Oldham MP named as new immigration minister

The Greater Manchester MP at the centre of a row over Muslim women wearing a veil has been named the new immigration minister. Phil Woolas, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, prompted anger in some sections of the Muslim community two years ago when he said some people could find veils `frightening and intimidating’. And earlier this year he suggested that the practice of first-cousin marriage in Britain’s Pakistani community was leading to birth defects. Mr Woolas – who is one of Labour’s most vocal critics of the British National Party – has said his efforts to raise awareness of first-cousin marriages won support from doctors and members of the Asian community. He takes on his new Home Office job as part of the wide-ranging government reshuffle announced by Gordon Brown.http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=FD64AD56EF75ACD9FA2BD9C4&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News

Oldham MP named as new immigration minister

The Greater Manchester MP at the centre of a row over Muslim women wearing a veil has been named the new immigration minister. Phil Woolas, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, prompted anger in some sections of the Muslim community two years ago when he said some people could find veils `frightening and intimidating’. And earlier this year he suggested that the practice of first-cousin marriage in Britain’s Pakistani community was leading to birth defects. Mr Woolas – who is one of Labour’s most vocal critics of the British National Party – has said his efforts to raise awareness of first-cousin marriages won support from doctors and members of the Asian community. He takes on his new Home Office job as part of the wide-ranging government reshuffle announced by Gordon Brown.

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UK Leaders Question British Pakistani Cousin Marriage Practice After Shariah Flap

Pronouncements by politicians and religious leaders are again spotlighting the cultural divide between the Muslim community and the rest of British society. This time, the issue is people who marry their cousins. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan William suggested last week that the adoption of some form of Islamic law was “unavoidable” _ a remark that sparked protests from commentators and politicians who said Muslims must abide by British law. Then, as that furor subsided, two governing Labour Party lawmakers called for a frank discussion of the health risk posed by Pakistanis who marry their cousins. Lawmakers Phil Woolas and Ann Cryer, citing high rates of birth defects, said Britons must question the practice of arranging marriages between first cousins. Both warned of grave public health consequences if the custom continues.