhere where there are arranged marriages involvong property then there is a higher likelihood of cousin marriage, so it happens in the arab countries too. However, the mpst famous exemple of the consequences of regular and frequent cousin marriage is European: the Habsburg family. Look up Carlos II of Spain to see what can go wrong.

    70. Kulvinder — on 10th February, 2008 at 10:50 pm  

      Yeah, asking that a claim be supported by evidence is laughable. People often provide links to evidence when they make an assertion. You must have noticed.

      Fair enough.

      Can you provide me with the data that shows informing people of the risks has reduced the prevalence of first cousin marriage in the british pakistani population?

      You got me there, beyond tautology.

      No human has an obligation to prevent the ‘dying out’ of the species. I do not hold childless couples or homosexual couples who don’t have children as somehow blameworthy. If disabled british pakistanis pursue a path that leads to them ‘dying out’ that is their decision. Besides as Saqib said the fact british pakistanis might die out doesn’t mean all homo sapiens will.

      But if being alive consists of a decade of pain, distress, incomprehension and sensory deprivation, all of which could have been avoided, followed by being switched off as a mercy, then the concept of blame, if it were available, would be justified.

      Avoided in what sense? If they avoided it you wouldn’t be alive. There was a genetic lottery that lead to each of our births. You cannot blame the parents for one particular sperm finding one particular egg and developing in one particular way.

      If you’re blaming them for that, if you’re saying they should have avoided that genetic lottery - that you shouldn’t be alive; then there is nothing wrong in my eyes with suggesting the choice of voluntary euthanasia exists.

    71. Don — on 10th February, 2008 at 10:58 pm  

      ‘you wouldn’t be alive.’

      No need to italicise, I had grasped that point.

      Lottery is an interesting analogy, but I think you take it further than it can go.

    72. Sid — on 10th February, 2008 at 11:01 pm  

      So Kulvinder, a child who is born with HIV from parents who both knew they were HIV+ before having sex, should choose voluntary euthanasia rather than sue for damages from his parents?

    73. The Wandering African — on 10th February, 2008 at 11:03 pm  

      saqib

      Actually, the lady the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) married, Zaynab, was his cousin.

      Right, so inbreeding is an Islamic thing.

      Thanks for clearing that up.

      Rumbold, I think you should change your original post, as it is an insult to Islam.

    74. Saqib — on 10th February, 2008 at 11:11 pm  

      The Wandering African:

      ‘Rumbold, I think you should change your original post, as it is an insult to Islam.’

      Feel free to continually make a fool of yourself here son, we all need a bit of cheering up here every now and then.

    75. Kulvinder — on 10th February, 2008 at 11:41 pm  

      So Kulvinder, a child who is born with HIV from parents who both knew they were HIV+ before having sex, should choose voluntary euthanasia rather than sue for damages from his parents?

      If the argument of the child is that it shouldn’t be alive because its embryo should have been terminated then i don’t see whats so shocking about bringing up suicide now that its conscious and alive.

      If i argue that my parents a culpable for taking a risk with my birth then there is nothing wrong with them suggesting that without that risk i wouldn’t be in a position to question them. If you disapprove of the risk you implicitly disapprove of the life.

      You can’t seperate the two as there would have been a different baby born.

      In that circumstance i would propose to the child that if they felt their existence was so unbearable they should just terminate their own life rather than seek monetary compensation from the parents for not terminating it earlier.

    76. Sid — on 10th February, 2008 at 11:55 pm  

      Forgive me, I didn’t realise their suicide was *your* choice.

    77. Philip Hunt — on 11th February, 2008 at 12:07 am  

      There are already laws against consanguineous relationships; why not just extend these to cover cousin marriages?

    78. Don — on 11th February, 2008 at 12:22 am  

      Philip,

      Because a lot of people are already married? Try to keep up.

    79. Kulvinder — on 11th February, 2008 at 2:11 am  

      Forgive me, I didn’t realise their suicide was *your* choice.

      I never said it was. I explicitly answered your question in the context of it being their choice. Voluntary euthanasia was the term; not murder.

    80. Avi Cohen — on 11th February, 2008 at 2:12 am  

      Woolaas is an idiot of an MP who treats Muslims with a nasty contempt.

      Such an important issue shouldn’t be left to such a man.

      Wasn’t he the Minister that was criticised for interferring in the Niqab case.

      Wasn’t Woolaas the Minister who told a Muslim here comments were crap in a consultation excerise. Thus effectively saying that only views he and the govtwant to hear are valid and all else is crap.

      Prehaps Woolaas would feel more at home in the BNP who share a few of his views.

    81. The Wandering African — on 11th February, 2008 at 7:47 am  

      saqib

      You yourself have admitted that first-cousin marriage is completely legitimate, and actually encouraged, in Islam (because Muhamed is ‘the perfect example for all time for all humanity’).

      Therefore, Rumbold should also edit the original post on the grounds of factual inaccuracy. Don’t you think?

    82. Sid — on 11th February, 2008 at 8:01 am  

      I never said it was. I explicitly answered your question in the context of it being their choice. Voluntary euthanasia was the term; not murder.

      But they would be sueing for their disabilities not because they exist, as you seem to think. You’ve misunderstood this fundamental premise, which is why the rest of your logic is redundant.

    83. Kulvinder — on 11th February, 2008 at 8:27 am  

      You’ve misunderstood this fundamental premise, which is why the rest of your logic is redundant.

      I did understand the premise;
      the disabilities are a result of your own particular genetic code, you are fundamentally seeking compensation for you genes - you’re still seeking compensation for something the parents had no control over (it was a genetic lottery).

      Inherent in that quest for compensation is a desire that your genetic code had been different (otherwise why seek any compensation?) and that in itself means a different baby would have been born.

    84. Sid — on 11th February, 2008 at 8:45 am  

      Not at all. This has nothing to do with genetic code or existence. Not all children of first cousin marriage have manifest disabilities. Those who are should be eligible for compensation. Not for “existing” nor for having recessive alleles but for having physical disabilities which have affected quality of their life adversely.

    85. Kulvinder — on 11th February, 2008 at 8:50 am  

      Those ‘physical disabilities’ are the result of their genetic makeup.

    86. Saqib — on 11th February, 2008 at 10:39 am  

      The Wondering African:

      ‘You yourself have admitted that first-cousin marriage is completely legitimate, and actually encouraged, in Islam (because Muhamed is ‘the perfect example for all time for all humanity’).’

      No actually, as i have clearly argued in my posts, it is acceptable, but NOT recommended…their is a difference. For if it was recommended, perhaps up to 90% of Muslims would go down this path, and that clearly is not the case.

    87. Saqib — on 11th February, 2008 at 10:40 am  

      Hey Chaps….This Wondering African, I suspect it is Muzamdar?

      Rumbold keep a close eye.

    88. douglas clark — on 11th February, 2008 at 10:44 am  

      There is also the case, is there not, that other cultural practices are, what, a bit stupid? We can take the case of hijab being perhaps likely to cause illness is Northern climes.

      http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23404811-details/Women+in+hijabs+‘need+sunlight+or+risk+illness’/article.do

      This too, goes against cultural beliefs.

    89. douglas clark — on 11th February, 2008 at 10:50 am  

      Or, if that link does’t work for you, and it certainly doesn’t work for me, try:

      http://www.unitedcopts.org/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=1356

    90. douglas clark — on 11th February, 2008 at 10:53 am  

      Saqib,

      Did you pass your degree? Out of interest.

    91. Rohin — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:02 am  

      Medical research suggests that while British Pakistanis are responsible for 3% of all births, they account for one in three British children born with genetic illnesses.

      This is complete tosh. ‘Genetic illnesses’ accounts for millions of disease processes from sickle cell anaemia (almost exclusive to Afro-Caribbeans), cystic fibrosis (more prevalent in whites), Down syndrome (poor evidence for racial bias) etc etc.

      “Granted the risk can be reduced (but not eliminated) via drug treatment, but the ‘cousin-couples’ can be given the option of IVF to screen/select embryos.”

      Not really Kulvinder, genetic screening is not 100% sensitive as we aren’t testing for every genetic disease, just the common ones. Irrespective, processes that occur over several generations would not be picked up if consanguinity persists. i.e. in a previously externally-mating family, one inter-marriage is statistically only marginally more likely to result in a genetic aberration.

      However if a blood line remains inbred diseases that would otherwise have been avoided by exogamous (out) breeding may become apparent.

      Bottom line, IVF/screening is not an adequate measure. Not to mention a very expensive and time-consuming one. IVF in the UK is associated with low complication rates, but in many countries multiple embryos are implanted leading to high rates of multiple pregnancies. I mention this as Pakistan and Bangladesh do it and it’s conceivable British Pak/Bang families will go there to get the screening done cheaply (as I doubt the NHS would pay).

    92. Saqib — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:11 am  

      Douglas:

      Thanks for asking, I’ve got 3-4 months left, hopefully (insha’Allah) i can finish with a flourish, otherwise i will end up with a 2:2. It is my 6th year you know, been doing it part-time.

    93. sonia — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:15 am  

      48 - Rumbold:

      The real culprits are those who arrange the marriages, not the young bride and groom.

      therein lies the crux of the matter i believe. the real problem (in my opinion) is that not many of these people are actually entering these marriages freely, (e.g. through desiring a relationship with the other individual, who turns out to be a cousin. The real problem is the tribe pretty much makes them marry their cousin - as this is seen to be the easiest sort of arranged marriage.

      and this goes to show that often ‘arranged’ marriages aren’t particularly well-thought out, any more than the Other (love marriages) ( i.e. in our Indian subcontinent dichotomous view of the world.)

      so this - for me - is really set within the context of arranged marriages, and reforming certain practices within this context. {how many young people does one meet at university, who have relationships, but then say, well i know im going to be married off to my cousin at the end of the day?} Lots.

      Clearly, it seems silly, if you are going to go around ARRANGing marriages, that you wouldn’t take into account potential health defects of offspring. What was the point of ‘arranging’ the marriage then, we have always been told by our society and elders that ‘arranging’ a marriage is all about ‘thinking’ and finding the most suitable partner without letting ‘emotion’ interfere. In that context, it would be a bit silly to go and arrange a marriage with someone who might turn out to be not so suitable really (given that healthy children are a prime desired result)- and yes the problem is that this cousin marrying has been done for centuries now.

      About time they widen the arranged marriage pool, or even better, allow people to marry whom they like. ( and then if it still turns out to be the cousins, let’s talk..)

    94. Saqib — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:17 am  

      Douglas:

      ‘There is also the case, is there not, that other cultural practices are, what, a bit stupid? We can take the case of hijab being perhaps likely to cause illness is Northern climes.’

      I have read these findings before, however not in Britain. I suppose it could also be compounded by the fact that we in Britain don’t get much sun-light. Again, I don’t see this issue as being irreconcilable, as long as people are informed they can take the appropriate steps to get the vitamin intake through greater exposure to the sun.

    95. Saqib — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:20 am  

      Sonia:

      ‘so this - for me - is really set within the context of arranged marriages, and reforming certain practices within this context. {how many young people does one meet at university, who have relationships, but then say, well i know im going to be married off to my cousin at the end of the day?} Lots.’

      Tell me more Sonia…i’ve been at University for 6 years for all my sins, and haven’t come across that many people…Perhaps because I am in the capital it may have something to do with it.

    96. Sofia — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:22 am  

      “The real problem is the tribe pretty much makes them marry their cousin - as this is seen to be the easiest sort of arranged marriage”.

      This isn’t always the case. I know plenty of ppl who marry their cousins (regardless of the medical wrongs or rights of this), because they want to..part of the reason for this, is that their social circle has pretty much consisted of their extended family members. I don’t doubt that some people are co-erced into marrying cousins, but let’s not forget the people who do it out of choice.

    97. sonia — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:23 am  

      good job we have some medics here at PP to tell us what’s what! thanks Rohin for the info. i always think these things, 1 in 3 babies, always sound oversimplified.

      ive recently found out that thalassemia seems to be something that people need to be aware of.

    98. Sofia — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:24 am  

      Saqib, you haven’t come across that many muslim ppl?? in london??? at university???

    99. douglas clark — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:27 am  

      Rohin,

      Your the expert. Is this a load of tosh?

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/4442010.stm

      I have no idea.

    100. sonia — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:27 am  

      well if someone is marrying someone through their own choice rather than their families, frankly its none of my business, and i think it sounds from the medical evidence that its repeated marrying over generations that’s the prob, rather than some isolated event.

      obviously some people might want to choose to marry their cousin, but im talking specifically about the custom of arranging marriages between cousins. i dunno where you’re from sofia, but it seems to me there are certain pockets of places in the sub-continent where arranged marriage pretty much means - your cousin. (Its not particularly prevalent in Bangladesh) And that is a silly thing to keep doing down the generations, but my wider issues are with arranged marriages, full stop.

    101. Rohin — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:31 am  

      Thalassaemia is most prevalent amongst Mediterranean races, which is actually how it was named: Thalassa Gr. Sea, Haem Gr. Blood.

    102. Saqib — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:31 am  

      Sonia:

      ‘Saqib, you haven’t come across that many muslim ppl?? in london??? at university???’

      No, no…perhaps i was unclear.

      I meant in London, at university, i had not come across that many people who were in relationships, only then to feel that they would be married of to their cousin. This was in reference to your statement:

      ‘{how many young people does one meet at university, who have relationships, but then say, well i know im going to be married off to my cousin at the end of the day?}’

      Perhaps this may be different in other parts of the country.

    103. Saqib — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:34 am  

      Apologies Sonia, I mistook you for Sofia in post 98…easy mistake really.

    104. Rohin — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:35 am  

      Douglas, I disagree with nothing in that article apart from the one third of all babies in the UK with genetic disorders being from Pakistani families. Conveniently no references are cited. I am looking it up now.

    105. douglas clark — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:36 am  

      Saqib,

      Perhaps, but it seems to me that the fact that the sun don’t shine, too often, up here, is something everyone ought to take on board. Wherever they come from.

    106. douglas clark — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:40 am  

      Rohin,

      Whatever you come up with, I’ll agree with. ‘Cause I frankly trust you to tell the truth.

    107. sonia — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:42 am  

      well saqib, i dont need to tell you anything surely ! have you been in a madrassa all these years? Perhaps your friends think you’re religious and never told you about the girls they were seeing.

      ( but of course i can share my uni. stories with you - they are fascinating :-) )

      seriously, have you never met any young asians, university or no university? i mention my university experience as i didn’t grow up here, so i had no other “access” into asian communities here.

      anyhow, i think i don’t need to go into any more anecdotal experience, its hardly about what i “say” over what you “say”. if you really think that there aren’t a huge no. of issues for young british asians of any sort - (never mind the muslims) wanting to have relationships with all sorts of people - but then having to settle down to momma and poppa’s choice (cousin or not!) then you’re living in la-la land. with ref. to the cousin thing, a lot of my male friends who happened to be pakistani, they were worried about the ‘cousin spectre’. The poor things, really, it meant they were so much wilder at uni than they otherwise might have been, just because they were trying to lap it all up before they were consigned to doom.

    108. Rav — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:46 am  

      its a great shame that the polarisation in the press on this issue obscures everything.
      The Headline in the Sunday Times was bizarre and offensive.
      sadly,other groups and people use diatortions for their own reasons.

      MPAC are claiming its racism and Woolas should be sacked.Although their forum seems to be more sensible.
      George Galloway uses his newspaper column to say this.

      “Woolas’s elephantine blunder, of course, ignored some salient facts.

      That only the repeated marriage between cousins over generations causes damage to the gene-pool.

      That the damage makes the progeny unhealthy rather than deformed.

      Thats just plain wrong.
      I dod’t kn ow who he thinks he’s helping.

      The debate is clearly one that needs to be had.
      The Muslim Womens initiative are pretty sensible,agree theres a problem and that it must be discussed.

    109. sonia — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:47 am  

      well dont worry saqib, sonia sofia, to you im sure its all the same thing. ha ha well i did go to university in sheffield, so you could turn into a north/south divide thing ( heh heh) a lot of the people i met did come from Bradford, Hull, Huddersfield etc. Are you a Londoner?

      Still i’d be very surprised to find that the asian schizophrenia ( what i call it, this double life business, and then at some point, having to give into the family) doesn’t apply down south!

    110. Shiraz — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:56 am  

      Im actually from Bradford, Stop laughing ya bastids!

      The problems in Bradford are crazy i’ve worked alot with the deaf and blind community and alot of children as well. The children with sensory loss are always pakistanis. Its shocking. Also, Bradford Royal Infirmary has become a worled leader in hereditery genetic disorders mainly due to the fact so manly generations continually marry first cousins causing genetic disorders. The pakistani version of islam has been twisted to make marrying a first cousins neccessary.

      There is actually a prophetic hadith on this;

      ‘Marry from as far and wide as possible as this makes your blood strong’

    111. Rohin — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:57 am  

      Thanks Douglas, that’s nice of you to say. It’s probably because you haven’t met me.

      One study has shown the increase in risk being in the order of the figure quoted, i.e. Pakistani children are 13-18 times more likely to have an autosomal recessive disease. The one I read was actually in Norway and based on quite a small sample size.

      I can find no evidence to delineate the ethnic makeup of all children with recessive disorders in the UK. I find it hard to believe anyone would have even researched this as a particular genetic disease often has a race bias, so why would one want to assess race across all genetic disease? It would mean very little.

      From a personal perspective, as someone who has met many people with genetic disease, I’m sure I would have noticed if 33% had been Pakistani. And I studied and work in an area with a high Pakistani population.

      The most common recessive disorders in the UK are mentioned above: cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anaemia. The fact these are strongly biased away from Asians makes the one third claim very unlikely.

    112. platinum786 — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:58 am  

      within a generation or two it will entirely disappear. It’s not fashionable with the youth of today. why stick your oar in and aggravate a situation?

    113. Saqib — on 11th February, 2008 at 11:59 am  

      Sonia:

      ‘well saqib, i dont need to tell you anything surely ! have you been in a madrassa all these years? Perhaps your friends think you’re religious and never told you about the girls they were seeing.’

      Well I’ve never entered to a madrassa all my life, we never lived in a community. Funnily enough Sonia, when you’re involved with the Islamic Society, especially when your president people want to talk openly with you about matters of love. i actually told the University to get a Muslim chaplin.

      Your point was was that people would have relationships, knowing they would be married of to their cousin…it is this specific category of people i have not seen that much of. I did have a friend who saw someone for marriage, however she afterwards preferred to marry her cousin, whether this was her preferred choice, or a more compromised one, i can’t say for sure, however I did know her family were keen to keep it in the family.

      I have seen people however (Muslim’s), who have been in relationships, and want to get married, some did, some didn’t. Again, the nature of these relationships was different, to a simple interest in someone, to at times people seeing each other regularly, well dating. Sometimes people did marry cousins, mostly in the UK, sometimes the Islamic Society would arrange marriages, sadly I never met my match!

      I guess partly what I meant was that in London it is not only about living, if you like, a double life, people were prepared to genuinely break the mould if they were happy and convinced.

    114. Saqib — on 11th February, 2008 at 12:19 pm  

      Sonia:

      ‘well dont worry saqib, sonia sofia, to you im sure its all the same thing. ha ha well i did go to university in sheffield, so you could turn into a north/south divide thing ( heh heh) a lot of the people i met did come from Bradford, Hull, Huddersfield etc. Are you a Londoner?’

      We I am from London, I would say things are perhaps more pronounced up North. There could be factors for this. Most of the rural Pakistani communities are in the North; and amongst them, cousin marriage is probably ‘institionalised’ hence harder to break free from. In London also we have larger number of East African Asians, which is my specific community, and their attitudes were certainly more liberal.

      Also, more of the lower middle-class Pakistani immigrants reside in the South.

    115. Saqib — on 11th February, 2008 at 12:22 pm  

      platinum786:

      ‘within a generation or two it will entirely disappear. It’s not fashionable with the youth of today. why stick your oar in and aggravate a situation?’

      Actually I don’t believe it will. I know of uncles and aunties who did not have cousin marriages, however their children did. It will always remain a viable option. What’s important is nothing becomes ‘institutionalized.

    116. Rohin — on 11th February, 2008 at 12:25 pm  

      ‘within a generation or two it will entirely disappear. It’s not fashionable with the youth of today. why stick your oar in and aggravate a situation?’

      1) It is fashionable, in that it is happening as frequently as study data from 25 years ago. I know at least three friends around my age (25-30) who have married their first cousins.

      2) Our oar needs to be stuck in as it has wide public health implications.

    117. Random Guy — on 11th February, 2008 at 12:37 pm  

      Saqib, from one East-African Asian to another: jambo sana!

    118. Bert Preast — on 11th February, 2008 at 12:37 pm  

      For the hijab/sunlight thing people do need to be informed. The fair skin normal in northern Europe is a mutation that allows greater natural production of vitamin D, so if you’re dark skinned and working indoors in the UK you’re likely to want to get some vitamin D down your neck.

    119. Sofia — on 11th February, 2008 at 12:39 pm  

      I agree with the repeated nature…just a query..what are the issues with arranged marriages..

      my parents are from India, and are not cousins, although there are marriage links with other members of their families. I think there is a huge difference between urban and rural practices and therefore that has an impact on immigrant communities who may come from a particular background.

    120. Saqib — on 11th February, 2008 at 12:42 pm  

      Refresh:

      Yes, Jambo.

      Have a mandaazi on me!

    121. douglas clark — on 11th February, 2008 at 12:43 pm  

      Ho hum.

      Rohin @ 111. That was really not particularily reassuring. But I have come to put my trust in you telling the truth.

    122. sonia — on 11th February, 2008 at 12:47 pm  

      yep saqib east african asian muslims are generally more liberal.

    123. sonia — on 11th February, 2008 at 12:48 pm  

      and yep sofia..

      I think there is a huge difference between urban and rural practices and therefore that has an impact on immigrant communities who may come from a particular background.

    124. pounce — on 11th February, 2008 at 12:55 pm  

      Funny enough a report was written by Kirklees council only the other week on the very high rate of infant deaths in the area. (Points finger across Saville town bridge)and that report doesn’t mention Muslims. It says Pakistani. Seen as ST is about 10 miles from Bradford you’d think that Mrs Cryer and Co would know about this report:
      http://www.kirklees-pct.nhs.uk/public-information/publications/infant-deaths-in-north-kirklees/

      Don’t click on the summary as it is pants.

    125. Rohin — on 11th February, 2008 at 1:13 pm  

      “But I have come to put my trust in you telling the truth.”

      I was going to say the classic ‘trust me, I’m a…’

      I can’t do it. My brain’s cliché centre overloads.

    126. douglas clark — on 11th February, 2008 at 1:24 pm  

      So Saqib,

      I’m talking to some sort of superior person, am I? You are what? I didn’t realise that Ms Huq ought to be respected ’cause her sister was on Blue Peter. I respected her anyway. Apologies to both of you.

      when you’re involved with the Islamic Society, especially when your president people want to talk openly with you about matters of love.

      Quite frankly I think you write an enormous amount of sense. I did not realise you had a perspective on it, like Inyaat. Who - I know I am about to be torn to ribbons on here for saying this - seems to me at least, to have grown up a lot in the last few years.

    127. douglas clark — on 11th February, 2008 at 1:38 pm  

      Rohin @ 125,

      Oh, hah, hah, etc. I am probably naive, but I’m not that naive. It is the shit you write that convinces me that you are truthful. Not the fact that you are a transplant surgeon. I once got to talk to a very famous astronomer. He was also an extremely nice guy. And also extremely honest. No, I have no idea whatsoever where I am going with this post.

    128. Saqib — on 11th February, 2008 at 1:48 pm  

      Douglas:

      ‘So Saqib,

      I’m talking to some sort of superior person, am I? You are what? I didn’t realise that Ms Huq ought to be respected ’cause her sister was on Blue Peter. I respected her anyway. Apologies to both of you.’

      Sorry, have I missed something, was this meant to be ironic?

      Ironically Rupa Huq is a lecturer at my University, though we have never crossed paths.

    129. Random Guy — on 11th February, 2008 at 1:53 pm  

      Saqib @ 120: You mean “‘Random’, have a mandazi on me”, surely?

      :)

      Just so you don’t start confusing Refresh with TKK references, reminiscising about Ugali + Skuma, and Ma-Threes etc.

    130. Saqib — on 11th February, 2008 at 1:58 pm  

      Random Guy:

      Apologies…that’s the second time I have done that, firstly confusing Sofia for Sonia, and now Refresh with Random Guy. Next I’d be confusing Sid with Muzumdar!

    131. Rohin — on 11th February, 2008 at 3:21 pm  

      Don’t worry, we have established already that there are altogether too many ‘Rs’ and ‘Ss’ on here. You’re not helping things out Saqib.

    132. Ravi Naik — on 11th February, 2008 at 4:42 pm  

      Inbreeding is a symptom of insular communities, who want to protect their ethnicity by not allowing outsiders. Ironic isn’t it how mother nature likes diversity?

      European monarchies were also plagued by inbreeding, which is not surprising considering the amount of madness and genetic diseases they had.

    133. douglas clark — on 11th February, 2008 at 4:49 pm  

      Point taken Saqib. There is a very amusing post somewhere that says the other Huq is the cause of folk staying at home, rather than going out to work. It is she alone that causes male unemployment. Until you have seen Ms Huq, you might be inclined to dismiss that as a ridiculous notion. OTOH, once you have seen her, you’d be inclined to go, hmmmm. That chap has a point.

      No, I wasn’t being ironic. It was your good self that said you were the president of something:

      when you’re involved with the Islamic Society, especially when your president people want to talk openly with you about matters of love.

      Which I understood to be you talking about yourself. Perhaps that was an assumption too far?

    134. Sofia — on 11th February, 2008 at 5:04 pm  

      Saqib, i take it that it’s the male students that come up to you? I couldn’t imagine going to our islamic soc president for chat about personal issues…

    135. Saqib — on 11th February, 2008 at 5:39 pm  

      Sofia:

      ‘Saqib, i take it that it’s the male students that come up to you? I couldn’t imagine going to our islamic soc president for chat about personal issues…’

      I dealt with females as well, however this was via the phone and email when it came to such personal matters. Contact details were available freely, so anyone could contact you.

      Usually females would directly approach the ‘Sisters’ rep. However, it was really during informal chats that things would come up.

      I remember we started a tradition that the last talk of the year would be about Marriage, and this was packed out. People would then hopefully embark on finding a spouse, and remember some years back we had quite an extensive marriage network.

    136. Saqib — on 11th February, 2008 at 5:42 pm  

      Douglas, you assumed correctly.

      Had to deal with the gutter more frequently then i would have liked however.

    137. Saqib — on 11th February, 2008 at 5:45 pm  

      I don’t believe it, Sunny has closed the other thread on Shariah…i had so much more to say.

      Liberal Fascist!!!

    138. a very public sociologist — on 11th February, 2008 at 5:49 pm  

      As if there wasn’t a more inappropriate time to raise this issue …

    139. Sunny — on 11th February, 2008 at 7:57 pm  

      You’ll get your opportunity again soon Saqib.

    140. Rumbold — on 11th February, 2008 at 8:36 pm  

      I like it when discussions draw to a gentle close (cue another 200 comments). I still think the problem is cultural, even if religion does not help. I still think that it is a public health issue, even if the figures and evidence might be oversimplified. And I still think that educating elders will be the best way in the long run to reduce this problem.

    141. Sid — on 11th February, 2008 at 8:39 pm  

      I’m in complete agreement with Rumbold.

    142. Sid — on 11th February, 2008 at 8:49 pm  

      There you go Rumbold, comment #142 is the cue for the next 200 comments. :D

    143. Mumbaikar — on 11th February, 2008 at 8:55 pm  

      Actually a system of cross cousin marriages exists amongst malayalees (hindus, muslims, christians) if I am not mistaken (atleast in the nair caste of hindus for sure). I am not sure how prevalent this is nowadays but you are allowed to marry specific first cousins and there are special names for these cousins i.e a man can marry his father’s sister’s daughter or his mother’s brother’s daughter => murapennu and a woman can marry her father’s sister’s son or her mother’s brother’s son => muracherukkan. So it is not accurate to say that this is an Islamic cultural thing only.

    144. Saqib — on 11th February, 2008 at 8:58 pm  

      Rumbold:

      I have made all my points and arguments…I think we will have to differ on this Rumbold. You mentioned the elders should be ‘educated’…again I disagree. It is for young people to be ‘informed’ of all the findings, who in turn can determine how they want to find a spouse.

      I think we are getting ready to declare our innings on this thread now.

    145. Leon — on 11th February, 2008 at 8:59 pm  

      I don’t know about you guys but I think I’m not far from being thoroughly bored with discussing, reading or posting about anything with the words Islam and Muslims in it…

    146. Sid — on 11th February, 2008 at 9:02 pm  

      Word.
      Someone had to say it and I’m glad it’s big Leon.

    147. Don — on 11th February, 2008 at 9:04 pm  

      Yes, also Attenborough is on telly. Time for an hour of awe without the need for a divinity.

    148. Saqib — on 11th February, 2008 at 9:07 pm  

      Leon:

      ‘I don’t know about you guys but I think I’m not far from being thoroughly bored with discussing, reading or posting about anything with the words Islam and Muslims in it…’

      Why don’t you push for a 42 day detention on discussing all things Muslim and Islam on PP Leon? Opps…that will involve Muslims as well!

    149. Leon — on 11th February, 2008 at 9:22 pm  

      Well, I wouldn’t have to push for anything, I’m an admin now on here so could just ban anyone who mentions those words if I take a turn for the fascist…:P

    150. El Cid — on 11th February, 2008 at 10:55 pm  

      Hmmm. I think Leon has given me my cue.
      How comes when PP comments hit three digits we get a “1″ that looks like an “|”. It’s been buggung me for months.

    151. Desi Italiana — on 12th February, 2008 at 1:52 am  

      Cousin marrying is not exclusively a Muslim thing. Similar to how Mumbaikar notes in #143, I know that in some parts of southern India, Hindu families DO do cousin marriage. I don’t know how prevalent it is, but it certainly has been done.

    152. Desi Italiana — on 12th February, 2008 at 1:57 am  

      Saqib:

      “For example, before Hindus converted to Islam in India during the 8th century, was cousin marriage practiced by them? If not, as I suspect is the answer…”:

      Not sure about this, jaan. I haven’t looked into cousin marriages specifically, but there are a couple of marital practices that Hindus engaged in which they do not anymore (at least to a large extent). For example, if a woman died, her husband would marry her sister (this I know happened most in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat; again, can’t say how widespread back then and now).

      I also think that the cousin marriage thing (I actually know a couple of Arab couples who are first cousins) has had to do with retaining the wealth of the family, especially if the family is well-off. You know, keeping it in the family. I suspect that this is one of the reasons which stimulated this practice.

    153. Desi Italiana — on 12th February, 2008 at 2:00 am  

      Leon #145:

      “I don’t know about you guys but I think I’m not far from being thoroughly bored with discussing, reading or posting about anything with the words Islam and Muslims in it…”

      Yo, I have been saying for a whole year now. I am really tired of it too.

      Can’t we pick on another group? (just kidding)

    154. Desi Italiana — on 12th February, 2008 at 2:02 am  

      To expand on my comment #152:

      “I also think that the cousin marriage thing (I actually know a couple of Arab couples who are first cousins) has had to do with retaining the wealth of the family, especially if the family is well-off. You know, keeping it in the family. I suspect that this is one of the reasons which stimulated this practice.”

      I do think class and wealth factors into cousin marriages.

      How come peeps always reduce every single practice to something having to do with ethnicity and/or religion?

    155. Saqib — on 12th February, 2008 at 7:27 am  

      Desi Italiana:

      ‘Not sure about this, jaan. I haven’t looked into cousin marriages specifically, but there are a couple of marital practices that Hindus engaged in which they do not anymore (at least to a large extent). For example, if a woman died, her husband would marry her sister (this I know happened most in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat; again, can’t say how widespread back then and now).’

      No worries Desi, I will defer to your knowledge on this one.

    156. Saqib — on 12th February, 2008 at 7:38 am  

      Desi Italiana:

      ‘“I also think that the cousin marriage thing (I actually know a couple of Arab couples who are first cousins) has had to do with retaining the wealth of the family, especially if the family is well-off. You know, keeping it in the family. I suspect that this is one of the reasons which stimulated this practice.”

      I do think class and wealth factors into cousin marriages.’

      I would beg to differ; this argument is anachronistic, for people are inappropriately projecting the European experience onto other societies. In Europe it was the practice of the nobility to ‘arrange marriages’ within the family for these reasons. What was interesting, was the fact that among the lower classes and peasants there was more freedom to pursue and court marriage with whom one wished as such considerations of wealth were not an issue, as they possessed so little.

      Now, cousin marriage in Pakistani society takes place amongst ALL the social strata, even those who possess little or no wealth. In fact, in Bradford, it is well-known that the majority of Pakistanis there originate from a place called ‘Mirpur’ which is noted for not being, well, let me put this politely, that well of. Yet cousin marriages are prevalent.

      I am particular about this, because I sense people feel that if the ‘cultural’ cycle was broken, cousin marriages would die out. This is fallacy, for I know people, uncles and aunties who did not have cousin marriages, but whose children have.

      ‘How come peeps always reduce every single practice to something having to do with ethnicity and/or religion?’

      It depends Desi, some issues are down to culture (which could be driven, or formulated by socio-economic factors) and some are down to religion. It really is about looking at every issue critically, and being prepared to throw away our terms of reference.

      For example, I sense the idea that cousin marriages was due to wealth to be framed within a Marxist discourse, though in Europe it was probably apt. However, I believe it is not for other societies, for reasons mentioned above.

    157. Refresh — on 12th February, 2008 at 9:02 am  

      The irony

      “I don’t know about you guys but I think I’m not far from being thoroughly bored with discussing, reading or posting about anything with the words Islam and Muslims in it…”

      Pickled Politics is built on them.

    158. Random Guy — on 12th February, 2008 at 9:11 am  

      Leon @ #145: “I don’t know about you guys but I think I’m not far from being thoroughly bored with discussing, reading or posting about anything with the words Islam and Muslims in it.”

      I passed that point a long time ago. The pattern here at PP is that any topic about Muslims/Islam gets the most interest and responses. Just ask Sunny, as he should have a good overview of the level of interest various posts get. Its nothing new or surprising, because this trend is a national one now, being fed by the media and politicians (and a good wa to distract ppl from more important issues).

      This is a little disturbing, because any debate about the ‘Asian’ community (which is what the site is supposed to be) is always overshadowed by this. Contrast with a site like SM, where you get a much more diverse articles, but topics about Islam still tend to be relatively oversubscribed. I suppose people are just aping the media line….but it makes for a thoroughly boring and polarised discussion of the same issues over and over again.

    159. bananabrain — on 12th February, 2008 at 10:00 am  

      Yes, it is 18, where it talks of prohibited degrees of marriage. However I have googled some stuff, which says that in parts of Genesis cousin marriages are performed, which shouldn’t surprise us given that this is part of semitic culture.

      if anyone’s still interested, first-cousin marriage has not been permitted since the giving of the Torah. nor would nowadays be the marriage of jacob with two sisters, or various other uncle-niece marriages that pop up in genesis.

      as for the inheritance question, it can easily be resolved by making the inheritance laws equitable - for which there is a Torah precedent, namely that of the daughters of zelophekhad. arcane, but there you are.

      We can take the case of hijab being perhaps likely to cause illness is Northern climes.

      i know that islam, like judaism, has legal provision for exemption in the case of medical need, if this is the case; my mate bubble’s dad, for example, was permitted a regular glass of red wine on the grounds that it was good for his diagnosed heart condition.

      I don’t know who [galloway] thinks he’s helping.

      himself? gosh, GG sucking up to the chavlim peanut gallery, there’s a first.

      I also think that the cousin marriage thing (I actually know a couple of Arab couples who are first cousins) has had to do with retaining the wealth of the family, especially if the family is well-off. You know, keeping it in the family. I suspect that this is one of the reasons which stimulated this practice.

      it is my understanding from a palestinian friend that within-clan marriages are extremely common, with similar genetic effects.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    160. Cinnamon — on 12th February, 2008 at 11:02 am  

      So you all agree then that it’s bad, but not so bad that it should be banned.

      Well, why not visit some of the kids that are actually abandoned by their families as they cannot cope, and explain to them that their life in the wheelchair tied to an Oxygen bottle in a hospice is also something to appreciate — after all they should be grateful they were born in the first place. Of course, they have no right to lament the fact that their parents messed up, because, if they hadn’t, then they would then be a different baby, and not their ailing selves. (I especially love this argument, how very, uhh, spiritual)

      And no, we should not forbid the practice, uh, because, so many people are doing it, always have done it and yeah, it’s not us that in the hospice, and as long as we don’t have to look the resulting cripples in the eye, it doesn’t bother us.

      No, we’re rather be politically correct, sticking an oar in is far too much to ask of us, might otherwise get called racist or islamophobic, and that would be unpleasant, no, it’s better we get some random child to suffer a disability, lest we suffer a pain in our carefully preserved dignity.

      And 30% of injuries resulting from 3% of birth is also not statistically significant, no no no, move alone now, nothing to see here.

      You guys are totally obsessed with race and religion, and in amidst all this, you completely lose track of humanity.

      How many thousand cripples are an acceptable price for your idea of personal liberty? And why is this form of child abuse different to others? Because it was not inflicted in anger or desperation, but out of arrogance that cousin marriage and the subsequent producing of cripples is some sort of human right?

    161. Rohin — on 12th February, 2008 at 11:10 am  

      With almost perfect timing, here is a very relevant news article (that suggests marriages between 3rd or 4th cousins in Iceland produce more offspring):

      http://www.abcnews.go.com/Health/ReproductiveHealth/story?id=4258128&page=1

    162. Saqib — on 12th February, 2008 at 11:20 am  

      Cinnamon

      Why don’t you actually read the comments on this thread, which have been very diverse, instead of using it as a soapbox to spout your emotionally immature ideas.

      By the way Cinnamon what else should be banned in your non PC, black and white world?

    163. Cinnamon — on 12th February, 2008 at 12:31 pm  

      I’ve read the comments. I saw the weaseling, hand waving and other excuses. Very few of you remember that the victims of this stupidity are living, breathing people and not just a statistic.

      And uh, yeah, it’s emotionally immature to point out that real people get to suffer their entire lives for other people idiocy.

      Saquib: People do count more than believes, and your human rights stop where theirs begin. In essence this means that I view people who deliberately risk their children’s health with incestuous marriages despite knowing the consequences as criminals, no different to a thug who kicks someone’s head in, knowing that it may well kill or disable them. Whether the injury was inflicted out of hatred or arrogance doesn’t matter — the result is the same: someone is crippled and in lifelong pain because of someone elses stupidity and arrogance.

      How about you explain to me how you be happy to suffer in a wheelchair, just to support the right of your mom to marry her cousin?

    164. Roger — on 12th February, 2008 at 12:53 pm  

      “European monarchies were also plagued by inbreeding, which is not surprising considering the amount of madness and genetic diseases they had.”

      Don’t you mean “European monarchies were also plagued by madness and genetic diseases, which is not surprising considering the amount of inbreeding they did.”, Ravi?
      Inbreeding produces genetic illnesses, not vice versa.

    165. El Cid — on 12th February, 2008 at 1:50 pm  

      Hey, the “1″ thing has been fixed!
      If you want an illustration of the dangers of in-breeding, check out some of Velazquez’s paintings.

    166. Parvinder — on 12th February, 2008 at 2:37 pm  

      here hey Cinnamon, well said

    167. Desi Italiana — on 12th February, 2008 at 4:24 pm  

      Saqib:

      “I would beg to differ; this argument is anachronistic, for people are inappropriately projecting the European experience onto other societies.”

      Wait a minute… so non European countries/peoples don’t ever do anything having to do with economics? I don’t think there is anything “European” about identifying that some may want to keep resources and whatever wealth (whether the families are relatively rich/poor) within a certain family.

      To be sure, I don’t think families now say, “Hey, we want to keep all of our dough within the family; let’s get our daughters and sons married to their cousins.” But it may very well have been socio-economic factors that initially spurred and/or may have normalized the practice, to the point where it is no longer just a socio-economic thing.

      “It depends Desi, some issues are down to culture (which could be driven, or formulated by socio-economic factors) and some are down to religion. It really is about looking at every issue critically, and being prepared to throw away our terms of reference.

      For example, I sense the idea that cousin marriages was due to wealth to be framed within a Marxist discourse, though in Europe it was probably apt. However, I believe it is not for other societies, for reasons mentioned above.”

      I vehemently disagree with you :) The above snippet reads as orientialism to me, in that non European countries are more based on religion and “culture” and that class is a side issue. Looking at class is not a “European” framework; class pervades all societies at all levels, in the past and present.

    168. Desi Italiana — on 12th February, 2008 at 5:02 pm  

      “You guys are totally obsessed with race and religion,”

      And sadly, a very one sided view on every single issue. If a person read PP and didn’t know any better, you’d get the impression that Brits who identify themselves as Muslim constitute about like 65% of the British population, and that they can only be Muslim and/or of Pakistani background and nothing more. Very reductionist indeed.

      Most posts with actual facts, statistics, and concrete realities get very few comments. If it can’t be reduced to Islam, the Mughal empire, or the fact that the people in question are Muslims, most folks won’t bother, because there is very little room for blowing hot air.

    169. Desi Italiana — on 12th February, 2008 at 5:07 pm  

      Saqib:

      “I sense the idea that cousin marriages was due to wealth to be framed within a Marxist discourse, though in Europe it was probably apt.”

      What’s so “Marxist” about bringing up socio-economic factors? Socio-economic issues have existed before Marx was born. Only academics slap on these labels :)

      There’s nothing “Marxist” about pointing out, for example, that people get up in the morning and go to work. It’s a fact that most of us in the world engage in (and I don’t mean in the capitalist sense either; even farmers wake up in the morning to till the ground so as to feed their families). You know?

    170. Jai — on 13th February, 2008 at 6:31 pm  

      Folks,

      For those of you who don’t know, our cousins (no pun intended) over at Sepia Mutiny are currently having an interesting parallel debate about this issue. Razib is on form with his usual genetics knowledge (some others have also contributed to that aspect of the discussion). The topic’s being hammered out at length quite well, and has followed a somewhat different path to the conversation here on PP.

      Also, our very own Rohin aka “Bong Breaker” has been putting in a special guest appearance by occasionally sneaking off to the party across the hall ;)

    171. Rumbold — on 13th February, 2008 at 8:14 pm  

      Jai:

      Off topic, do you know if Abhi from Sepia Mutiny is a bit unbalanced? I only ask because someone using his name, e-mail address and website link keeps getting caught in the spam filter, muttering about how Modi is the only one who can destroy Islam (and then writing NARENDA MODI in capital letters).

    172. Desi Italiana — on 13th February, 2008 at 9:44 pm  

      Also off-topic: Rumbold, are you still in India? If so, swing by Nepal next week!

    173. Suzy — on 14th February, 2008 at 1:25 am  

      Cousin marrying is fucking up Pakistani/British Pakistani society, especially first cousin marriage (I’m pretty sure it’s not as prevalent in Indian Hindu/Sikh communities)

      It is NON EXISTENT amongst Hindus and Sikhs in Britain!

      Marrying your cousin is considered equivalent of incest by us!

      We tie rakhris on our cousins wrists on rakhri day because they are considered to be our brothers and wea re their sisters!

      I find this whole issue very squeamish to think of and frankly quite repellent as a practise.

    174. Jai — on 14th February, 2008 at 10:25 am  

      Rumbold,

      Off topic, do you know if Abhi from Sepia Mutiny is a bit unbalanced?

      No, he isn’t. Not at all. I’ve spoken to him on SM and also offline many times, and he’s a pretty good guy.

      I only ask because someone using his name, e-mail address and website link keeps getting caught in the spam filter, muttering about how Modi is the only one who can destroy Islam (and then writing NARENDA MODI in capital letters).

      I noticed that here on PP too last week. I’m pretty sure it’s a case of someone else trying to hijack his identity in an attempt to slander him personally whilst simultaneously denigrating SM.

      I think you should email him directly on abhi@sepiamutiny.com and let him know what the spammer has been doing in his name.

    175. Rumbold — on 14th February, 2008 at 12:08 pm  

      Desi:

      No, I have returned. I ssuspect that I would not have been able to get to Nepal anyway.

      Jai:

      Okay, I will e-mail him. I presumed it was fake.

    176. Sofia — on 14th February, 2008 at 12:14 pm  

      Suzy ..repellent…easy…yeh cousins might be like your siblings and i understand the whole rakhi thing, but the fact is, they aren’t brothers/sisters…

    177. Sid — on 14th February, 2008 at 12:16 pm  

      genetically, cousins pretty much can be siblings.

    178. Sofia — on 14th February, 2008 at 12:21 pm  

      err well they aren’t are they…

    179. sonia — on 14th February, 2008 at 12:23 pm  

      “f a person read PP and didn’t know any better, you’d get the impression that Brits who identify themselves as Muslim constitute about like 65% of the British population, and that they can only be Muslim and/or of Pakistani background and nothing more. Very reductionist indeed.”

      heh heh good one desi!

    180. Sid — on 14th February, 2008 at 12:33 pm  

      no they aren’t siblings, first cousins, quite obviously. But given the nature of the disabilities suffered by the offspring of these marriages, would you be willing to to gamble the quality of their lives on being able to marry a first paternal cousin?

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