First-cousin marriages, legal in the UK, are widespread within Britain’s Pakistani Muslim community, as well as many other Arab and African Muslim families. Costs for treatment of the resulting dire physical and mental disabilities of the offspring born of these unions are enormous, and place a huge burden on the taxpayer-funded National Health Service.
Medical data previously suggested that while British Pakistanis were responsible for 3 per cent of all births, they accounted for 30 per cent of British children born with a genetic illness.
Telegraph Baroness Flather, a former Tory who now sits as a cross-bencher, said in the House of Lords that “It is absolutely appalling that first cousin marriages in Pakistani communities are leading to so much disability among children. “You go to any such family and there will be four or five children, at least one or two of whom will have some disability.”