Fact Check: Is Czuba a Jewish name? Claim debunked as landlord stabs 6-year-old in Illinois hate crime

Joseph Czuba and Wadea Al-Fayoume (Image via Will County Sheriff’s office/Facebook)
Joseph Czuba and Wadea Al-Fayoume (Image via Will County Sheriff’s office/Facebook)

The current conflict between Hamas and Israel has seemingly spilled over to the United States, where on Saturday, October 14, 2023, an Illinois man, Joseph Czuba, was charged with murder and hate crime after allegedly stabbing two people, including a 6-year-old boy, because they were Muslim.

The attack carried out by the 71-year-old man identified as the victim's landlord killed a six-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume and left the woman with critical injuries. According to the Guardian, text messages sent by the mother to the boy's father during the attack revealed that shortly after she opened the door to her landlord, he stabbed her yelling, “You Muslims must die!”

While Czuba has reportedly not provided a statement to the police, they believe they have sufficient evidence to suggest this was a hate crime.

In the wake of the attack, social media accounts were teeming with accusations suggesting the assailant was of Jewish descent. This was despite media reports and authorities refraining from disclosing the information.

The netizen's belief stemmed from the assailant’s last name, Czuba, which they believe is rooted in Polish-Jew heritage. However, while the onomatology of the name Czuba can be traced back to Poland, it is widely found in people residing in Eastern Europe, prominently the West Slavic region.

The area is comprised of Polish Czechs, Kashubians, Slovaks, and Sorbs population who are predominantly Christian. There is no evidence to suggest Czuba is a designated Jewish name.

What we know about the attack carried out by Joseph Czuba

A landlord in Illinois, Joseph Czuba, was charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and two counts of committing a hate crime after fatally stabbing a child and critically injuring his mother because they were Muslims.

Detailing the incident, in a Facebook post, Will County Sheriff’s office said that on Saturday, authorities responded to an emergency call made by a 32-year-old woman who alleged her landlord stabbed her with a knife. The mother, who tried to fight off the attacker reportedly ran to the bathroom to call authorities and came out to find that her son had been stabbed.

Upon arrival, police reportedly found the woman and the boy with "multiple stab wounds to their chest, torso, and upper extremities". The child, who was stabbed 26 times, and his mother were rushed to the hospital, where the child died. The mother is reportedly recovering from her injuries.

Police, who found the 71-year-old suspect sitting on the ground near the home’s driveway, arrested him at the scene The Will County Sheriff’s office 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.”

Joseph Czuba had a friendly relationship with the victims before the attack

In a news conference on Sunday, Ahmed Rehab, CAIR executive director, condemned the attack by the 71-year-old man and revealed that the family had a pleasant relationship with the assailant before the incident.

Rehab said Czuba, who had built a treehouse for Wadea and bought him toys in the past, was outraged over the Israel-Hamas conflict. Illinois congressman Abdelnasser Rashid, who attended the CAIR news conference, said:

“We need to understand that the killing of this six-year-old boy was directly connected to what’s happening in Israel and Palestine. If we want to see these attacks stop and see any semblance of justice we have to call out not just this heinous crime, but call for a ceasefire and de-escalation and forge a path forward for peace in Israel and Palestine based on humanity and based on human rights.”

Hamas militants unprecedented surprise attack on Israel during the early hours of October 7 killed more than 1,400 people. In retaliation, Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has claimed more than 2,450 lives. So far, at least 27 Americans have been identified among the dead in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

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