July 25, 2006

"Can you help me?"

I don't know if this is real or not: I just received this email, perhaps stemming from a Google search on "cousin marriage:"

My name is XXX. i'm YYYteen years old and am a muslim girl living in scotland and was wondering if you know of anything that will help me escape marrying an older first cousin from the middle east. I know i sound stupid but i got really freaked when my mum spoke to a relative telling them that she'd still give my hand to my cousin who is years older and tells the relative to wait because i haven't finished school and my other education. Also it is my mum's brother's son i'm supposed to marry and my uncle is really ill and my mum dotes on him. what if my uncle died and that was his dying wish, to have me married to my cousin? how disastrous is that going to be, i mean i don't even like the thought of inbreeding i think it's sick! Please do you know any loopholes in a XXX wedding that will stop me getting married to ZZZ? Please can you help i haven't even finished school or got a job so this has really blown me away!

I'm reluctant to offer any top-of-the-head advice because it might get her set on fire. Any suggestions?

A Scottish lawyer writes:

I would suggest you mail back with the phone number for Scottish Women's Aid - from the UK it's 0131 226 6606.

Also send the URL for the local contact groups -


If they can't help they'll know who can.

And if your correspondent is genuinely afraid they'll do something about their situation.

Here's an excerpt from my article "Cousin Marriage Conundrum:"

According to the leading authority on inbreeding, geneticist Alan H. Bittles of Edith Cowan U. in Perth, Australia, "In the resident Pakistani community of some 0.5 million [in Britain] an estimated 50% to 60+% of marriages are consanguineous [between first or second cousins], with evidence that their prevalence is increasing." (Bittles' Web-site www.Consang.net presents the results of several hundred studies of the prevalence of inbreeding around the world.)

European nations have recently become increasingly hostile toward the common practice among their Muslim immigrants of arranging marriages between their children and citizens of their home country, frequently their relatives. One study of Turkish guest-workers in the Danish city of Ishund that 98% -- 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation -- married a spouse from Turkey who then came and lived in Denmark. (Turks, however, are quite a bit less enthusiastic about cousin marriage than are Arabs or Pakistanis, which correlates with the much stronger degree of patriotism found in Turkey.)

European "family reunification" laws present an immigrant with the opportunity to bring in his nephew by marrying his daughter to him. Not surprisingly, "family reunification" almost always works just in one direction -- with the new husband moving from the poor Muslim country to the rich European country.

If a European-born daughter refused to marry her cousin from the old country just because she doesn't love him, that would deprive her extended family of the boon of an immigration visa. So, intense family pressure can fall on the daughter to do as she is told.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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