Crossbencher Baroness Flather has been blasted by the Muslim Council of Britain for her remarks on the congenital disabilities caused by close-relation marriage, calling her ‘bigoted’ for expressing concern for the welfare of Pakistani-community children born of such relationships.
The peer, who was Britain’s first Asian woman to enter the House of Lords when she was ennobled in 1990, made the comments in support of her suggestion that mandatory DNA testing for couples before they get married should be instituted. She said the “absolutely appalling” marriages between first cousins in Pakistani communities are causing “so much disability among children”, as incestuous small gene pools are causing serious defects at birth. She told the House of Lords:
“There are a lot of first-cousin marriages in certain communities, particularly among Pakistanis who come from the Pakistani Kashmir area.
“We know so much about DNA now, but there is so much disability among the children, which is absolutely appalling. 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. That is absolutely unacceptable, and if we cannot do anything about it, is it fair to the children? Never mind the parents – it is not fair to the children that they should be allowed to become disabled because of a social practice.
“It is a social practice which does not belong in today’s age, when we know so much about DNA. There should at least be some rule which says that you must have a DNA examination before your marriage can be registered”.
The Independent reports the ‘Hindu Humanist’ peer’s critique of Britain’s Muslim population even went as far as taking on the production of Halal meat in this country, which she described as “not right”.
The Muslim Council of Britain hit back at the Asian peer, claiming she should be ignored as her views could not be ‘taken seriously’:
“[Flather has] a bee in her bonnet about British Muslims generally and those of Asian heritage in particular.
“Her consistent bigotry has unfortunately forfeited the right to be taken seriously”.
Conservative Muslim businessman and peer Lord Sheikh said pointing out the incestuous practices of Britain’s Pakistani Muslim community was “unfair” and “will not help community cohesion in this country”.
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