Monday, October 16, 2023

Humanitarian: Justice Department opens federal hate crime investigation into fatal stabbing of 6-year-old Palestinian-American boy, Mon October 16, 2023

Stand up to any injustice.

BEMA International

By Chris Boyette and Keith Allen, CNN       Published 8:20 AM EDT, Mon October 16, 2023

CNN — 

The US Justice Department has opened a federal hate crime investigation after an Illinois landlord allegedly stabbed a 6-year-old Palestinian-American boy to death and seriously wounded his mother because the family is Muslim.

Joseph M. Czuba, 71, was charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, two counts of a hate crime and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, the Will County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

The sheriff’s office said Czuba did not make a statement to detectives, but investigators determined the victims were “targeted by the suspect due to them being Muslim and the ongoing Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and the Israelis.”

The Justice Department “will use every legal authority at our disposal to bring to justice those who perpetrate illegal acts of hate,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

“This incident cannot help but further raise the fears of Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian communities in our country with regard to hate-fueled violence,” Garland said. “The Department of Justice is focused on protecting the safety and the civil rights of every person in this country.”

Authorities were called to the residence in unincorporated Plainfield Township, roughly 40 miles southwest of Chicago, shortly before noon Saturday after a woman called 911 saying her landlord had attacked her, according to the sheriff’s office.

When deputies arrived, they found Czuba sitting on the ground, near the home’s driveway, the release said. The two victims were found in a bedroom, each with “multiple stab wounds,” and were taken to a hospital, according to the release.

he boy, Wadea Al-Fayoume, was stabbed 26 times and died from his injuries. His 32-year-old mother, Hanaan Shahin, who had more than a dozen stab wounds, is recovering at the hospital and is expected to survive, the office said.

The family had lived on the house’s ground floor for two years without “previous notable issues” with Czuba, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a statement. But in texts to the boy’s father from the hospital after the attack, Shahin said the landlord “knocked on their door, and when she opened, he tried to choke her and proceeded to attack her with a knife, yelling, ‘you Muslims must die,’” according to the statement.

Czuba was taken to the Will County Adult Detention Facility and is awaiting his initial court appearance, according to the sheriff’s office. It is unclear if he has an attorney.



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