In a shocking news from Texas, two mentally ill brothers belonging to a Bangladeshi family living in the US, killed four members of their family and committed suicide. Farhan Towhid, 19, and his brother Tanvir Towhid, 21, created a suicide pact and killed four of their family members, in Allen, Texas, a suburb of Dallas as told reportedly by the police to the The Washington Post.

Police apparently discovered the bodies on Monday after a family friend saw a lengthy social media post from Farhan that said he had killed his family and himself, as reported by the Post. Although it is not yet clear when exactly the entire sordid multiple murders-suicide take place, the police believe it most likely occurred on Saturday night.

“It looks like the two … sons entered into an agreement that they were going to [die by] suicide and that they were going to take their family members with them,” Allen Police Department Sgt. Jon Felty told KRLD.

The bodies of Farhan and Tanvir were found alongside those of their father, Towhidul Islam, 54; mother, Iren Islam, 56; grandmother Altafun Nessa, 77; and Farhan’s twin sister, Farbin Towhid.

In his social media post, Farhan revealed that he’d been dealing with depression since high school and had been harming himself. He said his brother was also “depressed and socially anxious.”

Farhan Towhid said he and his brother suffered from depression; he confessed to have shot dead his entire family on Instagram
(Picture Source: New York Post)

Farhan wrote in the post that the two devised a plan to kill themselves and decided to kill their entire family too for the bizarre reason of sparing them the agony to deal with their suicides. He wrote, “Instead of having to deal with the aftermath of my suicide, I could just do them a favour and take them with me,” as reported by the Post.

Farhan also ironically added in the post that it was easy for them to obtain guns for their plot despite their mental health issues because of how lax gun laws in the US are.

Criminologists trying to decipher the minds of such mass murderers expressed surprise over the fact that it was rare to have two siblings indulging in mass shootings like in the present case. James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University told the Associated Press that it’s rare for there to be two siblings that are responsible for a mass shooting, adding that it’s usually a single perpetrator.

Fox told the outlet that from 2006 until Sunday, there were 452 incidents where four or more people were killed and in 217 of those incidents, a family member was killed.

He added that in situations where there are two perpetrators, one is usually the leader and the other follows.

“The leader feels good about the fact that someone sees them, looks up to them, and is willing to do what they’re told,” Fox said. “And then the follower generally revels in the fact that the more dominant person praises them for their loyalty and strength. So it may be mutual – it may be a pact, but it’s typically one person who lays the ground rules and the other person who agrees with them.”

The neighbours of the family were shocked about the mass murders, although they knew that one of the boys had mental illness issues.

Children Of Consanguine Marriages At Risk Of Increased Mental Disorders?

There are now increasing number of cases of people from the Muslim community taking to mass shootings and mass murders with history of mental illness and religious radicalisation.

The reason for the history of mental illness could be also related to common practice among Muslims to marry their own first cousins according to their permissible Shariat rules. Marrying within consanguinity is generally a taboo for most of the other communities in the world, and even where it is permissible according to their traditional customs, other communities have started to discontinue this unhealthy practice as it leads to a larger incidence of children being born with genetic problems and mental illnesses.

In 2005, Owen Dyer reported in British Medical Journal that “A Labour MP has called for a public debate on the genetic risks of marriages between first cousins in Britain’s Pakistani community, after reports of an unusually high rate of autosomal recessive disorders among children near her constituency. Ann Cryer, MP for Keighley in West Yorkshire, said on the BBC television programme Newsnight: ‘We have to stop this tradition of first cousin marriages.’

Find below the article by Owen Dyer in the British Medical Journal on a British MP raising the issue of marriage between first cousins leading to greater incidence of genetic disorders.

Page 1292 of MP Is Criticised for saying that Marriage of First Cousins is a Health Problem
BMJ: British Medical Journal
Vol. 331, No. 7528 (Dec. 3, 2005), p. 1292 (1 page)

The Psychiatry Advisor has reported a medical research which has found that, “…children of first cousin consanguineous parents were 3 times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants or anxiolytics and more than twice as likely to receive antipsychotic medication compared with children born to non-related parents”

The problem with the Muslim community is, while all other communities have reformed their centuries old medieval age personal laws relating to marriage and divorce, the Muslim community refuses to usher in reforms in their marriage practices in light of scientific proof on genetic disorders due to consanguine marriages.

It would be interesting to find whether the unfortunate mass murder of an entire Bangladeshi family due to mentally ill brothers was due to them being products of consanguine marriage.

Children born from marriage within consanguinity being more vulnerable to mental illness, when exposed to religious radicalism tend to become danger for their own family and society at large as they tend to have no qualms about indulging in mass murders as they justify such actions with warped and depraved sense of logic.

There are increasing number of cases where people from Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin in the west are found to be more radicalised and involved in violent sexual crimes and murders in the name of religion. Is this because they are more vulnerable to mental illnesses as a result of genetic disorders due to consanguinity marriages?

News Input: In a note, 2 Texas brothers who killed their family of 6 said US gun laws were a ‘joke’ after they easily acquired firearms despite a history of mental illness (

The Genetics of Cousin Marriage | JSTOR Daily , MP Is Criticised for saying that Marriage of First Cousins is a Health Problem on JSTOR

Children of Consanguineous Marriage at Increased Risk for Mood Disorders, Psychoses – Psychiatry Advisor

Image sourced from: New York Post

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