Australian Islamist Monitor

Islam Under Scrutiny

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Keeping it in the Family

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Marriage between relatives, usually cousins, in Arab and Muslim societies is common and sanctioned underCousin Marriage shariah because Mohammed, the perfect man, married his cousin, Zainab bint Jahsh. It is also legal under our law, but not terribly common. Such marriages ensured the wealth stayed within the family, and that the marriage partner was well known to the family. Of course, when people lived in small villages and travel was difficult, it was probable that the only available partners were family members.

However, there is evidence that the product of such marriages suffer disproportionate risks of genetic disorders, and the risk increases down the bloodline with each successive relative marriage. In Saudi Arabia, where cousin marriage is common, authorities are beginning to realise the consquences of such unions.

“Spinal muscular atrophy and the gene that causes it, along with several other serious genetic Forced Marriagedisorders, are common in Saudi Arabia, where women have an average of six children and where in some regions more than half of the marriages are between close relatives.

Across the Arab world today an average of 45 percent of married couples are related, according to Dr. Nadia Sakati, a pediatrician and senior consultant for the genetics research center at King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh. Widespread inbreeding in Saudi Arabia has produced several genetic disorders, Saudi public health officials said, including the blood diseases of thalassemia and sickle cell anemia, and spinal muscular atrophy and diabetes. Dr. Sakati said she had also found links between inbreeding and deafness and muteness.

''Saudi Arabia is a living genetics laboratory,'' said the executive director of the Prince Salman Center for Disability Research, Dr. Stephen R. Schroeder, an American geneticistr. ''Here you can look at 10 families to study genetic disorders, where you would need 10,000 families to study disorders in the United States.''

Testing could identify couples who test positive for serious diseases. Under a fatwa issued by the World Islamic League in 1990, Islam permits abortions up to 120 days after conception if an unborn child tests positive for a serious disorder. (reference)

In my home country of England, there were many instances of genetic defects among Pakistanis, many of whom married cousins. Of course, apart from culture, marrying a cousin was also a way of bringing the extended family into England.

British Pakistanis are 13 times more likely to have children with genetic disorders than the general population - they account for just over 3% of all births but have just under a third of all British children with such illnesses.

A BBC Newsnight programme estimated that at least 55% of British Pakistanis are married to first cousins and the tradition is common among some South Asian and Middle Eastern communities.


Costs of Inbreeding
Smile twists across Kaled Assoum's face. Lying in his cot, he gurgles happily as his mother, Randa, tickles his belly and kisses him on the face. The eight-year-old, pictured above with his grandmother, was born with severe intellectual and physical disabilities. He cannot walk, talk, and feeds through a tube in his stomach. He has the mental capacity of a one-year-old.
 FROM The Sun-Herald (Sydney, 28th May, 2006), pages 79-80 
Communities that practice cousin marriage experience higher levels of some very rare but very serious illnesses, known as recessive genetic disorders. A Labour MP Ann Cryer, whose Bradford constituencey has a high rate of cousin marriages (an estimated three out of four marriages within its Pakistani community are between first cousins), is calling for an end to the practice.


"As we address problems of smoking, drinking, obesity, we say it's a public health issue, and therefore we all have to get involved with it in persuading people to adopt a different lifestyle.. They must look outside the family for husbands and wives for their young people."

Birmingham Primary Care Trust estimates that one in ten of all children born to first cousins in the city either dies in infancy or goes on to develop serious disability as a result of a recessive genetic disorder.

In the general population the likelihood of a couple having the same variant gene is a hundred to one. In cousin marriages, it is more like one in eight.  (reference)

Even in Australia, this problem is beginning to surface, mainly among Lebanese Muslims in Sydney's western suburbs, where doctors have found high rates of infant death and birth defects in children born to first cousins. A study at Auburn Hospital published in 2001found almost 20 % of pregnant women admitted to the maternity ward in one year were married to their first or second cousins,  and that babies were three times more likely to be born with birth defects and six times more likely to die in the womb or in infancy than babies in the general population.

Fifteen babies bom to couples related by birth (sometimes termed ‘kissing cousins’) had severe defects, including heart, kidney and liver function problems. Among non-cousin couples there were five disabled babies - one with a cleft lip and two with club feet. Of those babies that died - six in total - all were bom to kissing couples.

Given the typical Western view of such marriages, one might expect that most of these people were first generation immigrants. However the opposite appears to be the case, with the proportion of pregnant women who were consanguineously married increasing from 11 per cent in the 1980s to 19.6 per cent in 1999.

“Westmead Children's Hospital geneticist David Sillence said the issue of marriage between blood relatives was extremely sensitive in communities in which it was practised, including Lebanese, Turkish, Iraqi, Iranian and Pakistani.”

It is understandable that families want to continue cultural traditions, but geneticist Professor David Sillence believes consanguinity may have outlived its usefulness. "Consanguinity doesn't necessarily preserve marriages anymore and it doesn't necessarily protect women from abuse within the family It puts women in a relationship within their household where they not only have a husband but a father-in-law who is related to them because he is the uncle and there is increased pressure on them.


 Kaled'd father Mohammed says: "From the beginning I was a bit sad and she was abased. She started crying but I said in the end we can't do anything. That's how God created him. Even if we cry from now on until 100 years, you can't do anything .''
FROM The Sun-Herald (Sydney, 28th May, 2006), pages 79-80

Dr Kristine Barlow-Stewart, from the centre for Genetics Education, says the vast majority of children are born healthy.


"The risk of having a [disabled] child when the parents are first cousins is around 5-6 per cent. but "The problem is that where there is a tradition for relatives to marry, you'll get the grandparents who are first cousins, the parents who are first cousins and the children who are first cousins. Then the chance of them sharing the same faulty gene is compounded and there risk is much greater than the 5to 6 per cent risk." (source)

and “The Family Ties that Bind” (28th May, 2006), The Sun Herald, reported:

It is clear that the practice of cousins marrying places an extra strain on already-scarce health and welfare resources.


Is this a public health issue that Rudd should be addressing, just as he is addressing obesity?
Should this become a factor in deciding whether to allow people into the country?
Can Australia support the extra financial burden, especially in these times of economic downturn?

What do readers think?

 Additional Readings:

1. Blindness due to consanguineous marriages

2. First Cousins and Marriage

3. Consanguinity prevents Middle Eastern political development

4. Consanguinity among the Saudi Arabian population

5. The Prevalence And Correlates Of Consanguineous Marriages In Yemen: Similarities And Contrasts With Other Arab Countries

Last Updated on Monday, 25 August 2008 02:58  

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History - Violent Jihad

Australians celebrate and revere Anzac Day on April 25th each year in remembrance of our brave soldiers who fought in two great world wars to secure our freedom. Every Australian identifies with the slogan “lest we forget” and in services held around the country people reflect on the battles and men who died to secure our freedom. Yet across the world in France, there is one remarkable battle which helped form the Europe we know today and allowed the development of civilization based on Judeo Christian principles. This one famous battle has become known as the battle of Tours and effectively stopped the Muslim advance into Europe. After the death of Mohammed in 632AD, Muslim armies exploded out of the Arabian peninsula to conquer much of the Middle East, expanding across north Africa. From there they crossed into Spain in 711AD and eventually controlled much of al-Andalus by 715AD. It was the victory at Tours by Charles Martel that stemmed the tide and eventually the Muslim marauders were expelled from Spain in 1492 when the last outpost at Granada fell to King Ferdinand of Spain. 

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History - Tolerance Myths

Perhaps some readers might be interested to know that January 28 is considered a feast day among Catholics – actually 2 feast days are celebrated on the same day – one is of ST Thomas Aquinas, the great medieval theologian and philosopher who adapted Aristotle to the western Judeo-Christian worldview. . It is also the feast day of a lesser known person – St Peter Nolasco, the great ransomer of captives from the Muslims.

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History - Violent Jihad

Barbary Corsair
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Battle of Broken Hill Logo
The First Islamic Terrorist Attack on Australian Soil
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History - Tolerance Myths

Jihad Galore and the Toledo Whore

Battle of Higueruela

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History - Stolen Heritage

How the Arabs Hated The Quran
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History - Imperialism

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History - Stolen Heritage

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History - Imperialism

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History - Early History

A great tragedy of the Islamic control of our universities and political correctness plus the fear of extreme violence if anyone dares question the roots and claims of Islam is ...that nobody dares question the roots and claims of Islam!!!  I want to stimulate interest and offer this summary of information on Mecca from (LINK) which discusses some problems with Muslim claims in a comparison of evidence supporting Islam/Christianity. 

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FlagThere is a very strongly entrenched view among majority of Westerners today that the three main monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam share one common God and therefore despite the obvious differences, the core foundation of these three religions is the same. 

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