Candlelight vigil for Plainfield boy killed in alleged hate crime for being Muslim

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OAK BROOK, Ill. (CBS) — Community members gathered on Sunday afternoon in the western suburbs to light a candle and reflect on the loss of Wadea Al Fayoume. The 6-year-old Plainfield boy was killed while his mother was left in critical condition in what authorities say was a hate crime.

As CBS 2’s Andrew Ramos reports, emotions are still running high a week after the attack.

Many people in Oak Brook and across the country are still coming to terms with Wadea’s horrific murder. While the tragedy continues to resonate, some good news is now on the horizon.

People came from several surrounding suburbs and even the city to gather in Oak Brook and light a candle in what has been a dark week.

Six-year-old Wadea was remembered at the vigil organized by concerned parents and community members still grappling with the murder of the Plainfield boy.

Police say that a week ago the boy and his mother Hanan Shaheen were attacked by their landlord, 71-year-old Joseph Czuba. They say Czuba attacked them simply because they were Muslims.

Czuba stabbed the boy to death and seriously injured his mother. He has been arrested and charged with a hate crime in the case.

“I have a 6-year-old boy,” said organizer Sakeena Mirza. “I don’t want something like that to happen to any 6-year-old.”

“It just hurts to see that people are suffering and to see that child there. It’s just not fair,” said Zareema Khader.

Wadea’s tragic story shocked the entire world amid the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

World leaders took note.

“A 6-year-old boy did nothing to anyone. I feel strongly about it across the board,” said State Secretary Antony Blnken.

In what has become a ray of hope in this tragic story, Shaheen, 32, was released from the hospital Thursday and placed in temporary housing.

There has been an ongoing community effort to raise funds for the family to help pay to rehouse their 32-year-old mother. So far she has raised more than $600,000.

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