A Chicago-area landlord was arrested and hit with murder charges after what has been described by officials as a deplorable hate crime fueled by anti-Muslim sentiments.
Police in Will County, Illinois accused 71-year-old landlord Joseph Czuba of accosting his tenant, a 32-year-old woman identified by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as Hanaan Shahin, and attacking her and her son with a military-grade knife on Saturday (Oct. 14). While Shahin, a Palestinian-American, is expected to survive, the child, 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume, ultimately succumbed to 26 stab wounds after being taken to a local hospital.
“Despite the suspect not providing a statement to detectives, personnel were able to gather enough information through interviews and evidence to formally charge Joseph Czuba with numerous criminal offenses,” read an official press release from the Will County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday (Oct. 15). “Czuba was charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, hate crime (two counts), and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.”
It continued, “Detectives were able to determine that both victims in this brutal attack were targeted by the suspect due to them being Muslim and the ongoing Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and the Israelis.” According to CAIR, texts to Al-Fayoume’s father revealed that said landlord yelled, “You Muslims must die” during the attack.
“Jill and I were sickened to learn of the brutal murder of a child and the attempted murder of the child’s mother yesterday in Illinois,” tweeted President Joe Biden in response. “Our condolences and prayers are with the family. This act of hate against a Palestinian Muslim family has no place in America.”
As previously reported by REVOLT, Hamas launched a surprise attack against Israel in the fight to liberate Gaza on Oct. 7, reportedly killing at least 1,400 residents in the process. In response, the Isaac Herzog and Benjamin Netanyahu-led regime returned fire on Gaza in an onslaught that, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, killed 2,670 people and wounded 9,600 more.