The mother of Wadea Al-Fayoume, the 6-year-old Palestinian-American boy who was fatally stabbed in Illinois in an alleged hate crime, issued her first statement since the tragedy, urging the public to “pray for peace” as the conflict in Israel widens.
Hanaan Shahin, 32, spoke briefly after she was released from the hospital, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
In a press release issued Tuesday, CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab shared that he met with Shahin prior to her release. When asked if she had anything to convey to the public he said she urged everyone: “Just… pray for peace”.
CAIR is the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization. Rehab noted that he met Shahin with the goal of assessing her health and needs in order to “connect her with the necessary resources, services, and legal assistance.”
“First, as far as her health, she is recuperating. Her injuries are healing. She is fully functional but tired,” Rehab said.
“She said that her doctors were stunned by the speed of her recovery despite the brutality of the attack and that she credits that to ‘God hearing the prayers of people out there.'”
Rehab noted that most of the time he spent in the hospital with Shahin was recounting stories of how smart and funny little Wadea was. Shahin referred to her son as her “best friend.”
“Despite the painful loss and the trauma she experienced that morning, her spirit is strong, and she is finding peace and answers in her faith in God,” Rehab said.
He continued: “She said that she accepts that God chose them for this test — and that she finds solace in ‘remembering Wadea as an angel on earth, and knowing that he is now an angel in heaven.'”
He also added that Shain said that “she harbors no hatred, but believes in the pursuit of justice.”
Both Shahin and her son were repeatedly stabbed with a serrated military-style knife in their suburban Chicago home on Oct. 14, allegedly by their landlord, Joseph Czuba, 71.
Wadea was stabbed 26 times, officials said.
According to the Will County Sheriff’s Office, the two were targeted by Czuba simply for being Muslim in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.
In a court filing, Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Fitzgerald alleged that Czuba was angry at the boy’s mother “for what was going on in Jerusalem.”
He has been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon along with two counts of committing a hate crime.
Shahin is expected to speak during a news conference on Wednesday, attorney Ben Crump said, according to ABC News.
“The pain endured by the Al-Fayoume family is immeasurable,” Crump said in a statement Tuesday. “No family should have to bear such a devastating loss, compounded by the burden of overwhelming medical bills. We must come together as a society not only to seek justice for Wadea but also to support this grieving family in their time of need.”