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US: Six-Year-Old Boy Fatally Stabbed In Alleged Religious Hate Crime in Illinois

A 71-year-old used a military-style knife with a seven-inch blade to carry out the brutal attack.

A 71-year-old man has been charged with murder and hate crimes after allegedly stabbing a six-year-old boy to death and seriously injuring his mother due to their Muslim faith. Joseph Czuba, the landlord of the victims, is alleged to have targeted the family, who were his tenants, because of the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel.

The incident occurred in Plainfield, Illinois, where Czuba allegedly attacked the 32-year-old mother, Hanaan Shahin, and her son, Wadea Al-Fayoume, in their home. According to authorities, Czuba used a military-style knife with a seven-inch blade to carry out the brutal attack. Shahin, who suffered more than a dozen stab wounds, managed to escape to the bathroom and call the police. Despite her injuries, she is expected to survive. Wadea, however, sustained more than two dozen stab wounds and later succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. He had recently celebrated his sixth birthday and was described as a loving child who enjoyed sports and spending time with his family and friends.

Responding to the incident, President Joe Biden expressed his deep sorrow, stating that the act of hate had no place in America and contradicted the country’s fundamental values of religious freedom and tolerance. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) identified the victims, stating that Wadea was born in the United States, while his mother, originally from Beitunia in the West Bank, had immigrated to the country 12 years ago.

Upon arriving at the crime scene, law enforcement found Czuba with a cut on his face outside the property. He was subsequently taken to the hospital for treatment before being questioned by detectives. Czuba has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, hate crimes, and aggravated battery. The Will County Sheriff’s office confirmed that both victims were targeted due to their Muslim faith and the ongoing Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and Israel.

The incident has prompted widespread condemnation from neighbours and the local community. Many expressed disbelief and horror at the senseless violence, emphasising the innocence of the young victim. Eva Case, a neighbour, voiced her shock, saying, “I don’t care what the situation was. Don’t take it out on somebody that innocent.”

The tragedy has also raised concerns about the rise in hate crimes in the United States, with both Jewish and Muslim institutions being targeted. The FBI reported an increase in threats since the recent conflict between Hamas and Israel, although most have been deemed not credible.

The case has sparked outrage and calls for unity, as communities grapple with the devastating consequences of hate-driven violence. As the investigation continues, the local community mourns the loss of young Wadea Al-Fayoume, a victim of religious intolerance and hatred.

Kiki Garba.

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