A landlord in Chicago in the US state of Illinois stabbed a 6-year-old boy to death and seriously wounded his mother in a probably Islamophoby-driven attack due to the family’s Islamic faith and the Israel-Palestine conflict.
“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,” the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) , the US’s largest Muslim civil rights organisation, said on X.
“The Islamophobic rhetoric and anti-Palestinian racism being spread by politicians, media outlets, and social media platforms must stop,” the organisation added.
The Will County’s Sheriff’s Office later issued a statement saying that based on a forensic pathologist’s examination, the boy was stabbed 26 times throughout his body.
His 32-year-old mother suffered over a dozen stab wounds.
She is recovering and is expected to survive.
The attacker, Joseph Czuba, 71, was charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and two counts of a hate crime, said the sheriff’s office.
‘Shocked and sickened’
US President Joe Biden denounced the murder of the Palestinian-American boy.
“(First lady) Jill and I were shocked and sickened to learn of the brutal murder of a six-year-old child and the attempted murder of the child’s mother in their home yesterday in Illinois,” said Biden in a statement.
“This horrific act of hate has no place in America and stands against our fundamental values: freedom from fear for how we pray, what we believe, and who we are,” he said.
Biden urged Americans to unite against Islamophobia in the wake of the killing.
“We join everyone here at the White House in sending our condolences and prayers to the family, including for the mother’s recovery, and to the broader Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim American communities.”
“As Americans, we must come together and reject Islamophobia and all forms of bigotry and hatred. I have said repeatedly that I will not be silent in the face of hate. We must be unequivocal. There is no place in America for hate against anyone,” he said.
“The child’s Palestinian Muslim family came to America seeking what we all seek—a refuge to live, learn, and pray in peace,” he added.