CHICAGO - The heinous murder of a 6-year-old boy is making headlines around the world as an alleged hate crime tied to the unrest in the Middle East. Since the attack over the weekend, the Chicago-area community has been mourning.
Court documents say 71-year-old Joseph Czuba expressed to his wife that he wanted Hanan Shaheen and her son to move out of his residence because he believed he and his wife were in danger, and that Hanan was going to call her Palestinian family and friends to harm the couple.
"This really should be a wake-up call to us. Not just to be more careful with our words and actions, but that we've got to find ways to come together," said state Rep. Kam Buckner.
Czuba appeared before a Will County judge on Monday, now charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, two hate crimes and aggravated battery.
"When he was stabbed, his last words to his mom, 'Mom, I'm fine.' You know what he is fine; he’s in a better place," said Mahmoud Yousef, the boy's uncle.
Inside this Plainfield home on Saturday, prosecutors say the landlord stabbed 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume 26 times. Police discovered the boy in his bedroom with a knife still lodged inside his stomach. The mother was stabbed more than a dozen times.
Following the funeral Monday, a grieving father addressed mourners in Arabic. Attendees were seen praying outside Bridgeview’s Mosque Foundation.
Leaders are continuing their call for accountability, fairness, and balanced coverage.
"No child, no child should ever have to pay for the crimes or for the manufactured image of a criminal on the part of anybody else," said Dr. Omar Suleiman.
The mother was unable to attend her son’s funeral. She remains in the hospital. The suspect is being held without the option of bond and is due back in court on Oct. 20.
A prayer vigil is scheduled for Tuesday in Plainfield at 8 p.m. in support of the family.