Chicago-area landlord kills 6-year-old Palestinian Muslim boy in hate crime
A landlord in the Chicago area has been charged with hate crimes for stabbing a 6-year-old Palestinian-American Muslim boy to death and severely wounding his mother, targeting them for their faith in relation to Israel's new war on Hamas and the besieged Gaza Strip.
Joseph Czuba, 71, has been charged with one count each of first-degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated battery, and two counts of hate crime.
"Our hearts are heavy, and our prayers are with the darling boy and his mother," said Ahmed Rehab, executive director for the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in a public statement.
"As we await the official investigation of the local authorities, what we can confirm at the moment is that we have a murdered child in his own home, a six-year who had just celebrated his birthday a couple of weeks ago, and a mother lying in the hospital in serious condition, both stabbed over a dozen times," Rehab continued.
"We have full confidence in the authorities to investigate this heinous incident as a hate crime and to do so swiftly," he added.
We are shocked and disturbed to learn that a landlord in Chicago expressing anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian views broke into a Muslim family's apartment and attacked them with a knife, injuring the mother and killing her 6-year-old son, Wadea Al-Fayoume. @cairchicago will hold a… pic.twitter.com/N0ILuevq4n— CAIR National (@CAIRNational) October 15, 2023
According to the local sheriff's office, the 32-year-old mother, Hanaan Shahin, called emergency late Sunday morning to report that her landlord was attacking her and her son, Wadea Al-Fayoume, with a knife.
Once law enforcement arrived, they found the mother in serious condition and the child in critical condition. They were both transported to the hospital, where the child succumbed to his wounds shortly afterwards.
Czuba was treated for minor wounds and then transported to the local sheriff's office for questioning. Investigators determined that he had targeted his victims for their Muslim faith in relation to Israel's new war on Hamas.
CAIR and other civil rights organisations have urged politicians and the media to be mindful of their rhetoric when discussing the violence in Israel and Gaza, which has already led to a spike in harassment of Arabs and Muslims.
"This unthinkable senseless crime did not happen in a vacuum," Rehab said.