Thousands of people have gathered at the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, Illinois, to mourn Wadea Al-Fayoume, the 6-year-old Palestinian American boy who was stabbed to death, The Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Mourners attended a funeral service for the young boy at the mosque on Monday afternoon.
Wadea was stabbed on Saturday. The suspect is his mother’s landlord, 71-year-old Joseph Czuba. According to NPR, prosecutors say Czuba had been listening to the news about the conflict between Israel and Hamas. His wife told investigators that he thought Wadea’s mother, 32-year-old Hanaan Shahin, was “going to call Palestinian friends to come and harm them.”
Cuzba also attacked Shahin. The young mother is in the hospital but is expected to recover. On Monday night, dozens of people gathered outside the hospital to show their support, ABC 7 Chicago reports.
At Wadea’s funeral, mourners shared stories about the young boy.
“I want to tell the world that Wadea was a 6-year-old kid, and he thought he was going to grow up,” Mahmoud Yousef, Wadea’s uncle, said at an evening service, according to The Chicago Sun-Times. “He thought he had a future. But unfortunately, that was taken away too early.”
Wadea’s father, Oday Al-Fayoume, also spoke at the funeral. He criticized the anti-Muslim rhetoric used by leaders during the Israel-Hamas conflict.
“I’m not a politician. I’m not a religious leader,” Al-Fayoume said in Arabic, according to The Chicago Sun-Times. “I’m here as the father of a child whose right to life was taken … As a Muslim people, they talk about us like criminals and terrorists and the Israelis as heroes.
“What happened is a wake-up call for us all,” he said. “And I’m not scared for my son, all glory to God.”
The community will also hold a vigil for Wadea on Tuesday at the Prairie Activity & Recreation Center at 8 p.m., ABC 7 Chicago reports.
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