Maybe Somali polygamy perpetuates possible gene connection to autism

wrote a post a little over a week ago about how Somali refugee children in America are showing extremely high and unexplained rates of autism for those born in the US.   Minnesota schools are seeing these children enter the sytsem and are attempting to cope with the alarming influx.

In our earlier post we cited an article that had a couple of possible suggestions.  One was the usual complaint about immunizations and the other was the possibility that the relative lack (compared to Africa) of sunshine in Minnesota (and Sweden where the problem is also appearing) might explain the high rate.

However, this article in a blog called “A War of Illusions” leads to another possible cause for the high rate of autism in Somalis in America.  But, first here is what the post says about the situation in Minnesota where a conference will soon take place to address the crisis.

About a quarter of all autism children who attend autism classrooms for students functioning too low to be mainstreamed in regular schoolrooms are Somali. Special education specialists said that indicates that the degree of autism Somali children are developing is on the severe end of the autism spectrum.

“I’m not seeing Aspergers syndrome and the full spectrum of autism in Somali children. It is the more classic forms of autism in general; it is the more severe forms of autism that we’re seeing in our Somali babies that are born here,” said Anne Harrington, early childhood special education coordinator for the Minneapolis district and a specialist on the topic.

“If they’re having more children, many of the siblings also have autism. We have a number of [Somali] families who have two children on the autism spectrum and sometimes more. I’ve been working to get somebody to look at this and pay attention because it feels like this is too specific [to Somalis]. It’s got to be preventable,” Harrington said.

The article also tells us there is a lot of shame in the Somali community associated with families who have autistic children which makes me think that the tough life in Africa may have eliminated some of these children at a young age thus making it appear that somehow their move to the US is responsible for a jump in the numbers.

The blogger then leads us to new research that may show that autism is genetic. 

Many cases of autism are caused by genetic defects that disrupt the brain’s ability to learn, according to groundbreaking research that promises to lead to new therapies.

To do the research scientists needed to find large families in which cousins married cousins—they found them in Muslim countries in the Middle East.

Research into autism genetics has been hampered by the difficulty of finding autistic and non-autistic siblings in the same family to study. To get around this, the new study investigated 88 families from the Middle East, Turkey and Pakistan, where the average number of children is much larger than in Europe and America. The scientists also concentrated on families in which the mother and father were cousins, which is a risk factor for autism.

In five families, they found large segments of the genome were missing. Non-autistic members still had one working copy of these regions, but those with autism lacked working copies altogether.

I suggest genetic researchers check these Minnesota Somali families many of whom may be linked by a few polygamous fathers—an Islamic cultural practice creeping into America with the refugees—and a surefire way to spread a defective gene.   Or if political correctness hinders that line of questioning, at least check the cousins marrying cousins angle.

Iraqi Palestinians going to Iceland, among other non-Muslim countries

Update:  Going to Sweden too.

We have written on several occasions about the Palestinians favored by Saddam Hussein who attempted to get out of ‘Dodge’ (Iraq) when the people Saddam had persecuted came to power there.  However, Jordan and Syria, the countries that have taken the largest number of Iraq’s displaced people refused entry to the Palestinians, once again demonstrating that Muslim countries do not help resettle Palestinians.   According to Reuters some are packing up for Iceland.

AL WALEED, Iraq, Aug. 4 (UNHCR) – More than two dozen vulnerable Palestinian refugees stranded for the last two years in a makeshift camp in the desert on the Iraq-Syria border are set to leave the camp in the coming weeks for Iceland.

“The group includes some of the most vulnerable women and children with urgent cases, for whom resettlement is the only option” says Daniel Endres, UNHCR’s Representative in Iraq.

Iceland takes 25 to 30 refugees for resettlement every year and in recent years has focused on resettling single women and single mothers with their children.

In addition to Iceland, Palestinians are going to Chile and Brazil, demonstrating again that suffering Palestinians are more important to Islamic countries as a political club with which to beat Israel.  So much for Muslims helping Muslims.

UNHCR has repeatedly called for international support for the Palestinians but with few results. Few Palestinians in the border camps have been accepted for resettlement or offered shelter in third countries; only some 300 Palestinians left to non-traditional resettlement country such as Brazil and Chile.

Iraqi translators feel they are dumped upon, others are missing?

IRAQI interpreters given asylum in Australia after working alongside Australian troops during the occupation of their country say they feel short-changed by the Federal Government since arriving in Australia two months ago. 

Gee where have I heard this before, oh yeah, yesterday in Baltimore.  The Age from Melbourne Australia joins the Baltimore Sun in whacking the stingy, bad, pro-war West and our allies and goes on:

The interpreters, who faced persecution in Iraq and were branded traitors by many of their countrymen, feel they have been dumped in Australia with little help or prospect of work.

They say they were promised jobs, immediate health care and moderately priced housing.

However, most have been told since arriving that they will need to retrain to work in their existing professions. Some, with family health issues, have been placed on public hospital waiting lists, and those who have been housed are paying almost half their Centrelink payments in rent. Many say they have had to scrounge for furniture and clothes from church and charity groups. Several families are still living in motels.

I don’t know if NGOs (non-government organizations) are responsible for resettling refugees in Australia as they are here, so I have no clue if this is the same story there as in Baltimore.   However, we have written so much about conditions refugees face that I wonder how all these Iraqis are getting some idea of ‘shangri-la’ in the West.   We have reported innumerable times that Iraqi refugees, even well-educated ones, are doing menial labor when they get to the US.  And, we have reported that the Iraqi government wants its well-trained people to return to rebuild Iraq.

According to this article, some may already be returning (or are they?):

A small number of the Iraqis, many of whom are trained teachers and university educated, became so disillusioned that they are believed to have returned to Iraq at their own expense. Others say they plan to follow, putting themselves at great risk from vengeful militia, according to their colleagues.

“…they are believed to have returned to Iraq.”   You mean the Australian government DOESN’T KNOW WHERE THEY ARE!

I am sure there are decent deserving interpretors and other Iraqis who will make a better life for themselves in the West.  But, I will remind readers that when translators went to Denmark, some were found to be spies for insurgents, see Judy’s post here.  And then there is the story that no one discusses about how 365 suspected terrorists were weeded out of the Iraqi refugee program in recent months by Homeland Security.

I don’t know if some of those 365 were translators but it doesn’t take a genius to see that insurgents and other terrorists would be sure to plant their best and brightest in the interpreter profession.

Learn everything (and more then you ever wanted to) about the Iraqi refugee issue by going to our category entitled Iraqi refugees here.