Islam and Genetic Damage

Originally posted on 2.0: The Blogmocracy

Islam may be harmful to your health…

Smiley bashing head against floor

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.

Portrait of Charles II of Spain by Juan de Miranda Carreno

Charles II of Spain, mentioned in the article below, suffered throughout his short life from severe mental and physical disabilities.

Discover: The individual & social risks of cousin marriage

Genealogy of Charles II of Spain - click for larger image

…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.

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