NewsNational NewsScripps News

Actions

Man accused of stabbing 6-year-old boy awaits hearing in Illinois

Joseph Czuba appeared in court for a brief status hearing before being taken back into custody. He faces multiple charges, including a hate crime.
Man accused of stabbing 6-year-old boy awaits hearing in Illinois
Posted at 4:58 PM, Jan 03, 2024

Seventy-two-year-old Joseph Czuba, accused of stabbing a 6-year-old Muslim boy in response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, was back in court today. Czuba appeared in a Joliet, Illinois, courtroom for a brief status hearing before being taken back into custody.

Czuba faces first degree murder, attempted murder and hate crime charges. Prosecutors say Czuba stabbed Wadea Al-Fayoume 26 times after attacking his mother, who survived the encounter.

Czuba has pleaded not guilty to all charges and remains behind bars as awaits trial.

Before the hearing, Fayoume's family and local faith leaders held a vigil outside of the courthouse. Fayoume's father, speaking through a translator, says his son was a victim of hatred and called for unity in this time of unrest.

"My son was a remarkable child, he was filled with dreams and aspirations. My son was a victim not only of violence, but also of prejudice and hatred. He was targeted because of his faith, because he was Muslim. And that is something we must confront as a society," Bassam Arnaout said, reading Odai Al-Fayoume's words. 

According to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) there has been a 172% increase in requests for help or reports of bias over the two-moth period following Hamas' attack, compared to the same period the year prior. 

Corey Saylor the research and advocacy director for CAIR, calls this "a wave of Islamophobia" and added, "People need to see that and see the numbers. We haven't seen anything to this level of volume since Donald Trump announced his plans to ban Muslims from the United States."

Saylor says CAIR has received more than 2,100 complaints in the two months following Oct. 7. That's about 40% of the total number of complaints the organization received in all of 2022.

"You really have to protect communities that oftentimes the rest of society looks down on, because that's where our freedoms are really taken away from us, right?" Saylor said. 

Czuba is due back in court March 7.

SEE MORE: Teacher threatens to behead Muslim student offended by Israeli flag


Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com