Few subjects are more universally heartbreaking than the plight of sick children. Yet in this country babies are routinely born with terrible disabilities that could easily be avoided — if only the dangerous tradition of first cousins marrying, which still prevails in many Muslim communities, could be stamped out.
A whole raft of genetic disabilities —from blindness and hearing problems to blood disorders — are being bred into our children thanks to this antediluvian practice.
As a British-born Pakistani Muslim, this is something I have seen first-hand — and yet, in this politically-correct age, it is seen as a taboo, with precious few people willing to speak out.
At the weekend, however, geneticist Professor Steve Jones from University College London made a brave speech at the Hay Literary Festival highlighting the health problems of ‘inbreeding’ within Islamic communities.
He warned of the ‘hidden genetic damage’ to children born when first cousins marry, explaining this occurs because children are much more likely to inherit two copies of any damaged genes from their parents.
While everyone inherits some abnormal genes, in most cases a normal gene from one parent will overrule a defective gene from the other parent. But if the child’s parents are related, they are more likely to both carry the same defective genes.
Professor Jones’s research showed that children of first cousins were ten times more likely to have recessive genetic disorders and face deafness, blindness and infant mortality.
This is a shocking statistic, which is why I’m grateful that someone has finally been prepared to stand up and say what many of us in Islamic communities have known for decades.
Given inbred dhimmi timidity in the U.K. (which is even more concerning than all the copulating cousins), I'd have to call that a faint hope, alas.
I can only hope that David Cameron’s Government will not shy away from confronting a problem which for too long has allowed outrageous practices to flourish unchallenged in this country...