Tazeen Ahmad has written a simply incredible article below on the long-ignored problems associated with the marriage of first cousins by Pakistani families in England and other parts of the world. Ahmad not only describes the birth defects that arise but the pressure that led to first cousin marriages in her own family.
There is a long tradition of first cousin marriage in Pakistan which is viewed as strengthening the family and keeping assets within the clan. It also produces common birth defects such as deafness. Her mother was the first child to live beyond childhood and five of her sisters died as babies or toddlers.
She exposes a problem that few politicians were willing to discuss in fear of a backlash from the Pakistani community. In England, more than 50 per cent of British Pakistanis marry their cousins and in cities like Bradford the figure is an astonishing 75 per cent.
The article shows the continuing dangers of first cousin marriages. However, there remains a constitutional law question of whether, with proper testing on such genetic defects, consenting adults should still be allowed to marry despite being cousins. The prohibition on such marriages raises interesting questions if the couple agrees to a thorough genetic test to reduce the chances of such defects to the same as the rest of the population. The Pakistani experience is more acute due to generations of inbreeding.
Source: Daily Mail