CHICAGO — A group of interfaith leaders united in the Loop Wednesday afternoon to condemn the stabbing murder of six-year-old Palestinian American Wadea Al-Fayoumi, who prosecutors said was targeted because of his Muslim faith.
Representatives of several religious entities, including the Mecca Center, Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, and Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, condemned the murder of Wadea, while also offering their sympathy for the boy’s family.
“The Muslim community continues to mourn the loss of Wadea — a young, brilliant, energetic and loving child,” said Sheikh Tariq Musleh, Associate Imam at the Mecca Center. “He was a child, who after just recently celebrating his birthday, spent his final moments on this Earth comforting his own mother, who watched him take his last breath.”
“This is the grossest example of disrespecting another human being, because of their religious views,” added Pastor Gregg Morris from Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church.
The group also denounced hate-filled speech and urged media members and the government not to highlight content that discriminates and discredits people because of their race, ethnicity or religion.
“I want to ask my fellow Americans to take a step back and ask ourselves, in what world, what faith tradition, what civil society could such a heinous crime be acceptable?” Musleh said.
On Saturday, Wadea was home with his mom Hanaan Shahin in unincorporated Plainfield Township when the family’s 71-year-old landlord, Joseph Czuba, allegedly attacked Shanin and Wadea with a large knife.
Authorities said Czuba was upset over the Israel Hamas War and attacked them after Shanin proposed they “pray for peace.”
“We had the opportunity to speak in front of the Plainfield Township council,” said Gregory Abdullah Mitchell from the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago. “The message is for the community to wrap their arms around this family … usually when tragedies come about, the community responds with love and compassion.”
A Palestinian American protest is planned to take place in the Loop Wednesday evening.