A young Muslim boy was savagely stabbed to death in a horrific attack that also left his mother badly wounded, victims of an old man’s violent reaction to the war between Israel and Hamas and his apparent targeting of them over their religious faith.
When Will County, Illinois Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call about a stabbing involving a landlord and tenant in Unincorporated Plainfield Township on Saturday, they found 71-year-old Joseph M. Czuba sitting on the ground outside of the residence where he murderously acted out.
Inside the home at 16200 block of S. Lincoln Highway, they discovered two people in a bedroom who had “multiple stab wounds to their chest, torso, and upper extremities,” according to a statement from the Will County Sheriff’s Office. One of them, a six-year-old boy who died after the two were transported to a local hospital.
The deceased, six-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume, had been stabbed 26 times with a “twelve-inch serrated military style knife that has a seven-inch blade,” according to police. The child’s 32-year-old mother, Hanaan Shahin was stabbed over a dozen times but is expected to recover from her injuries.
(Video: YouTube/ABC 7 Chicago)
Czuba, who had a laceration to his head was also taken to the hospital before being released and transported to the Will County Sheriff’s Office Public Safety Complex where he was questioned by detectives.
The elderly landlord did not make a statement to the police but enough information was gathered through interviews and evidence to charge him with “First Degree Murder, Attempted First Degree Murder, Hate Crime (2 counts), and Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon,” the Will County Sheriff’s Office said.
“Detectives were able to determine that both victims in this brutal attack were targeted by the suspect due to them being Muslim and the on-going Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and the Israelis,” according to the police statement.
Citing text messages provided by the victim’s mother, the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said that Czuba who was angry over media coverage of the events in Israel where Hamas terrorists slaughtered over 1,000 Jewish civilians, knocked on the door, tried to choke her and attacked her with the knife, yelling “you Muslims must die!”
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
“Our hearts are heavy, and our prayers are with the darling boy and his mother,” CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab said, according to a press release from the organization, “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. And we have testimony from the mother as to the harrowing moments that unfolded in terms of what was done and said – and it is our worst nightmare.”
“We have full confidence in the authorities to investigate this heinous incident as a hate crime and to do so swiftly,” Rehab added.
“To take a six year old child’s life in the name of bigotry is nothing short of evil,” Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said in a statement. “Wadea should be heading to school in the morning. Instead, his parents will wake up without their son – this wasn’t just a murder – it was a hate crime.”
— Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) October 15, 2023
“And every single Illinoisan – including our Muslim, Jewish, and Palestinian neighbors – deserves to live free from the threat of such evil,” the Democrat added.
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