Dehumanization Through Propaganda Breeds Hate Crimes
October 15, 2023 - Americans for Justice in Palestine Action (AJP Action) and American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) condemn the heinous Hate Crime against 6 year old Palestinian American Wadea Al-Fayoume and his mother from Plainfield, IL. We urge President Joseph Biden to promptly convene a meeting with the family of Wadea Al-Fayoume to condemn anti-Palestinian bigotry unreservedly, and to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
While President Biden released a statement rejecting Islamophobia and condemning the murder of the young boy, he must take accountability for amplifying deadly, one-sided propaganda and walk back his prior statements regarding the situation in Gaza. Uplifting Israeli propaganda and standing idle as Israel commits war crimes against Palestinians will only further enable anti-Palestinian hate crimes within the U.S.
The mother, Hannan Shahin, and her son, Wadea Al-Fayoume, lived on the ground floor of a house for two years with no previous notable issues or incidents with the landlord, reported as 71-year-old Joseph M. Czuba. It was determined that Wadea and his mother were “targeted by the suspect due to them being Muslim.” According to written text messages sent by the mother to the boy's father while in the hospital, the landlord tried to choke the mother and subsequently attacked her with a knife, yelling, “You Muslims must die!” When she ran to the bathroom to call 911, she found her son stabbed 26 times and ultimately succumbing to his wounds.
The crime committed against the Al-Fayoume family in Plainfield, Illinois, serves as an acute illustration of escalating Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian racism. These destructive sentiments have been exacerbated by remarks emanating from many politicians, including President Biden, concerning the volatile situation in Gaza. Mainstream media propagated flat-out lies, and Israeli officials framed the Palestinians in Gaza as “human animals,” thereby contributing to the otherization and dehumanization of Palestinians. Such propaganda fueled Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian bigotry in the United States, creating the atmosphere that led to this Hate Crime. This heinous act is not an isolated incident; rather, it represents a grim consequence of propaganda, animus, and prejudice permeating our society.
The gravity of public discourse cannot be overstated. Remarks by public figures, whether factual or misleading, play a pivotal role in shaping societal norms that either advance harmony or instigate discord. The outcome of such rhetoric is manifest: a young life has been tragically truncated, a family irrevocably shattered, and a community left grieving for hundreds of dead children in Gaza and now at home.
In light of the preceding, we issue an urgent plea to President Biden to:
- Arrange an immediate and personal meeting with the aggrieved family to extend emotional and moral support during this devastating period.
- Publicly and categorically denounce anti-Palestinian racism, propaganda, and dehumanizing language.
- Direct law enforcement agencies to enhance protective measures for Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim-American communities, including safeguarding educational institutions and places of worship.
- Exercise his diplomatic leverage to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
We call on the U.S. media to be responsible in its coverage, acknowledge Palestinian suffering, and stop inciting violence and hatred against the Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim communities.
We assert that the actions mentioned above represent a minimal commitment toward honoring the memory of young Wadea and mitigating the likelihood of future tragedies and Hate Crimes. Addressing the root causes, rather than mere symptoms, of this burgeoning tide of hatred is paramount.
The voice and actions of President Biden are indispensable at this critical moment.
The AMP and AJP Action teams offer our utmost and heartfelt condolences to the Al-Fayoume family.
Please find the details below if you want to attend Wadea’s funeral services:
- Date & Time: Monday, October,16th, 2023 at 1:00 PM
- Location: The Mosque Foundation - 7360 W 93rd St, Bridgeview, IL
Burial: Parkholm Cemetery - 2501 N La Grange Rd, La Grange Park, IL, 60526
- Date: Monday, October,16th, 2023
- Location: Harlem Center - 9340 S. Harlem Ave, Bridgeview, IL, 60455
American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)
Americans for Justice in Palestine Action (AJP Action)