Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Misunderstood Cultural, Nothing Religious Inbreeding

Inbreeding Among Muslims In The UK Is A Sizeable Problem 

Opening Up Discussion Of Problem Of Inbreeding
Inbreeding within the Muslim community in the UK and its tragic consequences have recently been aired openly. Within the community itself, where marrying within the family is part of tradition, the problem of inbreeding tends merely to be accepted as par for the course. For others, silence on the issue of inbreeding is the result of political correctness and fear of being branded racist. A talk on inbreeding within Islamic communities by geneticist Steve Jones prompted airing of the issue in the British press. Warning that inbreeding in Islamic communities was threatening the health of generations of children, Steve Jones, said, “We should be concerned as there can be a lot of hidden genetic damage and children are much more likely to get two copies of a damaged gene”.
Size And Impact Of The Problem
Although inbreeding is a huge problem within the Islamic community, inbreeding is not a koranic teaching. The problem is more cultural than religious, even though there could be confusion within the minds of the community.
The vast majority of Muslims in the UK are from Pakistan. It is said that about half of British Pakistani Muslims marry a first cousin and that such Muslim inbreeding are 13 times more likely than the general population to produce children with genetic disorders. About 10% of children from first-cousin marriages either dies in infancy or develops a serious life-threatening disability. And although 3% of children born in the UK are British Pakistanis, they make up 33% of the 15,000 to 20,000 children born each year with genetic defects. The defects range from blindness or deafness, to physical deformities, to all kinds of organ damage, including brain damage, which can cause death or chronic degenerative illnesses.
It is not just the hospitals that have to cope with the medical problems that these children face. The education system, too, has to try to cater for those with learning difficulties. Then there are the families themselves, who have to cope with the impaired children, or have to face the trauma of the loss of children. On top of that, physically unaffected children are more likely than the general population to carry the defective gene and pass it on to subsequent generations.
Attitude Of Muslim Community To The Problem
The issue of inbreeding is one that is discussed to some extent on Muslim websites. Explaining the popularity of marriages between cousins, one British-Pakistani netizen wrote, “A main reason why this corrupt practice is still followed in Britain is because the family wants to keep their property, land, jewellery and money in the family. The lack of education in families, along with Pakistani village culture, encourages these incestuous marriages”.
This lack of education is evident in the responses that some charity and health-sector workers encounter. They are told by many parents that the children’s disability is due to an “act of God” or the “will of Allah”. Zed Ali, manager of Project BME (Black Minority Ethnics), and herself of Asian and British background,  says that some parents think that if their children die, they will become angels in heaven.
Effort To Educate The Muslim Community
A Muslim doctor in Birmingham, Mohamed Walji, has discussed the devastating effect of cousin-marriages with the imam at his local mosque. The imam has since given lectures about this topic. According to Mohamed Walji, there has been a reduction in the number of cousin-marriages.
Think About It
If there are hard data on the size of the problem of inbreeding and its devastating effects, should it be politically incorrect to discuss the problem? Would it be more correct to discuss the issue of inbreeding and find constructive ways of tackling the problem? Many people in the Muslim community in the UK are educated, and by website comments are concerned about the effects of inbreeding. Could they, or should they, like Mohamed Walji, be leading the way in trying to stem the problem? Could religious leaders also play a part?

Source: A Big Message - Monday, June 6, 2011


Hay Festival 2011: Professor Risks Political Storm Over Muslim 'Inbreeding’

Prof Steve Jones, one of Britain’s most eminent scientists, has warned that the level of inbreeding among the nation’s Muslims is endangering the health of future generations.
Professor  Steve Jones
Professor Steve Jones gives The John Maddox Lecture at the Hay Festival  
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones Religious Affairs Correspondent

The geneticist said that it was common in the Islamic world for men to marry their nieces and cousins.
He said that Bradford has a particular problem and warned that it could affect the health of children born into these marriages.
Prof Jones, who lectures at University College London, is likely to find himself at the centre of controversy in the wake of the comments.
Similar remarks made by Phil Woolas, a Labour environment minister, in 2008 resulted in calls for him to be sacked from the government.
Prof Jones, who writes for the Telegraph’s science pages, told an audience at the Hay Festival: “There may be some evidence that cousins marrying one another can be harmful.
“It is common in the Islamic world to marry your brother’s daughter, which is actually closer than marrying your cousin.
“We should be concerned about that as there can be a lot of hidden genetic damage. Children are much more likely to get two copies of a damaged gene.”
He added: “Bradford is very inbred. There is a huge amount of cousins marrying each other there.” Research in Bradford has found that babies born to Pakistani women are twice as likely to die in their first year as babies born to white mothers, with genetic problems linked to inbreeding identified as a “significant” cause.
Studies have found that within the city, more than 70 per cent of marriages are between relations, with more than half involving first cousins.
Separate studies have found that while British Pakistanis make up three per cent of all births, they account for one in three British children born with genetic illnesses. Prof Jones also said that incest was more common than is often realised in every part of society, adding that it had been particular prevalent among royalty and suggested it is still ­continuing.
“Royal families are the human equivalent of fruit flies because they do all the sexual experiments you can think of and there are some examples of inbreeding.
“Royalty did it to keep the heritage within the family line.
“Inbreeding doesn’t apply particularly to our own royal family, but there is some.”
He explained that Prince Charles and Diana could both be traced back to Edward I, with Prince Charles being able to do this through 3,000 “lines” – overlapping connections between people in his family tree – and his former wife being able to do it through 4,000, making the Princess of Wales “from stronger aristocratic heritage” than her husband.
“Their parents had much ancestry in common,” he said.
“We are all more incestuous than we realise.
“In Northern Ireland lots of people share the same surname which suggests a high level of inbreeding.
“There’s a lot of surname diversity in London but if you look at the Outer Herbrides there are rather fewer surnames in relation to the number of people.”

Source: Telegraph - May 29, 2011


Al-Manar said...

When keeping property and wealth within family circle is important, when preserving lineage, tenku, Wan, Syed etc is a priority, etc etc, in breeding is inevitable.Tun Mahadhir hasd a lot to say about this in the Malay Dilemma.

Ummie said...

Well said, Mr Al-Manar.
It's akin to I should say, 'hoarding' - Against basic living principal & faith.

When tradition is copied & followed religiously, then the religion reflects 'ugly shadow', crafting wrong perception in others' minds.

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