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Makayla MylesApril 3, 2024

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Chicago landlord charged with hate crime in killing of 6-year-old Palestinian boy, stabbing of mom

Wadea Al-Fayoume had just turned 6 when he was killed by the man he shared a home with, according to police, who say he was stabbed 26 times by his landlord.

Prosecutors said Joseph Czuba, 71, wanted the victims to move out of the home they rented from him, and believed he and his wife “were in danger,” because he feared the woman he stabbed “was going to call over her Palestinian friends or family to harm them.”

Czuba now faces several charges, including three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated battery, and two hate crime counts. The two victims were targeted because they were Muslim and because of the war between Israel and Hamas, according to the Will County Sheriff’s Office.

Wadea Al-Fayoume had just turned 6 when he was killed by the man he shared a home with, according to police, who say he was stabbed 26 times by his landlord in an attack targeting him and his mother for their religion, as a response to the war between Israel and Hamas.

During his first court appearance on Monday, a Will County judge denied Czuba’s pretrial release, after prosecutors argued he was a danger to both the boy’s mother and the general public.

The Justice Department has also opened an investigation into the case. The FBI is also now looking into federal hate crime charges. 

The boy’s mother, 32-year-old Hanaan Shahin, told detectives that on Saturday morning, Czuba, her landlord, attacked her with a knife as she ran to the bathroom to call 911. According to the Will County Sheriff’s Office, Czuba stabbed her more than a dozen times and her 6-year-old son, Wadea Al-Fayoume, 26 times. 

Will County prosecutors said Shahin told police Czuba knocked on her door Saturday morning, and the two got into an argument over the war between Israel and Hamas. Czuba told Shahin “he was angry at her for what was going on in Jerusalem,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.

When Czuba then attacked Shahin with a knife, she locked herself in a nearby bathroom to get away from Czuba but was unable to get her son into the bathroom with her.

That’s when Shahin called 911 and reported her son was being stabbed, and she said she did not come out of the bathroom until police arrived, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors said Shahin has two other children, who were later found to be with their father in Chicago and were not at home at the time of the attack. CBS 2 has learned that Wade’s funeral will happen Monday at 1 p.m. at a mosque in Bridgeview.

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