[...] after years of looking the other way because the subject is so sensitive in this ultraconservative society, the kingdom's public health officials, media and religious authorities are beginning to openly counsel Saudis about the risks of marrying too close to home.
Quantifying the problems is difficult and discussion is colored by Saudi Arabia's deeply held religious and social values.
Wait a minute. How is it possible that those supreme religious views and enlightened values lead to a... problem!?
[...] research at hospitals and medical centers indicates that the rates of some metabolic diseases may be as much as 20 times higher among Saudi Arabia's 14 million people than they are in populations where the gene pool is more widely mixed.
It's going to be tough to blame the Jews for this one.
Seriously, this issue will make an impact in the West. For instance, should free health care be provided to the numerous children of Muslim couples--who just happen to be cousins?
Furthermore, should Western nations even recognize such marriages? Or should we continue to respect their equal-but-sick religion / culture?
A few bits from my earlier posts:
April 06, 2005: More than half the marriages in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are between first and second cousins. I, sadly, have cousins who are married to their cousins, and know relatives who have beaten their wives.
July 31, 2005: Muslim women who refuse the orders of their elders (to marry a cousin or wear an abaya for example) bring shame upon their entire family. Most of the time threats or beatings are enough to force the women into submission.
August 17, 2005: Marriages to first and second cousins are more common than non-cousin marriages in Pakistan. I have relatives there who've married their cousins. It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "all in the family."