I posted this in another thread, but it's too important to leave out of this one-
"The man wept as he told how his beautiful, dark-eyed child died in a hospital cot with medical tubes snaking from his frail body as nurses fought unsuccessfully to save him. Sick with pneumonia, the two-year-old gave up the battle for life.
A rare tragedy, you might think, in modern Britain, with all the advances of medical science.
But in the terraced streets of Bradford, Yorkshire, a child’s death is anything but rare. At the boy’s inquest, coroner Mark Hinchliffe said Hamza Rehman had died because his Pakistan-born parents (shopkeeper Abdul and housewife Rozina) are first cousins.
Four years before, Hamza’s older sister, three-month-old Khadeja, had died of the same brain disorder which causes fits, sickness and chest infections. The couple had another baby born with equally devastating neurological problems.
He said: ‘This highlights a cultural and religious issue relating to first-cousin marriages and the potential risk to children that some medical experts say can result from such unions.’
The coroner chose his words carefully, since he was addressing one of the most controversial — and taboo — subjects in multi-cultural Britain: marriage between cousins in the Muslim communities which has left hundreds, if not thousands, of children damaged or dead.
This week, leading geneticist Professor Steve Jones, of University College London, warned that ‘inbreeding’ in Islamic communities was threatening the health of generations of children.
He 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.’
He highlighted Bradford as a city that was ‘very inbred’.
This is not the first time the distressing issue has been raised. Ann Cryer, the Labour MP for nearby Keighley, has said that cousin marriages are medieval, harm children and are arranged in order to keep wealth and property within families.
‘It is not fair to the children or to the NHS which has to treat them. If you go into a paediatric ward in Bradford or Keighley, you will find more than half the kids are from the Asian community,’ she said.
Since Asians form only 20 to 30 per cent of the population, that figure is clearly disproportionate.
Mrs Cryer recalled the case of a young girl in hospital who had to carry an oxygen tank on her back and breathe from a hole in the front of her neck.
‘Her parents were warned by doctors not to have more children,’ she explained.
‘But when the husband returned again from Pakistan, his wife had given birth within months to another child with exactly the same condition.’
Sadly, the facts speak for themselves. British Pakistanis, half of whom marry a first cousin (a figure that is universally agreed), are 13 times more likely to produce children with genetic disorders than the general population, according to Government-sponsored research.
While British Pakistanis account for three per cent of the births in this country, they are responsible for 33 per cent of the 15,000 to 20,000 children born each year with genetic defects.
The problem is most serious in Bradford. A recent survey of 1,100 pregnant women in the city showed that 70 per cent have husbands who are first cousins — a higher percentage than the average of 50 per cent among Pakistanis across the whole of Britain.
It is no surprise therefore that more than six per cent of children in Bradford have health defects, with paediatric wards looking after countless children, including teenagers lying in nappies who are unable to speak and are fed through a tube.
Meanwhile, the city’s special schools struggle to cope with huge numbers of pupils with learning difficulties."
Edited by Hands Sandon - 6/28/13 at 5:36am