A six-year-old boy is dead and his mother was seriously injured in Chicago after they were attacked by their landlord because they are Muslim.
The Will County Sheriff’s office said on Sunday that Joseph Czuba, 71, used a military style knife to stab the 6-year-old and his 32-year-old mother.
Police said the woman had called 911 just before 11:40 a.m Saturday, saying her landlord was attacking her with a knife and she was hiding in her bathroom.
When officers arrived on the scene they found Czuba sitting outside of the home. The woman and her son were found inside the home. She had been stabbed more than a dozen times and was transported to the hospital in serious condition. Her 6-year-old son was stabbed 26 times. He was transported to the hospital in critical condition and was later pronounced dead, according to CBS Chicago.
The Sheriff’s office said Sunday that investigators “were able to determine that both victims in this brutal attack were targeted by the suspect due to them being Muslim and the on-going Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and the Israelis.”
Officers did not release the names of the victims but the boy’s father identified him as Wadea Al-Fayoume and his mother as Hanaan Shahin. He said his son and his ex-wife are Palestinian-American.
Ahmed Rehab, president of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said that Czuba “had been angry with what he was seeing in the news,” and yelled “you Muslims must die!” during the fatal attack.
“What we have is a murdered Palestinian child by someone who is radicalized by the environment in which we live right now, that casts Palestinians as human animals,” Rehab said.
Czuba has been charged with one count each of first-degree murder, attempted murder, and aggravated battery, and two counts of hate crime.