The Will County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement shared on social media that “Detectives were able to determine that both victims in this brutal attack were targeted by the suspect due to their being Muslim and the ongoing Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and the Israelis.”
As to the report by the Muslim civil rights advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair), Hanaan Shahin, 32, was stabbed and choked by the landlord after he broke into the house. She allegedly went into the bathroom and called 911.
When she came back out, she found her six-year-old son Wadea Al-Fayoume with a knife stuck in his tiny body, stabbed 26 times with a 12-inch serrated military knife with a seven-inch blade.
She said that the landlord had exclaimed, “You Muslims must die!” in texts to her husband.
She is still in critical condition at the hospital. Her son passed away; he was six years old and loved “everyone and everything”.
Joseph Czuba, 71, was taken into custody by the authorities on Sunday on charges of hate crimes. He was accused of two hate crime offenses, first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
For two years, Czuba rented the bottom floor of his building to the mother and son. According to authorities, he was discovered “sitting upright outside on the ground near the driveway of the residence” on Saturday, suffering from a cut on his forehead.
The executive director of the Cair chapter in Chicago, Ahmed Rehab, stated during a press conference with the boy’s family on Sunday that although the murderer has some of the culpability, there is also a nasty environment to blame.
He stood beside the boy’s father, who Rehab claimed was too weak to speak, and said, “I ask all people of conscience, to what extent have we created an atmosphere in which someone who may not have committed such an act as senseless, this meaningless to what extent was this person radicalized and brainwashed by this lopsided, one-sided atmosphere that fans the flames of hatred of Muslims and Palestinians?”
“What level of blind hatred can cause such an act?”
Following a surprise attack by Hamas on Israel that resulted in the deaths of at least 1,300 Israelis and the kidnapping of at least 100 more, Israel began bombing the heavily populated Gaza Strip. At least 2,400 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza bombing so far, the most of whom were women and children. Seven,696 more have been injured.
However, because of the continuous bombing campaign and the impending ground invasion, the number is growing quickly.
Rehab cautioned during the news conference against replicating the post-9/11 environment of 2001, but expressed his conviction that this is precisely the direction the nation is taking.
“Wadea had no clue about these larger issues happening in the world, but he was made to pay for it,” Rehab said.
Acts of violence have been occurring all throughout the US in the past week. On 11 October, a group of men waving Israeli flags physically assaulted an 18-year-old Palestinian man in Brooklyn. They shouted anti-Palestinian statements before getting out of their car and punching him.
The same night, in another part of Brooklyn, two men approached two other men holding Palestinian flags, grabbed one of the flags, hit one man over the head with it and then ran away, police say. No arrests have been made.