US Justice Department opens hate crime probe into killing of Muslim boy in Illinois

WASHINGTON – The US Justice Department has launched a federal hate crime investigation into the tragic murder of 6-year-old Palestinian-American boy Wadea Al-Fayoume, who was brutally stabbed to death in Illinois this weekend.

“The Justice Department has opened a federal hate crimes investigation into the events leading to the tragic death of Wadea Al-Fayoume and the serious injuries suffered by his mother, Hanaan Shahin,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement on Sunday.

The statement refrained from providing further details, citing an ongoing criminal investigation.

Expressing his condolences, Garland stated, “I am heartbroken by the abhorrent killing of Wadea Al-Fayoume, a six-year-old child who died after being stabbed 26 times with a military-style knife.”

“This incident cannot help but further raise the fears of Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian communities in our country with regard to hate-fueled violence,” the statement said, adding that no one in the US “should have to live in fear of violence because of how they worship or where they or their family come from”.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement that there is “no humane world that can and should tolerate the murder of an innocent child because of his identity”.

“The tragic events in the Middle East, begun by the brutal terrorist attacks by Hamas, have brought ideologies of hate to the fore across the world – notably antisemitism and Islamophobia. This must end. The diversity and inclusiveness that define America must prevail,” said the statement.

“Our Department condemns violence, including and especially violence born of hate, and we will continue to work every day to prevent it,” it added.

The assailant, Joseph Czuba, who is the victims’ landlord, carried out the attack on Saturday, motivated by the victims’ Islamic faith and the Israel-Palestine conflict.

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