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However a long-term study tracking the health of 13,500 'Born in Bradford' has found worrying statistics.“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” Hiba meets some of her extended family including one female cousin, who was already divorced after marrying outside of the family, and with two male cousins who are eligible for marriage in what she brands a very 'awkward' encounter.Divorcee Sabbah, 21, explained that her marriage breakdown was because she didn't have the backing of her family to help her.'In family if something goes wrong in the marriage you can at least ask them because they are family, they look after you properly.Iftacan (right) and Minaz are first cousins, their son Roman (pictured) is autistic and their daughter Fatima, 20, is non-verbal Hiba also speaks to two sisters on their double wedding day - both are getting married to their cousins.
She added: 'There should at least be some rule which says that you must have a DNA examination before your marriage can be registered.' 'When Fatima was diagnosed you get into the position of perhaps blaming yourself because of your cousin marriage and maybe that’s the reason why our kids have these learning difficulties and disabilities,' he tells Hiba.'When we looked around we found that a lot of people who aren’t related and are married their kids have autism.'Picking up on Hiba's own concerns he adds: 'If you want think you want to minimise your risks don’t go for a cousin marriage.
'But don’t allow yourself to think you are safe from these conditions just because you are not in a cousin marriage.'We have done a lot of soul searching over it, but we have come to the conclusion that it’s luck of the draw.
It may be controversial but it is legal to marry your cousin in the UK.
And for British Pakistanis the practise is common with an estimated 55 percent of them doing so.
'As for me I got married outside [my family] and it was really hard.' She explained that if she had another opportunity to get married the second time round would be completely different.'I would marry inside the family, it would be so much better.' Although security and stability are a plus for Hiba in cousin marriages - which one Imam Mohammad Sayed, says has become a more 'cultural thing than religious' - the medical issues still bothers the teenager.