Gov. Pritzker releases statement after 6-year-old Muslim boy fatally stabbed in hate crime

Wadea Al-Fayoume and his mother were allegedly stabbed by their landlord on Saturday at their home in Plainfield Township, according to the Will County Sheriff's Office

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After a Plainfield Township landlord fatally stabbed a young boy and seriously injured his mother because of their Islamic faith, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a statement, writing that the child's death wasn't just a murder - it was a hate crime.

Wadea Al-Fayoume and his mother were allegedly stabbed by their landlord on Saturday at their home along South Lincoln Highway near Lily Cache Road, according to authorities. Wadea was stabbed 26 times and died from his injuries at the hospital. His mother sustained more than a dozen stab wounds and remained in critical condition as of late Sunday.

Gov. Pritzker issued a statement on the stabbing, saying "to take a six year old child's life in the name of bigotry is nothing short of evil."

"Wadea should be heading to school in the morning. Instead his parents will wake up without their son," he said, in part.

Pritzker wrote that every single Illinois resident - including those who are Muslim, Jewish and Palestinian - "deserves to live free from the threat of such evil."

"Today, MK and I join our Muslim and Palestinian brothers and sisters in mourning this tragic loss and praying for the recovery of Wadea's mother," he added. "May Wadea Al-Fayoume's memory be a blessing."

According to the Council on American Islamic Relations, the boy's mother sent his father a text while in the hospital, saying that the landlord "had been angry with what he was seeing in the news." The landlord knocked on her door, at which point he allegedly tried to choke her and attack her with a knife, according to CAIR, citing the text message.

The landlord, identified as Joseph Czuba, was taken in for questioning late Sunday and later charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and two counts of a hate crime, according to authorities.

While Czuba didn't make any statements regarding his involvement in the attack, deputies were able to gather evidence, which led prosecutors to file numerous criminal charges. Detectives determined that both victims were targeted due to their Islamic faith and the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, police stated.

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