British newspapers are reporting on the retrial of the disturbing case of a Muslim mother in Cardiff, Wales who beat her son to death in July 2010. Why would she commit such a heinous act? Because he had failed to memorize enough of the Koran.
Seven-year-old Yaseen Ege was originally thought to have died in a house fire. But a postmortem showed that the little boy had been beaten and abused for months prior to his death, and had been beaten so severely on the day of the fire that he died. Doctors found that he had previously suffered bone fractures and ultimately died from severe abdominal injuries caused by multiple blows which split his bowel, leading to organ failure.
Sara Ege, 32, a university graduate from India, confessed and told police she had used a stick to beat her son "like a dog," as she herself put it, over a period of months when he couldn't sufficiently recite passages from the Koran. As if that isn't horrifying enough, she also revealed that she started the house fire deliberately to burn the body and cover her crime, according to testimony in the Cardiff Crown Court. She admitted pouring lighter fuel over her son's remains, saying, "I know he was gone but I was just trying to protect myself."
In a video interview, she told police, "I was trying to teach him the Koran" -- a task this "devout mother," as one report described her, told police was a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 in importance to her. "I was getting more and more frustrated. If he didn't read it properly I would be very angry. I would hit him."
Sara and her husband Yousuf Ali Ege, 38, had enrolled the prematurely born Yaseen, who had eating problems and was small for his age, in advanced classes at the local mosque. Both parents, whom a BBC report describes as being "known for being devoutly religious," wanted him to become a hafiz, or someone who has completely memorized the Koran, by the time he was 10 years old.
The little boy endured 13-and-a-half hour days focusing on the Koran, beginning at the mosque at 6:30 a.m. He also attended extra math and English lessons and went to Arabic classes on the weekends. "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 only, according to her initial confession, if his recitation of the first two chapters was word perfect. "But Yaseen wasn't very good. After a year of practice he had only learnt a chapter." (continue reading...)(...more)