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Taft Today

Taft Today

Hate Crime Stabbing of 6-Year-Old Wadea Al-Fayoume

Courtesy of Google Images.
Courtesy of Google Images.

The murder of six-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume shook the Plainfield community on Oct. 14, when the family’s landlord, more importantly their friend, Joseph M. Czuba barged into their home attacking both Wadea and his mother Hanaan. 

Without any previous issues of tenancy, Czuba told his wife he wanted the family to move out of the home due to the fear of them attacking her and Czuba himself. 

According to the Will County Sheriff’s Office, Czuba’s wife, Mary, told investigators that, “He listens to conservative talk radio on a regular basis,” and “It wasn’t until he started watching the news and hearing statements that something changed.”

It’s said that the man described himself as being like a grandfather to the boy. Always playing with him and buying him toys, he treated him like a grandkid with love and affection. (CNN). But why would someone with so much love for a boy kill him?

The morning started with Hanaan making breakfast for her son and playing with toys before being interrupted by Czuba’s knocking at the door and their tranquility ended. 

According to authorities and a filing on the report, Hanaan described how Czuba confronted her and expressed his anger at her because of what’s going on in Gaza. Following that, she responded with, “Let’s pray for peace.” (CNN). 

Moments later the attack occurred as Czuba attempted to choke her and proceeded to attack her with a knife yelling, “You Muslims must die,” (Council on American-Islamic Relations CAIR).

She ended up escaping to the bathroom and called 911 explaining how her landlord attacked her and was in the apartment. (WTTW News)

Later it was revealed she could hear her son being consecutively stabbed in the room beside hers.

When police personnel arrived at the scene, Czuba was found sitting on the ground of the driveway with a minor laceration to his forehead and was then transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Hanaan was found with over a dozen stab wounds and is currently recovering from injuries. She is expected to live and survive the attack. 

Wadea on the other hand was pronounced dead a little under an hour after the attack. An autopsy was performed which then revealed the six-year-old boy was stabbed 26 times throughout the entirety of his body. 

“Imagine what it must feel like to undergo such pain and trauma. I can’t fathom what drove the landlord to kill an innocent boy who held nothing but a smile on his face everyday,” said Layan Atra, a Palestinian junior at Oak Lawn Community High. “I think to myself, god forbid that happened to one of my family members, I wouldn’t know how to deal with the pain.” (The Marshall Project)

Community members gathered at the Mosque Foundation on October 16th in Bridgeview Illinois to pray for Wadea during his funeral service. 

“I live right next to the Mosque they held the funeral at, thousands of people showed up in support,” said Atra.

Well known American Muslim scholar, civil rights leader, writer, and public speaker Imam Omar Suleiman, spoke up during the service advocating for not only Wadea, but the thousands of other children being killed in the war. 

“Every single Palestinian child is just as beautiful, has just as much of a right to be mourned and when we mourn Wadea, we are mourning all of those children and when we condemn the hate that killed Wadea, we are condemning the hate that has killed all of those children,” said Suleiman.

He also added, “What type of hate has to be manufactured in the head of a man for him to stand over a six-year-old boy and stab him 26 times?”

The news alters the perspective of its viewers with biased information and frequently twisted stories. It’s easy for the opinion and outlook on an issue to be swayed and changed. But it’s not easy to take information and murder an innocent kindergartener. 

The DHS issued a warning that the intensification of the conflicts occuring in the Middle East keeps the United States on a “heightened threat environment” for both Islamophobic and Antisemitic hate crimes. 

“The child’s Palestinian Muslim family came to America seeking what we all seek–a refuge to live, learn, and pray in peace. This horrific act of hate has no place in America,” said President Biden in response to the killing.

“It’s hard to think this happened so close to me. Being the head of Muslim Student Association (MSA), people need to condemn these actions and speak up. Our voice matters. It’s important to be educated especially in this school with such a large population of Muslims. It’s not a religious war that’s going on it’s genocide,” said Rana Aref, senior at Taft

Everyday citizens are tested to assess humanity and the decisions that follow. The stabbing of six-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume spotlights the need to end hate-fueled attacks.

“Society cannot excuse his actions. It’s due to propaganda shared within Western news. It embedded this false sense of truth, in return made him hateful. This is why it’s important to understand which sources to trust,” said Aref

Principal Mark Grishaber released an email Oct. 27 in regards to the killing, “Hatred in all forms must stop. It is during times like these that our schools community must reaffirm itself as a richly diverse environment where people of many backgrounds and faiths gather to learn, teach, and work.”

Through informational meetings and emails, any way to spread awareness is necessary. Taft must continue to show their support for its students and condemn any signs of violence or assault. It’s at times like this humanity must come together to uplift each other and defeat these ongoing horrors.

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About the Contributor
Sahara Samrah, Reporter