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Palestinian boy, 6, had ‘good’ relationship with landlord before fatal stabbing, last words revealed

The Chicago landlord accused of stabbing a Palestinian American 6-year-old to death in response to the war between Israel and Hamas had a “good” relationship with the boy and his mother before his slaying.

Joseph Czuba, 71 — who allegedly shouted “You Muslims must die!” at little Wadea Al-Fayoume and his mother before stabbing the boy 26 times with a 12-inch military-style knife — had not had issues with the family before the brutal attack, the boy’s father, Oday El-Fayoume, told the Daily Beast.

“My ex-wife and son knew him, and they had a good relationship. It is hard to picture this man holding a knife about to stab my son,” El-Fayoume said.

“I keep thinking that my son was probably running towards him before getting stabbed, trying to give him a hug.”

The anguished father described his son as “a small angel in the form of a person,” and said his last words to his mother were, “I’m fine.”

His ex-wife, Hanaan Shahin, 32, was stabbed more than a dozen times in the attack, but is expected to survive.

The mother and son had lived on the ground floor of Czuba’s home for about two years, and the landlord had even gone out of his way to build a treehouse and an indoor play area for the young boy, his father said.

“It all felt like torture. The reasons that led to the killing … we had no information about that for four hours. Those four hours felt like 40 years,” El-Fayoume said.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Chicago chapter said the landlord “had been angry with what he was seeing in the news” and went to knock on the family’s door.

When the mother opened the door, he allegedly attempted to choke her and then went on to stab her and her boy with a knife, CAIR said.

“Detectives were able to determine that both victims in this brutal attack were targeted by the suspect due to them being Muslim and the ongoing Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and the Israelis,” the Will County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

President Biden said he was “shocked and sickened” by the “horrific act of hate” in a statement released Sunday.

Follow along with The Post’s live blog for the latest on Hamas’ attack on Israel

President Biden said he was “shocked and sickened” by the “horrific act of hate” in a statement released Sunday.

“The child’s Palestinian Muslim family came to America seeking what we all seek — a refuge to live, learn, and pray in peace,” the statement said. “This horrific act of hate has no place in America, and stands against our fundamental values: freedom from fear for how we pray, what we believe, and who we are.”

Meanwhile, the boy’s father says he hopes his son is remembered as a “symbol” for the Palestinian people.

“People know that we, too, get discriminated against,” he told the outlet. “I want this to open a door for the freedom of the Palestinian people.”

Czuba was taken into custody at the scene and transported to a hospital to treat a cut on his forehead. He has since been charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, two counts of hate crimes and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

He is being held at the Will County Adult Detention facility and is awaiting his first court appearance.


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