ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 146

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Chicago rabbis attend funeral of Palestinian American boy killed in brutal hate crime

Muslim community members sit in front of Wadea Al Fayoume's casket at Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, Ill., Monday, Oct. 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Muslim community members sit in front of Wadea Al Fayoume's casket at Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, Ill., Monday, Oct. 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

A group of Chicago-area rabbis attended the funeral of Wadea Al-Fayoume, the six-year-old Palestinian American who was killed in his Illinois home by his landlord in what police are investigating as a hate crime.

Al-Fayoume was killed yesterday and his mother was seriously injured by 71-year-old Joseph Czuba who witnesses said was screaming, “You Muslims have to die” when he barged into their apartment and began to attack them unprovoked.

Witnesses also heard him shout, “You are killing our kids in Israel. You Palestinians don’t deserve to live.”

In a Facebook post published after attending Wadea’s funeral, Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob Synagogue Rabbi Ari Hart writes, “We met with the Imam, heard from the father and stood with the boy’s community as they mourned this horrific loss. We witnessed the pain. We expressed our shock and condemnation of the attack. We wept.”

“I can’t say that it was simple to be there. These are not simple times. But the murder of a six-year-old because of his faith and his identity is not complicated. It is a heinous crime. And that’s why we went today,” he says.

“These days it really feels like the world has lost its way. But I can’t give up on trying, yearning, dreaming, even right now, of finding the way to shalom. The way to peace.”

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