Candlelight vigil held for Plainfield boy killed in alleged hate crime for being Muslim

OAK BROOK, Ill. (CBS) — Community members gathered Sunday evening in the western suburbs to light a candle and reflect on the loss of Wadea Al Fayoume. The 6-year-old boy from Plainfield was killed while his mother was left critically in what officials say was a hate crime. 

As CBS 2’s Andrew Ramos reports, emotions are still very raw one week after the attack. 

Many in Oak Brook and across the country are still coming to terms with the horrific murder of Wadea. While the tragedy continues to resonate, a sliver of good news is now on the horizon. 

People came from several surrounding suburbs and as far as the city to gather in Oak Brook to light a candle in what has been a dark week. 

Six-year-old Wadea was remembered at the vigil organized by concerned parents and community members still grappling with the Plainfield child’s murder. 

Police say one week ago the boy and his mother Hanan Shaheen were attacked by their landlord, 71-year-old Joseph Czuba. They say Czuba targeted them simply because they were Muslim. 

Czuba stabbed the boy to death and critically injured his mother. He has been arrested and charged with a hate crime in the case. 

“I myself have a 6-year-old,” said organizer Sakeena Mirza. “I don’t want anything like that happening to any 6-year-old.” 

“It just hurts to see that people are suffering and to see that little boy there. It’s just not fair,” said Zareema Khader. 

Wadea’s tragic story sent shockwaves across the glob amid the ongoing conflict in the Mideast. 

World leaders took note. 

“A little boy 6 years old didn’t do anything to anyone. I feel that strongly across the board,” said Sec. of State Antony Blnken. 

In what has become a glimmer of hope in this tragic tale, 32-year-old Shaheen was released from the hospital on Thursday and placed in temporary housing. 

There has been an ongoing community based effort to raise funds for the family to help pay to rehouse his 32-year-old mom. So far it has raised more than $600,000. 


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