WASHINGTON, DC – Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) responds to the senseless murder of Wadea Al-Fayoume, and the further violence perpetrated against his mother in an anti-Muslim attack against them.
Authorities in Will County, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, recently arrested Joseph Czuba, who is being charged with the murder of 6 year-old child Wadea Al-Fayoume and attempted murder of his mother, in what is being described as an anti-Muslim hate crime. Czuba, who was the family’s landlord, targeted them due to being Palestinian amidst the on-going conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“The murder of Wadea Al-Fayoume and further attacks on his mother is horrifying, but it is not a coincidence: it is a direct result of the irresponsible and hateful rhetoric being thrown around today. Unfortunately, international conflicts are exacerbating intolerance and rancor towards innocent people based on their ethnicity and religious background – and it is having irreversible consequences.”
“This type of violence is very familiar to our communities. In the years after 9/11, we saw Muslims and those mistaken as Muslim attacked, blamed, and sometimes killed for the horrors committed by terrorist groups they had nothing to do with. This is no different than what we are seeing unfold today,” said Christine Chen, Executive Director of Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote.
“It is also no different than what we witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Asians in America, especially Chinese Americans, were also attacked, blamed, and sometimes killed for the virus – when they too had nothing to do with the virus’ existence.”
“And of course, Jewish people in our community are immensely aware of the stark rise in antisemitism over the past decade – scapegoating them for a wide range of societal woes, pinpointing them for a variety of conspiracy theories, and blaming them for the affairs of a foreign government they have no control over. This sentiment has also caused violence that has too often taken innocent lives.”
“We commend local authorities for quickly apprehending Czuba and investigating this as a hate crime. As we approach the 2024 election, we worry heated political climates like this can lead to more hate crimes, but we have the power to do something about it now. We must support one another and demand the rights and safety of all our communities – regardless of race, ethnicity, immigration status, religion, or any other social marker. We call on media pundits, public officials, political candidates, and all others with a platform to triple-think their language to prevent creating an atmosphere where more hate crimes are likely.”
About APIAVote: Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) is the nation’s leading nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to engaging, educating, and empowering Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities to strengthen and sustain a culture of civic engagement.See our website for more information at https://www.apiavote.org/