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6-Year-Old Palestinian American Child Stabbed 26 Times in Illinois

6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume was stabbed to death at his Plainfield home on Oct. 14, 2023. (Handout/The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations)

6-year-old Wadea Al Fayoume, a Palestinian-American, was stabbed to death Saturday morning by the landlord in his home in Plainfield, Illinois.

The landlord knocked on the door, attacked the child’s mother, 32-year-old Hanaan Shahin, screaming, “You Muslims Must Die.” He stabbed both of them at least a dozen times each.

It happened just before 11:40 am on Saturday October 14, 2023. The mother ran to the bathroom after fighting the attacker off and managed to call 911.

Police found the 71-year-old suspect Joseph Czuba near the home’s driveway. They found the two victims in the bedroom with stab wounds in their chest, torso and arms.

The boy was transported to a nearby hospital in critical condition, where he was later pronounced dead at 12:19 p.m., the Will County Coroner’s Office Laurie Summers said.. The mother remains in critical condition at the hospital.

An autopsy was performed on Sunday, the coroner’s office said in the statement. A forensic pathologist determined the boy had been stabbed a total of 26 times, police said.

Will County Sherriff’s Office said they were attacked for being Palestinian Muslim in direct relation to the ongoing war on Gaza.

CAIR-Chicago has called for hate crime charges to be brought forth to what they say is “their worst nightmare.” Executive Director of CAIR Ahmed Rehab said that the child’s father describes him as someone who loved life.

“He was a 6-year-old — he loved everything. He loved everybody. He loved his toys. He loved basketball, soccer. He loved to color. He loved to swing around. He loved his parents. He loved his family and his friends. He loved life,” said his father to Rehab.

Rehab said that the child ”paid the price for the atmosphere of hate, otherization and dehumanization that, frankly, I think we’re seeing here in the United States as a result of irresponsible leadership and lopsided, one-side statements and coverage we’re seeing in the media, elected officials, all across,” Rehab said.

Czuba has been charged with first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, two hate crime counts and aggravated battery for a deadly weapon. He has been transported to the Will County Adult Detention Facility and is awaiting his initial court appearance, the sheriff’s office said.

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  • Zainab Rights

    Zainab Rights is a Muslim American Journalist and Editor in Chief at TMJ News Network. She holds a double degree in Political Science and Homeland Security and a Masters in Journalism from Harvard University. She has over 12 years of experience in political commentary, writing and video production.

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