PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, IL – A 71-year-old landlord has been arrested after allegedly killing a 6-year-old boy and injuring his mother due to their Muslim faith and the ongoing conflict taking place between Israel and Hamas.
Will County sheriff’s deputies responded to a call in Plainfield Township, Illinois, where they found the suspect, Joseph Czuba, sitting in front of a home near South Lincoln Highway and Lily Cache Road. Czuba had a cut on his forehead, and inside the home, the lifeless body of Wadea Al-Fayoume, a Palestinian-American boy who had recently turned six, was discovered.
The autopsy revealed that the young boy had suffered 26 stab wounds from a large military-style knife. His mother, Hanaan Shahin, 32, survived but was stabbed more than a dozen times during the attack. According to text messages sent to the boy’s father, Czuba allegedly shouted, “You Muslims must die!” at the family before the stabbing.
Authorities stated that both victims were targeted because of their Muslim faith and the ongoing Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and Israel. Al-Fayoume was declared dead, while Shahin remained in critical condition but was expected to survive.
The mother and son had been living on the ground floor of Czuba’s home for approximately two years, as confirmed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Chicago chapter, which condemned the violence.
The Council on American Islamic Relations in Chicago, also known as CAIR-Chicago, described the stabbings as the Muslim community’s “worst nightmare.” According to CAIR, the landlord had been upset by the news and went to the family’s door. When Shahin opened the door, he allegedly attempted to strangle her and then proceeded to stab her and her son with a knife.
Joseph Czuba was taken into custody at the scene and received medical treatment for the cut on his forehead. Now, he faces charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, two hate crime counts, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Czuba is currently held at the Will County Adult Detention facility.