Mother of Wadea Al-Fayoume, 6, who was allegedly stabbed to death by his landlord Joseph Czuba, 71, is so severely injured and traumatized she is yet to speak

  • Wadea Al-Fayoume, 6, was fatally stabbed in his Illinois home on Saturday by the family’s landlord, police said
  • The little boy’s funeral was held in the Muslim city of Bridgeview on Monday: Joseph Czuba has been charged with hate crimes and murder 
  • Mahmoud Yousef, the boy’s great-uncle, told CNN on Wednesday night the child’s mother, who was also stabbed by Czuba, has not yet spoken 

The mother of a six-year-old Muslim boy murdered by the family’s landlord is so severely injured and traumatized she is yet to speak about the horrifying ordeal, the child’s great-uncle said.

Wadea Al-Fayoume was stabbed to death on Saturday afternoon at his home, and his mother, Hanaan Shahin, 32, was stabbed 26 times. 

The attack was so vicious the 12-inch kitchen knife remained embedded in the child’s body until the autopsy.

The attacker, Joseph Czuba, was a friendly neighbor who built a treehouse for the little boy, but became obsessed with the coverage of the Hamas terror attack of October 7 and ‘flipped’, a local activist told CNN. 

Mahmoud Yousef, the boy’s great-uncle, told the outlet the family was yet to speak to the boy’s mother, Hanaan Shahin.

‘We have no idea how she is right now,’ he said.

Six-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume was allegedly stabbed to death by the family’s landlord, Joseph Czuba, 71, on Saturday

Mahmoud Yousef, the boy’s great-uncle (left), appeared on CNN on Wednesday beside the executive director of Chicago’s CAIR Ahmed Rehab

The attack took place on Saturday morning in this home in Plainfield, Illinois, where both lived. Wadea’s family rented a room from Czuba, who also lives at the property 

The backyard of the home where Czuba stabbed the boy and his mother. It is crammed with US flags and other patriotic signs

‘They are not letting us talk to her or see her or visit her. Up until this point,’ the great-uncle said. ‘We are trying. They have told us we have to wait.’

Yousef said he was speaking on behalf of the family, as the father, Oday Al-Fayoume, was ‘still in disbelief of what has just happened.’

Asked why Shahin had not yet spoken to her relatives, Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said she was severely injured and in shock.

‘This was a brutal and heinous attack,’ he told CNN. ‘She was stabbed 12 times.

‘The little boy was stabbed 26 times. A 12-inch knife was still in his abdomen when he was taken for an autopsy.’ 

Rehab said Shahin was ‘stabbed in the face, the cheek, she can’t talk.’ 

‘She is in severe distress emotionally, of course, with the trauma she experienced,’ Rehab said. ‘And so it is perhaps the hospital wanting her to be protected from the interests of the public.

‘We are still trying to get in contact.’

The boy and his mother. He has one older sibling who was not harmed in the Saturday attack

The FBI and Justice Department have launched investigations into the attack. The FBI stated it ‘takes the investigation of hate crimes extremely seriously’

The boy’s father on Sunday. The child’s funeral came as Czuba made a court appearance on murder and other charges

‘This is a heavy day that we hoped would never come. As they say, the smallest coffins are the heaviest,’ Ahmed Rehab, executive director of CAIR-Chicago, said in a statement

Rehab said that ‘evil’ Czuba had become radicalized by coverage of the Hamas attack, which turned him against Muslims.

‘Ironically just before this segment, discussing the brutalizing of this family, there was a segment discussing potential imminent threats from the Muslim community,’ said Rehab.

‘And it is reports like that that this evil man was watching – he got radicalized by the coverage of the media, that is being consistently lopsided and one-sided. 

‘Not unlike, frankly, what I am seeing on CNN and other networks. Statements from politicians. 

‘Causing this man, who had otherwise been normal – had built a treehouse for the boy – to become a monster.’

Yousef added: ‘A lot of people have a phobia or something against Muslims.

‘They look at them as monsters. Describe them as animals.’

He said politicians and community leaders needed to be more careful with their words.

‘I think that it starts with leaders of our country,’ said Yousef.

‘When they hear something, like some type of news. Don’t just say it unless you know it’s true or not.’

Community members in metro-Chicago mourned the loss of Wadea Al-Fayoume, 6, during a funeral on Monday

‘This is a heavy day that we hoped would never come. As they say, the smallest coffins are the heaviest,’ Ahmed Rehab, executive director of CAIR-Chicago, said in a statement

The child’s school district said that counseling staffers would be available on Monday at the boy’s school

Wadea was stabbed 26 times and killed in a Sunday attack. His mother, Hanaan Shahin, was stabbed more than a dozen times. She remains in the hospital

He echoed Rehab and said Czuba was ‘a normal person’ who became radicalized. 

‘There was not a problem with him,’ said Rehab. 

‘Suddenly he just switched, because of what he hears from the news. Most of the things he hears unfortunately is not even true.

‘That’s where we have to start. We have to start with the community.

‘The community unfortunately are judgmental sometimes.

‘Why didn’t you just ask if you fear something? Why don’t you ask?’ 

In recent days, Jewish and Muslim groups have reported an increase in hateful rhetoric in the wake of the war. Several cities have stepped up police patrols.

The Justice Department said it opened a hate crime investigation into the attack.

‘This horrific act of hate has no place in America, and stands against our fundamental values: freedom from fear for how we pray, what we believe, and who we are,’ President Joe Biden said.

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