Muslim boy in US was stabbed 26 times: Shocking details from Illinois hate crime | World News - Hindustan Times
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Muslim boy, 6, in US was 'stabbed 26 times’: Shocking details from Illinois hate crime

Oct 16, 2023 01:13 PM IST

Illinois hate crime: The boy was identified as Wadea Al-Fayoume, a Palestinian-American who recently had turned 6.

The six-year-old Muslim boy was stabbed as many as 26 times by his landlord, in what US President Joe Biden described as a “horrific act of hate”, in Illinois allegedly as a response to the deadly war between Israel and Hamas. His 32-year-old mother was also wounded but is expected to survive, the Will County sheriff's office said in a statement.

Wadea Al-Fayoume, 6, a Muslim boy who according to police was stabbed to death in an attack that targeted him and his mother for their religion and as a response to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, poses in an undated family photograph.(REUTERS)
Wadea Al-Fayoume, 6, a Muslim boy who according to police was stabbed to death in an attack that targeted him and his mother for their religion and as a response to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, poses in an undated family photograph.(REUTERS)

What know about US Muslim boy's murder in Illinois:

1. While authorities did not immediately release the names of the two victims, the boy's paternal uncle, Yousef Hannon, spoke at a news conference on Sunday hosted by the Chicago chapter Council on American-Islamic Relations. There the boy was identified as Wadea Al-Fayoume, a Palestinian American boy who recently had turned 6, and his mother as Hanaan Shahin. The organisation identified the other victim as the boy's mother.

2. The family “came to America seeking what we all seek—a refuge to live, learn, and pray in peace,” according to the White House.

3. The 71-year-old accused, identified as Joseph Czuba, stabbed the boy with a military-style knife with a 7-inch (18-cm) serrated blade, the Will County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

4. A serrated military-style knife with a seven-inch blade was pulled from the boy's abdomen during the autopsy, the statement added.

5. Authorities said the woman managed to call 911 as she fought off the landlord.

6. When police arrived they found Czuba sitting on the ground near the driveway of the residence with a laceration on his forehead. He was taken to hospital for treatment before being charged with murder, attempted murder, and two counts of hate crimes.

7. "He knocked on the door and attempted to choke her, and said, 'you Muslims' must die," Ahmed Rehab, head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Chicago office, told reporters, citing text messages sent by the woman to the murdered boy's father from her hospital bed.

8. Wadea had celebrated his birthday recently before his death, Ahmed Rehab, CAIR-Chicago’s executive director, said in a news conference. “He was a 6-year-old boy, he loved everything,” Rehab said of the child, recalling how Wadea’s father had described him.

9. Wadea’s mother and father had moved to the United States 12 and nine years ago, respectively, and their son was born here, Rehab added. They were from a village in the West Bank, he said.

10. Biden, in a statement late Sunday, confirmed that the woman was the boy's mother and said their “Palestinian Muslim family came to America seeking what we all seek -- a refuge to live, learn, and pray in peace.” "This horrific act of hate has no place in America, and stands against our fundamental values," added Biden, calling for Americans to “come together and reject Islamaphobia and all forms of bigotry and hatred.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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