President Joe Biden issued a statement on Sunday condemning the fatal stabbing of a 6-year-old Palestinian-American boy who was killed in an anti-Muslim attack.
Police arrested Joseph Czuba,71, for allegedly stabbing 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume 26 times, and his 32-year-old mother Hanaan Shahin in Plainfield, Illinois on Saturday. Al-Fayoume was transported to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Shahin was severely injured during the attack and remains hospitalized, but she is expected to survive.
“Jill and I were shocked and sickened to learn of the brutal murder of a six-year-old child and the attempted murder of the child’s mother in their home yesterday in Illinois,” Biden wrote in a statement. “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.”
Czuba is the family’s landlord. The Will County Sheriff’s office said he targeted them because of their Islamic faith and the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
“The child’s Palestinian Muslim family came to America seeking what we all seek—a refuge to live, learn, and pray in peace,” Biden wrote in his statement Sunday. “As Americans, we must come together and reject Islamophobia and all forms of bigotry and hatred. I have said repeatedly that I will not be silent in the face of hate. We must be unequivocal. There is no place in America for hate against anyone.
Czuba has been charged with one count each of first-degree murder, attempted murder, and aggravated battery, and two counts of hate crime.