As it charges a man with murdering a 6-year-old Muslim boy and trying to kill the boy’s mother, the Will County Sheriff in Joliet, Ill. claims that the 71-year-old was motivated by Hamas’s war against Israel on Oct. 7.
“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,” the sheriff’s office said.
Officers arrested Joseph Czuba on Oct. 14 in Plainfield Township, Ill., and charged him with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, two counts of hate crimes and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Hanaan Shahin is expected to survive after sustaining more than a dozen stab wounds, but her son, Wadea Al-Fayoume, died after being stabbed repeatedly with a military-style knife.
The two were tenants in an apartment building that the suspect runs. Czuba reportedly did not make any statements to police about his alleged actions or motivations.
“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,” U.S. President Joe Biden stated on Oct. 15.
“We’re disgusted and horrified that a 6-year-old boy was murdered and his mother was severely injured in Plainfield, Ill., allegedly because they are Muslim,” said the Anti-Defamation League. “We express our condolences to the Muslim community and categorically reject all anti-Muslim hate.”
The American Jewish Committee added: “We are horrified by and utterly condemn the murder of a child and stabbing of his mother for being Muslim. We call on the Plainfield Police Department to investigate and prosecute this case as a hate crime and with all the necessary resources.”