Illinois Landlord Kills 6-Year-Old Muslim Boy, Stabs His Mother Because He was 'Incensed' by Israel-Hamas War

Wadea Al-Fayoume
Wadea Al-Fayoume Facebook

An Illinois man stabbed a 6-year-old boy to death and critically wounded his mother in an alleged anti-Muslim hate crime, the Will County Sheriff's Office said Sunday, calling it a "senseless and cowardly act of violence."

"Detectives were able to determine that both victims in this brutal attack were targeted by the suspect due to them being Muslim and the ongoing Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and the Israelis," the sheriff's office said in a news release.

'You Muslims Must Die!'

According to text messages sent by the mother to the father of the boy, which were shared with CAIR International, the largest Muslim civil rights organization in the US, when the woman opened the door, the landlord attempted to choke her, then stabbed her, yelling: "You Muslims must die!"

The mother ran to the bathroom to call 911 and emerged to find that the man had stabbed her son. "It all happened in seconds," the woman texted, according to CAIR.

Joseph M Czuba
Joseph M Czuba Facebook

Officers found the 71-year-old suspect sitting upright on the ground near the home's driveway. Inside were the two stabbing victims, a 32-year-old woman and a 6-year-old boy who each suffered over a dozen stab wounds to their chest, torso and arms. The suspect was identified as 71-year-old Joseph M Czuba and police said he was the property's landlord.

"Joseph Czuba did not make any statements to detectives regarding his involvement in this heinous attack. Despite the suspect not providing a statement to detectives, personnel were able to gather enough information through interviews and evidence to formally charge Joseph Czuba with numerous criminal offenses," said the Will county sheriff office in a statement.

Czuba was charged with murder, two counts of hate crimes and other offenses. The child was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead, and the woman is hospitalized in serious condition.

CAIR Issues Statement, Says Landlord Had a Good Relationship with the Child

CAIR held a news conference on Sunday, describing the boy, identified as Wadea Al-Fayoume, as a child who loved his family, soccer and basketball. Wadea had just turned six years old a few weeks before, said Ahmed Rehab, CAIR executive director. "He paid the price for the atmosphere of hate that we are seeing here in the United States," Rehab said.

According to Rehab, Czuba was incensed by the news coming out of Israel and previously had had a good relationship with the family, even building a treehouse for Wadea, bringing him toys and allowing him to swim in a makeshift pool. "The family had no reason to suspect what was to occur," Rehab said.

Israel has been hammering the Gaza strip with relentless airstrikes this week which have killed at least 2,600 residents. The enclave has been running dangerously low on food, water, and medical supplies after Israel announced a complete siege on the region last week.

The Israeli military campaign was launched shortly after Hamas militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, in a large-scale offensive that included abducting hostages and massacring at least 260 people at a music festival.