A landlord in Will County, Illinois is being charged with a hate crime after stabbing the 6-year-old child of his tenants to death.
Wadea Al-Fayoume was killed Saturday and his mother Hanaan Shahin was seriously injured when their landlord Joseph M. Czuba, 71, allegedly stabbed them both. Authorities in the area said that Czuba used a serrated military knife that had a 7-inch blade to stab the mother and son in what is being described as a brutal hate crime.
Law enforcement said Czuba attacked the family because they were Muslim and because of the Israel-Hamas war, which started after the terrorist organization Hamas launched a wide-scale attack on border towns in southern Israel on Saturday, Oct. 7, going as far as to kidnap and kill civilians. Israel’s military response has devastated the civilian population in the city of Gaza.
In a statement, President Joe Biden decried Wadea’s killing.
“The child’s Palestinian Muslim family came to America seeking what we all seek — a refuge to live, learn, and pray in peace,” the White House said in a statement. “This horrific act of hate has no place in America, and stands against our fundamental values: freedom from fear for how we pray, what we believe, and who we are.”
Law & Crime reports that “According to written text messages reportedly sent to the father of the boy by the mother from the hospital and shared with CAIR-Chicago, the landlord who had been angry with what he was seeing in the news knocked on their door, and when she opened, he tried to choke her and proceeded to attack her with a knife, yelling ‘you Muslims must die!'” CAIR-Chicago said in a press release. “When she ran into the bathroom to call 911, she came out to find that he had stabbed her six-year-old son to death.”
Shanin survived with more than a dozen stab wounds to her body, authorities said. But Wadea sustained 26 stab wounds, dying at the hospital. He had celebrated his birthday a couple of weeks before Czuba killed him, CAIR-Chicago said.
This investigation is ongoing.