Federal resolution honors Plainfield Township boy killed in hateful attack

Federal lawmakers are proposing a resolution honoring Wadee AlFayoumi, a 6-year-old Plainfield Township boy stabbed to death earlier this year in what authorities have charged as a hate crime.

The resolution, introduced Tuesday in the U.S. House of Representatives, also rebukes hate crimes, saying no one should be a target because of their ethnicity or religion.

Prosecutors in Will County have said AlFayoumi’s attacker was motivated by anger over the Israel-Hamas conflict and that he targeted the boy and his mother in the Oct. 14 stabbing because of their Muslim faith and Palestinian heritage.

“Hateful anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian rhetoric has real consequences,“ U.S. Rep. Delia C. Ramirez of Illinois’ 3rd District said in a news release. “(Wadee’s) death and his family’s pain weigh heavily on my heart, and we must ensure that no other children, families or communities suffer as a result of this vile rhetoric.”

The resolution is being proposed by Ramirez and three other congresswomen, including U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood of the 14th District. A spokesman for Ramirez said the resolution could be considered for a vote after the new year.

“Our community lost a beautiful light when Wadee AlFayoumi was taken from us,” Underwood said in a statement. “Wadee brought sunshine and joy to his loved ones and classmates, and I am so proud to have worked with Wadee’s family and community leaders on this resolution to honor his life and memory.”

A Will County grand jury in October indicted Joseph Czuba, the family’s 72-year-old landlord, of three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated battery and two counts of hate crime for the attack.

On the day of the attack, Czuba argued with AlFayoumi’s mother, Hanaan Shaheen, about the Israel-Hamas conflict. Shaheen suggested the two pray for peace, but Czuba began attacking her, Will County prosecutors said.

Shaheen fled to a bathroom, where she locked the door and called 911. As she made the call, she could hear Czuba attacking her son in his bedroom. The 6-year-old was stabbed 26 times with a military-style knife, authorities said.

The resolution also calls on elected officials and media “to tell the truth without dehumanizing rhetoric.” It also states there should be no tolerance for Islamaphobia, antisemitism, and anti-Arab or anti-Palestinian discrimination.

“We cannot allow our country to dehumanize people and mischaracterize who they are. That is what leads to hate and heartbreaking violence,” said Maaria Mozaffar of the Muslim Civic Coalition.

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