Six Year Old Muslim Dies Tragically In Chicago, An Ongoing Hate Crime Pandemic

Amid rising tensions between Israel and Gaza, terror has struck a Palestinian family 10,000 km away from the conflict. In Chicago, a six-year-old child named Wadea was stabbed 26 times by his family’s landlord for being Muslim, and passed away. The child’s mother, also a victim of this attack, was not able to be present at her child’s funeral.  Illinois’ Governor, JB Pritzker, was present at the victim’s funeral and condemned the attack, calling it an act “nothing short of evil”.

Due to the gravity of the facts, this crime transcended to the national scene. The United States Department of Justice has taken charge of the case, tagging it as a “hate crime”. The U.S. General Attorney, Merrick Garland, described a “rise in fears” in Arabs, Muslims, and Palestinians across the country.

The perpetrator of this attack, Joseph Czuba, originally wanted this Palestinian family to leave his home. Furthermore, according to his wife, on October 11th (Wednesday) Czuba declared feeling “in danger” for having Palestinian tenants at his property. That same week, on a Saturday, Czuba perpetuated this attack on his tenants.

The rise of hate crimes against minorities, notably speaking about Jewish and Muslim communities, has been a worrying trend seen across the world. In the world’s biggest cities, it is no longer safe to wear any symbol or clothing that shows belonging to any of these communities. Being able to believe in a certain religion and live through that lens is a basic human right everyone should be able to enjoy, regardless of current geopolitical issues.

Yet, it is important to recognize that when it comes to a conflict, despite the religious, political, or historical lens it is seen through, every side is a victim. People from both sides, whether it is Gaza or Israel, suffer and pay the price for war. What tagging a certain side as the “victim” and another side as the “oppressor” does is create a stigma towards a specific group of people. Politicians and the media, following a certain ideology and goals in mind, have a certain role and responsibility in all of this.

Instead of being invested in condemning a certain action by a certain country, every actor of the international community, ranging from international organizations, states, non-governmental organizations, and even the media, should be invested in advocating for peace. Regardless of a state’s political and economic interest in such conflict, siding with a certain side causes a general stigma and hatred towards those who belong to the “oppressors”, when they are simply civilians that have nothing to do with the conflict. Many victims, including Wadea, could have been spared.

Regardless, individual states and the international community should be ready and firm when condemning and treating hate crimes. Such events should no longer occur in the 21st century, an age in which everyone should be able to practice and believe whichever religion without hurting anybody.

Despite its current relevancy in the international news scene, the Israel-Gaza conflict is not as recent as it seems. Gaza is a small strip of land of 2 million inhabitants governed by Hamas, an organization considered terrorist by global powers and the international community.

This organization’s goal is to exterminate Israel and establish a Palestinian state. For the first time in more than 10 years, in 2023, Hamas started launching rockets from Gaza and attacking Israelite settlements. Israel, from its side, has engaged in a full-scale war on Hamas and cut down electricity, water, telecommunication, and supplies from entering Gaza. All these events have caused a wave of violence across the world.

Everybody, ranging from the Chicago community to the international community, is expecting a stop to this type of hate crime worldwide. The alleged perpetrator of this crime is still awaiting his trial, which hopefully brings justice to Wadea’s sudden death.