Islam may be harmful to your health…
Back in February, 2008, I blogged about Islam and Brain Damage. I offered evidence that the Islamic custom of proving one’s piety by slamming one’s head into the floor is dangerous to one’s mental and physical health. That blog post continues to draw occasional comments and considerable traffic.
The unwisdom of this activity should be so obvious as to need no explanation, but apparently those who have already spent their lives bashing their heads into the floor may be impervious to further attempts at reason.
…and to the health of your offspring
In a nutshell, the problem is that both the cultural traditions in Islamic lands, and Islam itself, encourage inbreeding.
Suffice it to say that there are excellent reasons why the descendents of the royal families of Europe no longer intermarry as they once did, and why some States in the USA ban first-cousin marriage. The Orthodox Christian Church takes it further, prohibiting marriage between first or second cousins. Yet cousin marriage remains customary, not only within Muslim countries, but also among expatriate Muslim populations elsewhere.
Charles II of Spain, mentioned in the article below, suffered throughout his short life from severe mental and physical disabilities.
…What’s the negative? Pedigree collapse. I’ve been talking about marriages between first cousins throughout this post, but that’s really a small issue next to this. Even first cousin marriages produce individuals with a fair amount of inbreeding. I ran a test for runs of homozygosity in my 23andMe genetic profile and I got 3 hits, while a friend whose parents are first cousins got ~70 (the parameters for the test aren’t important, just giving a relative sense). For inbred clans it gets much worse because people are related in many different ways, and genetically are far closer than first cousins. That is what happened to the Spanish Hapsburgs. As you can see from the pedigree of Charles II his parents were closer than typical first cousins. The Samaritans of Israel are a religious sect which seems to be going through pedigree collapse. Some of them are proactively marrying outsiders to prevent their extinction through high infant mortality rates. Others, “traditionalists,” oppose exogamy because intermarriage within the group is the custom, and diseases are God’s will.
The Samaritans are an extreme case. But we may be seeing a thousand Samaritan flowers blooming across the Middle East. From what I know cousin marriage in the Middle East is not limited to Muslims, Christians and Jews practice it as well. But among many Muslims it has some cachet because of particular hadiths which point to this practice as preferred. Setting religion aside, there are also social reasons why this practice is common. As I noted above sex segregation means that you may not know women outside of your family well, and in some societies where veiling is practiced it may be that you do not see many women you are not related to (even if veiling occurs at puberty, you may have seen your cousin at a younger age). Marriages are bonds which may tie a family into one operational social unit, and so produce a powerful inbred clan. This illustrates the cross-purposes of a cultural unit of selection vs. the individual unit of selection. In a society where clan vs. clan competitions are critical sorting mechanisms consanguineous marriages may serve as beneficial cross-linkages. Balanced against this of course are marriages across clans. On an individual level a first cousin marriage reduces the reproductive fitness, but higher potential reproductive fitness of two individuals who have no social support because of ostracism may be a moot point.
A scandalous documentary
By Tazeen Ahmad
Last updated at 11:11 AM on 23rd August 2010
Sitting in the family living room, I watched tensely as my mother and her older brother signed furiously at each other. Although almost completely without sound, their row was high-octane, even vicious.
Three of my uncles were born deaf but they knew how to make themselves heard. Eventually, my uncle caved in and fondly put his arm around his sister.
My mum has always had a special place in her family because she was the first girl to live beyond childhood. Five of her sisters died as babies or toddlers. It was not until many years later that anyone worked out why so many children died and three boys were born deaf.
Today there is no doubt among us that this tragedy occurred because my grandparents were first cousins.
My grandmother’s heart was broken from losing so many daughters at such a young age. As a parent, I can’t imagine what she went through.
My family is not unique. In the UK more than 50 per cent of British Pakistanis marry their cousins – in Bradford that figure is 75 per cent – and across the country the practice is on the rise and also common among East African, Middle-Eastern and Bangladeshi communities.
Back when my grandparents were having children, the medical facts were not established. But today in Britain alone there are more than 70 scientific studies on the subject.
We know the children of first cousins are ten times more likely to be born with recessive genetic disorders which can include infant mortality, deafness and blindness.
We know British Pakistanis constitute 1.5 per cent of the population, yet a third of all children born in this country with rare recessive genetic diseases come from this community.
Despite overwhelming evidence, in the time I spent filming Dispatches: When Cousins Marry, I felt as if I was breaking a taboo rather than addressing a reality. Pakistanis have been marrying cousins for generations.
Here is the documentary; it runs for approximately one hour:
- Click this link if the embedded video does not work in your browser.
- If this link does not work either, please scroll down and see Muslim Cousin Marriage: The Documentary at the end of this post.
Widespread effects of inbreeding
The effects of inbreeding are not limited to the incidence of obvious birth defects. Even those offspring who do not have overt congenital defects will, on the average, have lower intelligence and less ability to deal with life in the modern world.
Massive inbreeding within the Muslim culture during the last 1.400 years may have done catastrophic damage to their gene pool. The consequences of intermarriage between first cousins often have serious impact on the offspring’s intelligence, sanity, health and on their surroundings
The most famous example of inbreeding is in ancient Egypt, where several Pharaonic dynasties collapsed after a couple of hundred years. In order to keep wealth and power within the family, the Pharaohs often married their own sister or half-sister and after a handful of generations the offspring were mentally and physically unfit to rule. Another historical example is the royal houses of Europe where royal families often married among each other because tradition did not allow them to marry people of non-royal class.
The high amount of mentally retarded and handicapped royalties throughout European history shows the unhealthy consequences of this practice. Luckily, the royal families have now allowed themselves to marry for love and not just for status.
The Muslim culture still practices inbreeding and has been doing so for longer than any Egyptian dynasty. This practice also predates the world’s oldest monarchy (the Danish) by 300 years.
A rough estimate shows that close to half of all Muslims in the world are inbred: In Pakistan, 70 percent of all marriages are between first cousins (so-called “consanguinity”) and in Turkey the amount is between 25-30 percent (Jyllands-Posten, 27/2 2009 More stillbirths among immigrants”
Statistical research on Arabic countries shows that up to 34 percent of all marriages in Algiers are consanguine (blood related), 46 percent in Bahrain, 33 percent in Egypt, 80 percent in Nubia (southern area in Egypt), 60 percent in Iraq, 64 percent in Jordan, 64 percent in Kuwait, 42 percent in Lebanon, 48 percent in Libya, 47 percent in Mauritania, 54 percent in Qatar, 67 percent in Saudi Arabia, 63 percent in Sudan, 40 percent in Syria, 39 percent in Tunisia, 54 percent in the United Arabic Emirates and 45 percent in Yemen (Reproductive Health Journal, 2009 Consanguinity and reproductive health among Arabs.).
A large part of inbred Muslims are born from parents who are themselves inbred – which increase the risks of negative mental and physical consequenses greatly.
Several studies show that children of consanguineous marriages have lower intelligence than children of non-related parents. Research shows that the IQ is 10-16 points lower in children born from related parents and that abilities related to social behavior develops slower in inbred babies:
“Effects of parental consanguinity on the cognitive and social behavior of children have been studied among the Ansari Muslims of Bhalgapur, Bihar.
IQ in inbred children (8-12 years old) is found to be lower (69 in rural and 79 in suburban populations) than that of the outbred ones (79 and 95 respectively). The onset of various social profiles like visual fixation, social smile, sound seizures, oral expression and hand-grasping are significantly delayed among the new-born inbred babies.” (Indian National Science Academy, 1983 Consanguinity Effects on Intelligence Quotient and Neonatal Behaviours of nsari Muslim Children“).
The article “Effects of inbreeding on Raven Matrices” concludes that “Indian Muslim school boys, ages 13 to 15 years, whose parents are first cousins, were compared with classmates whose parents are genetically unrelated on the Raven Standard Progressive Matrices, a nonverbal test of intelligence. The inbred group scored significantly lower and had significantly greater variance than the non-inbred group, both on raw scores and on scores statistically adjusted to control for age and socioeconomic status.” (Behaviour Genetics, 1984).
Another study shows that the risk of having an IQ lower than 70 goes up 400 percent from 1.2 percent in children from normal parents to 6.2 percent in inbred children: “The data indicate that the risk for mental retardation in matings of normal parents increases from 0.012 with random matings to 0.062 for first-cousin parentage.” (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 1978 Effect of inbreeding on IQ and mental retardation“). The study A study of possible deleterious effects of consanguinity concludes, that “The occurrence of malignancies, congenital abnormalities, mental retardation and physical handicap was significantly higher in offspring of consanguineous than non-consanguineous marriages.”
- Daily Mail (UK): It’s time to confront this taboo: First cousin marriages in Muslim communities are putting hundreds of children at risk
- The Mountain of Names (Geneology)
- ‘Bradford is very inbred': Muslim outrage as professor warns first-cousin marriages increase risk of birth defects
- Inbreeding and Resulting Genetic Disorder in Muslim Community, by Dr. Radhasyam Brahmachari:
Muslim Cousin Marriage: The Documentary
Uploaded by Dispatches111100 on Dec 20, 2010
Muslim children in certain areas are 13 times more likely to be born with birth defects than non-Muslims due to a tradition of arranged marriages with cousins. This documentary highlights how political correctness allows this to happen in modern day Britain and Europe. Is this British media propaganda? Or does this actually happen alot within Muslim communities?
The Orthodox Christian view:
Blog admins 1389 and CzechRebel are Orthodox Christians. We are taught that marriage between first or second cousins is prohibited on the grounds of consanguinity (too close a relationship by blood).
Some Orthodox Christians, particularly Serbs, also observe a prohibition against marriage between those who have the same godmother or godfather (sponsors at baptism), even when there is no prohibited blood relationship. This fosters exogamy (marriage outside one’s own village or local community) which expands the gene pool and further lessens the likelihood of recessive genetic disease in the offspring. The search for appropriate marriage partners outside one’s own local community has the additional benefit of encouraging communication and fellowship among local communities within the Orthodox Christian community.
Addendum from Gramfan: