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 intelligence, sanity, and health of their offspring, and on their surroundings.
Muslim Inbreeding: Impacts on intelligence, sanity, health and society
by Nicolai Sennels
The most famous example of inbreeding is in ancient Egypt, where several Pharaonic dynasties collapsed after lasting for several hundred years. In order to keep wealth and power within the family, the Pharaohs often married their own sisters or half-sisters, and after a handful of generations offspring were mentally and physically unfit to rule. Another historical example is the royal houses of Europe in which royal families often married among themselves because tradition did not allow them to marry people of a non-royal class. The high number of mentally retarded and handicapped members of royalty throughout European history shows the unhealthy consequences of this practice. Fortunately, royal families now allow themselves to marry for love and not just for status.
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 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”). The number of blood-related marriages is lower among Muslim immigrants living in the West. Among Pakistanis living in Denmark the amount is down to 40 percent and 15 percent among Turkish immigrants (Jyllands-Posten, 27/2 2009 “More stillbirths among immigrants”). More than half of Pakistani immigrants living in Britain are intermarried: “The research, conducted by the BBC and broadcast to a shocked nation on Tuesday, found that at least 55% of the community was married to a first cousin. This is thought to be linked to the probability that a British Pakistani family is at least 13 times more likely than the general population to have children with recessive genetic disorders.” (Times of India, 17/11 2005 “Ban UK Pakistanis from marrying cousins”). The lower percentages might be because it is difficult to get the chosen family member into the country, or because health education is better in the West.
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 develop more slowly 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.” ( [pdf] Indian National Science Academy, 1983 “Consanguinity Effects on Intelligence Quotient and Neonatal Behaviours of Ansari 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).
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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” (Departments of Pediatrics, United Arab Emirates, 1996) concludes that “The occurrence of malignancies, congenital abnormalities, mental retardation and physical handicap was significantly higher in offspring of consanguineous than non-consanguineous marriages.”
The risk of stillbirth doubles when parents are first cousins (Jyllands-Posten, 27/2 2009 “More stillbirths among immigrants”). One study analyzed the risk of perinatal death (the child dies during its own birth), infant death (the child dies while still infant), and autosomal recessive disorders (serious and often deadly genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy): “Perinatal mortality in the Pakistani children was 1.5 times higher than that in the Norwegian children, and infant mortality in the Pakistani children was more than double that in the Norwegian children. Deaths due to autosomal recessive disorders were 18 times more common in the Pakistani children. Similarly, deaths due to multiple malformations, which may be part of unrecognized autosomal recessive syndromes, were 10 times more common.” (BMJ, 1994 “Infant death and consanguineous marriage”).
There is also evidence suggesting that inbred people have a higher risk of developing mental disorders: “The clinical observations indicated that depression is very high in some communities where the consanguinity of marriages is also high.” (Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 2009 “Relationship between consanguinity and depression in a south Indian population”). Another study focused on the relationship between intermarriage and schizophrenia: “The closer the blood relative, the more likely was there to be a schizophrenic illness.” (American Psychiatric Press, 1982 “The role of genetic factors in the etiology of the schizophrenic disorders”). The increased risk of insanity among children of marriages between cousins might explain why immigrant patients are causing stress to the psychiatric system and are strongly overrepresented among the criminally insane: “In Sct. Hans Hospital, which has the biggest ward for clinically insane criminals in Denmark, more than 40 percent of the patients have an immigrant background.” (Kristeligt Dagblad, 26/6 2007 “Ethnic minorities overrepresented among the criminal insane”).
Implications for the Western and Muslim Worlds
The consequences for offspring of consanguineous marriages are unpleasantly clear: Death, low intelligence or even mental retardation, handicaps, and diseases often leading to a slow and painful death. Other consequences are: Limited social skills and understanding, limited ability to manage education and work procedures, and painful treatment procedures. The negative cognitive consequences also influence the executive functions. The impairment of concentration and emotional control most often leads to anti-social behavior.
The economic costs and consequences for society of inbreeding are of course secondary to the reality of human suffering. However, inbreeding among Muslims has severe implications for both Western society and the Muslim world.
Expenses related to mentally and physically handicapped Muslim immigrants drain the budget for other public services: “When cousins have children together, they are twice as likely to have a disabled child — it costs municipal funds dearly. Disabled immigrant children cost Danish municipalities millions. In Copenhagen County alone, the number of disabled children saw an overall increase of 100 percent in 10 years… Meredith Lefelt has contacted 330 families with disabled children in Copenhagen. She estimates that one third of their clients have a foreign cultural background.” (BT, 10/11 2003 “Immigrants’ inbreeding costs one million”). On top of that come the expenses for Muslim immigrants who — because of various consequences of being born from blood related parents — are not able to live up to the challenges of our Western work market: Muslim immigrants and their descendants in Europe have a very high rate of unemployment. The same goes for Muslims in USA, where the Gallup Institute made a study involving 300,000 people that concluded “The majority of Muslims in USA have a lower income, are less educated and have worse jobs than the population as a whole.” (Berlingske Tidende, d. 3. marts 2009 “Muslims thrive in the USA”).
The cognitive consequences of Muslim inbreeding might explain why non-Western immigrants are more than 300 percent more likely to fail the Danish army’s intelligence test than native Danes: “19.3% of non-Western immigrants are not able to pass the Danish army’s intelligence test. In comparison, only 4.7% of applicants with Danish background do not pass.” (TV 2 Nyhederne, 13/6 2007 “Immigrants flunk army test”). It probably also explains — at least partly — why two thirds of all immigrant school children with Arabic backgrounds are illiterate after ten years in the Danish school system: “Those who speak Arabic with their parents have an extreme tendency to lack reading ability — 64 percent are illiterate… No matter whether it concerns reading ability, mathematics, or science, the pattern is the same: the bilingual immigrants’ skills are exceedingly poor compared to their Danish classmates.” (Rockwool Foundation Research Unit [pdf], May 2007 “Ethnic students do not make Danish children worse”). The high expenses of special education for slow learners consumes one third of the budget for the Danish schools. “Immigrant children are clearly overrepresented on Copenhagen’s schools for retarded children and children with physical handicaps… 51 percent of the children in the three schools in Copenhagen for children with physical and mental handicaps have an immigrant background, and in one of the schools the figure is 70 percent… These amounts are significantly higher than the share of immigrant children in the municipality, which is 33 percent. The many handicapped children are clear evidence that there are many intermarried parents in the immigrant families.” (Jydske Vestkysten, 4/4 2009 “Tosprogede i overtal på handicapskoler”).
Our high level of education may also make it harder for inbred students to follow and finish their studies: “Young people with minority backgrounds have a significantly higher dropout rate at secondary schools than youth with a Danish background. For trade school education, the dropout rate among immigrants is 60 percent, twice as high among adolescents with a Danish background…There is great variation in educational outcomes when compared with national origin. For example, dropout among young people with Lebanese or Iranian background is far greater than among people of Vietnamese background.” (Center for Knowledge on Integration in Randers, May 2005 “Youth, education and integration”). “Among immigrant children that are born and raised in Denmark, more than a third has no education. Among native Danes it is less than one fifth that do not get an education. (Danmarks Statistik “Indvandrere i 2007”).
The negative consequences of inbreeding are also vast for the Muslim world. Inbreeding may thus explain why only nine Muslims ever managed to receive the prestigious Nobel Prize (5 of them won the “Peace Prize” — for peace that turned out not to last for very long).
The limited ability to understand, appreciate and produce knowledge following a limited IQ is probably also partly the reason why Muslim countries produce 1/10 of the World average when it comes to scientific research: “In 2003, the world average for production of articles per million inhabitants was 137, whereas none of the 47 OIC countries for which there were data achieved production above 107 per million inhabitants. The OIC average was just 13.” (Nature 444, s. 26-27, 1. November 2006 “Islam and science: The data gap”). The lack of interest in science and human development in the Muslim World is also clear in the UN Arab Human Development Reports (AHDR). AHDR concludes that there have been fewer books translated into Arabic in the last thousand years than the number of books translated within the country of Spain every year: “The Arab world translates about 330 books annually, one fifth of the number that Greece translates. The cumulative total of translated books since the Caliph Maa’moun’s [sic] time (the ninth century) is about 100,000, almost the average that Spain translates in one year.” (Eugene Rogan “Arab Books and human development”. Index of Censorship, vol. 33, issue 2 April 2004, s. 152-157). “70 percent of the Turkish citizens never read books.”(APA, d. 23. February 2009 “70 percent of Turkish citizens never read book”)
There is no doubt that the widespread Muslim tradition of first-cousin marriages has harmed the gene pool among Muslims. Because Muslims’ religious beliefs prohibit marrying non-Muslims and thus prevent them from adding fresh genetic material to their population, the genetic damage done to their gene pool since their prophet allowed first cousin marriages 1,400 years ago are most likely massive. The overwhelming direct and indirect human and societal consequences have been explained above.
Compassion for the health of future generations should be enough to ban intermarriage among first cousins. The economic and social consequences are also important. Such a ban would also lessen Muslim immigration to the West because many Muslim families would like to be able to continue their practice of intermarriage in order to live up to cultural and religious traditions and keep wealth and power inside their families.
A legislative ban on first cousin marriages is a logical and compassionate imperative for the Muslim world, the EU, and our Western national governments.
Nicolai Sennels is a psychologist and the author of “Among Criminal Muslims: A Psychologist’s experiences with the Copenhagen Municipality”.
Currently, on the English front:
‘Bradford is very inbred’: Muslim outrage as professor warns first-cousin marriages increase risk of birth defects
By Tom Kelly
Inbreeding among British Muslims is threatening the health of their children, a leading geneticist warned yesterday.
Professor Steve Jones, from University College London, said the common practice in Islamic communities for cousins to marry each other increased the risk of birth defects.
‘There may be some evidence that cousins marrying one another can be harmful,’ he told an audience at the Hay Festival.
‘We should be concerned about that as there can be a lot of hidden genetic damage. Children are much more likely to get two copies of a damaged gene.
‘Bradford is very inbred. There is a huge amount of cousins marrying each other there.’
Studies have shown that 55 per cent of British Pakistanis are married to first cousins – and in Bradford, this rises to 75 per cent.
Other research has found that children of first cousins are ten times more likely to have recessive genetic disorders and face deafness, blindness and infant mortality.
But Prof Jones’s comments provoked anger among some Muslim groups yesterday.
Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, which promotes the image of Muslims in Britain, said: ‘I know many Muslims who have married their cousins and none of them have had a problem with their children.
‘Obviously, we don’t want any children to be born disabled who don’t need to be born disabled, so I would advise genetic screening before first cousins marry.
‘But I find Steve Jones’s comments unworthy of a professor. Using language like “inbreeding” to describe cousins marrying is completely inappropriate and further demonises Muslims.’
Concern about the risks to children from first-cousin marriage has been described as the last great taboo.
Former environment minister Phil Woolas was rebuked by Downing Street in 2008 for saying British Pakistanis are fuelling rates of birth defects by marrying their cousins, with the spokesman for then prime minister Gordon Brown saying the issue was not one for ministers to comment on.
Mohammed Saleem Khan, chief executive of the Bradford Council for Mosques, said: ‘It is important to discuss these issues, but I just do not know of any firm evidence backing up Professor Jones’s claims. I think we need more conclusive studies so we can know for certain if there is any genuine risk.
‘Marriages between cousins is certainly common within south Asia, but it is becoming less so in Britain and also in Bradford. Islam allows you to marry anyone you want, so in many ways Islam promotes diversity.’
In his talk, Prof Jones said inbreeding was not confined to Muslims, and historically had occurred in every part of society, including the royal family.
He said: ‘We are all more incestuous than we realise. In Northern Ireland lots of people share the same surname, which suggests a high level of inbreeding.
‘There’s a lot of surname diversity in London but if you look at the Outer Hebrides there are rather fewer surnames in relation to the number of people.’
- KISSIN’ COUSINS! Pakistani man marries two of his first cousins at the same time (barenakedislam.wordpress.com)
- Bedbugs owe their success to inbreeding (newscientist.com)