A a Palestinian-American boy has been stabbed to death and his mother left in a critical condition after a suspected hate crime in the US state of Illinois.
Wadea al Fayoume, a six-year-old, died in hospital after being stabbed 26 times with a “military-style knife” on Saturday, the Will County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
A US landlord, 71-year-old Joseph Czuba, has been charged with murder and hate crimes.
The boy’s mother, 32-year-old, is recovering in hospital after suffering “over a dozen stab wounds”.
US President Joe Biden called it an “act of hate” as the FBI said it was on high alert for violence driven by an increased risk of antisemitism or Islamophobia.
Police said they were able to determine that both victims were “targeted by the suspect due to them being Muslim and the ongoing Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and Israelis“.
“He knocked on the door and attempted to choke her, and said, ‘you Muslims’ must die,” Ahmed Rehab, Head of Council on American–Islamic Relations Chicago office, told reporters, citing text messages sent by the woman to the murdered boy’s father from her hospital bed.
The attack was “our worst nightmare,” CAIR said in a statement.