A mother murdered her young son and set his body on fire when he struggled to learn the Koran off by heart, a court has heard.
Sara Ege used a stick to beat seven-year-old Yaseen “like a dog” if he couldn’t recite passages from the Islamic text.
The beatings were so brutal that the boy died from his injuries, and his mother tried to burn the body to destroy the evidence, Cardiff Crown Court was told.
Yaseen was originally thought to have died in the house fire. But a post-mortem examination showed Mrs Ege had been beating and abusing her little boy in the months leading up to his murder.
In a video recording of her interview with police, Mrs Ege told them: “I was trying to teach him the Koran.
“I was getting more and more frustrated. If he didn’t read it properly I would be very angry — I would hit him.
“We had a high target. I wanted him to learn 35 pages in three months.
“I promised him a new bike if he could do it. But Yaseen wasn’t very good — after a year of practice he had only learnt a chapter.”
The court heard Mrs Ege, 32, a university graduate, and her husband, Yousuf, had enrolled Yaseen in advanced classes at their local mosque.
They wanted him to become a hafiz — an Islamic term for someone who memorises the Koran.
Yaseen was coming to the end of a three-month trial period at the mosque, and Ege was keen for him to impress his Imam.
Mrs Ege told officers: “I was getting all this bad stuff in my head, like I couldn’t concentrate, I was getting angry too much, I would shout at Yaseen all the time.”
She also hit him with a hammer, a rolling pin and a slipper, as well as repeatedly punching him, the court heard.
She would allegedly lock him in the shed, tie him to a door, and force him to do press-ups.
In the months after Yaseen’s death, Mrs Ege told a doctor she been told to kill him by Shaitan — an Islamic name for the devil, the court was told.
She said: “I have become so harsh, I even killed my own son.”
Her husband, 38, denies causing or allowing the death of a child by not stopping the beatings.
The trial continues.