*** ----> Bahrain Leads Gulf States with Lowest Rates of Cousin Marriages | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Bahrain Leads Gulf States with Lowest Rates of Cousin Marriages

TDT | Manama     

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

A recent report by the World Population Review illuminates the considerable disparities in cousin marriage rates across the Arab Gulf nations. The findings indicate that Bahrain distinguishes itself with the lowest incidence of consanguineous unions in the region, a mere 31.8%.

In stark contrast, Kuwait has the highest rate in the Gulf, with over 54% of marriages involving relatives. This rate gradually decreases southward, with Qatar at 54%, the United Arab Emirates at 50.5%, Saudi Arabia at 38.9%, and Oman at 35.9%.

On the global stage, the practice of cousin marriage is most entrenched in North Africa and the Middle East, where it is deeply intertwined with cultural and religious traditions. Although comprehensive data are sparse for many nations, the report intimates that this region, along with segments of West Asia, has the highest rates worldwide.

Pakistan, specifically, has been consistently identified in various studies as having the world's highest incidence of cousin marriages.

From a medical perspective, such unions are associated with an elevated risk of offspring developing numerous diseases and disorders, including hydrocephalus, neural tube defects, congenital heart anomalies, cleft lips and palates, and other physical and mental deformities.

The report calls for further research and targeted awareness campaigns to inform individuals about the potential health consequences of cousin marriages. It also examines the cultural factors that perpetuate this practice, emphasising the need for an approach that respects personal choices while encouraging informed decision-making.