Home EVENTS Palestinian-American Community Mourns Death Of Muslim Boy Killed In Hate Crime

Palestinian-American Community Mourns Death Of Muslim Boy Killed In Hate Crime

Palestinian-American Community Mourns Death Of Muslim Boy Killed In Hate Crime


The Palestinian community that lives just outside of Chicago remains in mourning a day after a funeral service was held for 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume.

Crowds gathered in Bridgeview — home to a large Palestinian community that has come to be known as “Little Palestine” — on Monday to say goodbye to the boy killed in what authorities have called a hate crime.

Al-Fayoume, who had recently celebrated a birthday, died after being stabbed dozens of times on Saturday in Plainfield Township, located southwest of Chicago, in an attack that drew condemnation from officials across the country, including President Joe Biden.

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“We are not animals — we are humans! We want people to see us as humans, to feel us as humans, to deal with us as humans because that’s what we are,” said Yousef Hannon, the boy’s uncle.

Joseph Czuba, 71, the family’s landlord, was upset over the Israel-Hamas war and attacked the boy’s mother, Hanaan Shahin, 32, when she responded that he should “pray for peace” in the region, prosecutors said.

That’s when Czuba stabbed the boy 26 times, while his mother suffered multiple knife wounds. She was expected to make a full recovery.

Two days later, the boy’s white coffin — draped in a Palestinian flag — was carried into a mosque for his funeral. The community remains in mourning for the boy’s death and as the war rages on across the world in the Gaza Strip.

“This is a heavy day. It is a worst nightmare come true,” said Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago CAIR office. “He was a lovely boy. Loved his family, friends. He loved soccer, basketball. He paid the price for the atmosphere of hate.”

The boy’s mother came from the West Bank and moved to the United States 12 years ago. His father, Oday El-Fayoume, a Palestinian who was living in Jordan, immigrated nine years ago.

“It’s heartbreaking. He was Muslim, that’s what happened, he was Muslim and this is what they did, this is what this monster did,” Iman Negrete, a Palestinian American who lives in Plainfield, told Reuters.

Fueled By Anti-Muslim Hate

Czuba, who remains in custody, has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, two counts of hate crime and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.


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