US landlord killed Muslim boy and wounded woman in hate crime motivated by Israeli-Hamas war, police say

US landlord killed Muslim boy and wounded woman in hate crime motivated by Israeli-Hamas war, police say
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Wadea Al-Fayoume, a 6-year-old Muslim boy who was stabbed to death in an attack that targeted him and his mother for their religion and as a response to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, poses in an undated family photograph. (CAIR/Handout via REUTERS)
US landlord killed Muslim boy and wounded woman in hate crime motivated by Israeli-Hamas war, police say
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Oday Al-Fayoume, father of six-year-old hate crime victim Wadea Al-Fayoume, attends a news conference at the Muslim Community Center on Chicago's Northwest Side on Oct. 15, 2023. (Jim Vondruska/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
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Updated 16 October 2023
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US landlord killed Muslim boy and wounded woman in hate crime motivated by Israeli-Hamas war, police say

US landlord killed Muslim boy and wounded woman in hate crime motivated by Israeli-Hamas war, police say
  • Joseph Czuba of suburban Chicago has now been charged with a hate crime for the murder of Wadea Al-Fayoume and attack on his mother Hanaan Shahin
  • CAIR called the crime “our worst nightmare,” and part of a disturbing spike in hate calls and emails since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war

CHICAGO: A 71-year-old Illinois man accused of fatally stabbing a 6-year-old boy and seriously wounding a 32-year-old woman was charged with a hate crime Sunday. Police allege he singled out the victims because of their Islamic faith and as a response to the war between Israel and Hamas.

In recent days, police in US cities and federal authorities have been on high alert for violence driven by antisemitic or Islamophobic sentiments. FBI officials, along with Jewish and Muslim groups, have reported an increase of hateful and threatening rhetoric.
In the Chicago-area case, officers found the woman and boy late Saturday morning at a home in an unincorporated area of Plainfield Township, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) southwest of Chicago, the Will County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on social media.
The boy was pronounced dead at a hospital. The woman had multiple stab wounds and was expected to survive, according to the statement. An autopsy on the child showed he had been stabbed dozens of times.
“Detectives were able to determine that both victims in this brutal attack were targeted by the suspect due to them being Muslim and the on-going Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and the Israelis,” the sheriff’s statement said.




Joseph M. Czuba of Plainfield, Illinois, was charged by the Illinois police with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and two counts of hate crimes for killing six-year-old American Palestinian boy Wadea Al-Fayoume and for wounding the boy's mother. (Social media photo)

According to the Will County sheriff’s office, the woman had called 911 to report that her landlord had attacked her with a knife, adding she then ran into a bathroom and continued to fight him off.
The man suspected in the attack was found Saturday outside the home and “sitting upright outside on the ground near the driveway of the residence” with a cut on his forehead, authorities said.
Joseph M. Czuba of Plainfield was charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, two counts of hate crimes and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, according to the sheriff’s office. He was in custody Sunday and awaiting a court appearance.
Attempts to reach Czuba or a family member were unsuccessful Sunday. His home phone number was unlisted. Messages left for possible relatives in online records and on social media were not immediately returned. The sheriff’s office and county public defender’s office did not immediately return messages about Czuba’s legal representation.
Authorities did not release the names of the two victims.
But the boy’s paternal uncle, Yousef Hannon, spoke at a news conference Sunday hosted by the Chicago chapter Council on American-Islamic Relations. There the boy was identified as Wadea Al-Fayoume, a Palestinian-American boy who had recently turned 6. The organization identified the other victim as the boy’s mother.
“We are not animals, we are humans. We want people to see us as humans, to feel us as humans, to deal with us as humans, because this is what we are,” said Hannon, a Palestinian-American who emigrated to the US in 1999 to work, including as a public school teacher.
The Muslim civil liberties organization called the crime “our worst nightmare,” and part of a disturbing spike in hate calls and emails since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war. The group cited text messages exchanged among family members that showed the attacker had made disparaging remarks about Muslims.
“Palestinians basically, again, with their hearts broken over what’s happening to their people,” said Ahmed Rehab, the group’s executive director, “have to also worry about the immediate safety of life and limb living here in this most free of democracies in the world.”

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In response to the increased threats, the Illinois State Police are communicating with federal law-enforcement and reaching out to Muslim communities and religious leaders to offer support, according to a Sunday press release from Illinois Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker.
“To take a six-year-old child’s life in the name of bigotry is nothing short of evil,” said Pritzker. “Wadea should be heading to school in the morning. Instead, his parents will wake up without their son. This wasn’t just a murder— it was a hate crime. And every single Illinoisan — including our Muslim, Jewish, and Palestinian neighbors — deserves to live free from the threat of such evil.”
FBI Director Chris Wray said on a call with reporters Sunday that the FBI is also moving quickly to mitigate the threats.
A senior FBI official who spoke on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the Bureau said the majority of the threats that the FBI has responded to were not judged to be credible, adding that the FBI takes them all seriously nonetheless.
The official also said that agents have been encouraged to be “aggressive” and proactive in communicating over the last week with faith-based leaders. The official said the purpose is not to make anyone feel targeted but rather to ask clerics and others to report to law enforcement anything that seems suspicious.


Pope calls anti-migrant attitudes at US border ‘madness’

Pope calls anti-migrant attitudes at US border ‘madness’
Updated 16 sec ago
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Pope calls anti-migrant attitudes at US border ‘madness’

Pope calls anti-migrant attitudes at US border ‘madness’
  • Record numbers of migrants fleeing poverty and violence have been seeking to enter the US, largely from Central America and Venezuela
  • The matter has emerged as a top political issue in the November US election, with Biden and challenger Trum, pushing the topic front and center

WASHINGTON: Pope Francis made a foray into the US election season with a rare television interview Sunday, calling harsh anti-migrant attitudes “madness” and criticizing right-wing US Catholic figures for overly conservative stances against his social teachings.

Speaking in his native Spanish through a translator for more than an hour, Francis told CBS News program “60 Minutes” that the closing by the state of Texas of a Catholic charity offering humanitarian assistance was absurd.
“That is madness. Sheer madness. To close the border and leave them there, that is madness. The migrant has to be received,” the pope said.
“Thereafter you see how you are going to deal with him. Maybe you have to send him back, I don’t know, but each case ought to be considered humanely,” Francis said.
Record numbers of migrants have been seeking to enter the United States, largely from Central America and Venezuela, as they flee poverty, violence and disasters exacerbated by climate change.
The matter has emerged as a top political issue in the November US election, with President Joe Biden’s Republican challenger, former president Donald Trump, pushing the topic front and center.
“The globalization of indifference” on migrants, Francis said, “is a very ugly disease.”

Francis, 87, also addressed criticisms by conservative US bishops who oppose his efforts to revisit certain teachings and traditions.
A “conservative is one who clings to something and does not want to see beyond that,” he said when asked about the bishops, adding “it is a suicidal attitude.”
Since his election in 2013, Pope Francis has insisted on the importance of a church open to all, including member of the LGBT community, but he has faced strong resistance from conservative Catholics.
There was a particularly strong reaction when Francis opened the door to the blessing of gay couples last year, especially in African countries.
Calling gay people “a human fact,” Francis said in the interview: “To bless each person, why not? The blessing is for all.”
The pontiff also touched on the controversial topic of sex abuse within the Catholic Church.
He has made combatting sexual assault in the Church one of the main missions of his papacy, and insisted on a “zero tolerance” policy following multiple wide-reaching scandals.
“Unfortunately, the tragedy of the abuses is enormous,” he told CBS, adding that abuse “cannot be tolerated.”
“When there is a case of a religious man or woman who abuses, the full force of the law falls upon them,” Francis said.
But, he added, “there has been a great deal of progress.”


Biden tells Morehouse graduates that scenes in Gaza from the Israel-Hamas war break his heart, too

Biden tells Morehouse graduates that scenes in Gaza from the Israel-Hamas war break his heart, too
Updated 20 May 2024
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Biden tells Morehouse graduates that scenes in Gaza from the Israel-Hamas war break his heart, too

Biden tells Morehouse graduates that scenes in Gaza from the Israel-Hamas war break his heart, too
  • “Your voices should be heard, and I promise you I hear them,” Biden said as protesters called for end to war in Gaza and liberation of Palestinians
  • Biden also condemned Donald Trump’s rhetoric on immigrants as he stepped up effort to reach out to Black constituents

ATLANTA: President Joe Biden on Sunday offered his most direct recognition of US students’ anguish over the Israel-Hamas war, telling graduates of historically Black Morehouse College that he heard their voices of protest and that scenes from the conflict in Gaza break his heart, too.

“I support peaceful nonviolent protest,” he told students at the all-male college, some of whom wore Palestinian scarves known as keffiyehs around their shoulders on top of their black graduation gowns. “Your voices should be heard, and I promise you I hear them.”

Biden said there’s a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, “that’s why I’ve called for an immediate ceasefire to stop the fighting” and bring home hostages still being held by Hamas after its militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7. The president’s comments came near the end of a commencement address in which he also reflected on American democracy and his role in safeguarding it.
“It’s one of the hardest, most complicated problems in the world,” Biden said. “There’s nothing easy about it. I know it angers and frustrates many of you, including my family. But most of all I know it breaks your heart. It breaks mine as well.”
To date, Biden had limited his public comments around the protests on US college campuses to upholding the right to peaceful protest.
The speech — and a separate one he gave later Sunday in Detroit — are part of a burst of outreach to Black constituents by the Democratic president, whose support among these voters has softened since their strong backing helped put him in the Oval Office.
Biden spent much of the approximately 30-minute speech focused on the problems at home. He condemned Donald Trump’s rhetoric on immigrants and noted that the class of 2024 entered college during the COVID-19 pandemic and following the murder of George Floyd, a Black man killed by a Minneapolis police officer. Biden said it was natural for them, and others, to wonder whether the democracy “you hear about actually works for you.”
“If Black men are being killed in the street. What is democracy?” he asked. “The trail of broken promises that still leave Black communities behind. What is democracy? If you have to be 10 times better than anyone else to get a fair shot.”
Anti-war protests have roiled America’s college campuses. Columbia University canceled its main commencement ceremony. At Morehouse, the announcement that Biden would be the commencement speaker drew some backlash among the faculty and those who oppose the president’s handling of the war. Some Morehouse alumni circulated an online letter condemning administrators for inviting Biden and solicited signatures to pressure Morehouse President David Thomas to rescind it.
The letter claimed that Biden’s approach to Israel amounted to support of genocide in Gaza and was out of step with the pacifism expressed by Martin Luther King Jr., Morehouse’s most famous graduate.
The Hamas attack on southern Israel killed 1,200 people. Israel’s offensive has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians in Gaza, according to health officials in the territory.
In the end, there were no disruptions of Morehouse’s commencement while applause for Biden mostly was subdued. At least seven graduates and one faculty member sat with their backs turned during Biden’s address, and another student draped himself in a Palestinian flag. Protesters near the ceremony carried signs that said “Free Palestine,” “Save the Children” and ”Ceasefire Now” as police on bikes kept watch.
On stage behind the president as he spoke, academics unfurled a Congolese flag. The African country has been mired in a civil war, and many racial justice advocates have called for greater attention to the conflict as well as American help in ending the violence.
During his speech, valedictorian DeAngelo Jeremiah Fletcher, of Chicago, said it was his duty to speak on the war in Gaza and recognize that both Palestinians and Israelis have suffered. He called for an “immediate and permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.”
Graduate Kingsley John said, “the temperature on campus was expected given we had the president of the United States come and speak.” John said he stood “in solidarity” with his classmates and that Biden “seemed to be reflective and open to hear the feedback.”
Morehouse awarded Biden an honorary doctor of laws degree. After accepting the honor, he joked that, “I’m not going home” as chants of “four more years” broke out in the audience. Biden then flew to Detroit to address thousands attending the local NAACP chapter’s annual Freedom Fund dinner.
Georgia and Michigan are among a handful of states that will help decide November’s expected rematch between Biden and Trump. Biden narrowly won Georgia and Michigan in 2020 and he needs strong Black voter turnout in Atlanta and Detroit if he hopes to repeat in November.
Biden spent part of the past week reaching out to Black constituents. He highlighted key moments in the Civil Rights Movement, from the 70th anniversary of the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision in the case of Brown v. Board of Education that outlawed racial segregation in public schools to the Little Rock Nine, who helped integrate a public school in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. He also met with members of the “Divine Nine” Black fraternities and sororities.
At the NAACP dinner, Biden told a largely Black crowd that numbered into the thousands that Trump wants to pardon those who were convicted of crimes during the insurrection at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and calls them “patriots.” He suggested that Trump would not have been so kind had they been people of color.
“Let me ask you, what do you think he would’ve done on Jan. 6 if Black Americans had stormed the Capitol?” Biden asked. “What do you think? I can only imagine.”
The speech gave Biden a chance to reach thousands of people in Wayne County, which historically has voted overwhelmingly Democratic but has shown signs of resistance to his reelection bid.
The county also holds one of the largest Arab American populations in the nation, predominantly in the city of Dearborn. Leaders there were at the forefront of an “uncommitted” effort that received over 100,000 votes in the state’s Democratic primary and spread across the country.
A protest rally and march against Biden’s visit took place in Dearborn in the afternoon.
In Detroit, guests at the NAACP dinner were met by over 200 pro-Palestinian protesters outside the entrance to the convention center. They waved Palestinian flags, held signs calling for a ceasefire and chanted “free, free Palestine.”
“Until Joe Biden listens to his key constituents, he’s risking handing the presidency to Donald Trump,” said Lexi Zeidan, a protest leader who help spearhead a protest effort that resulted in over 100,000 people voting “uncommitted” in February’s Democratic primary.
 


UK and Finland to deepen ties in face of ‘Russian aggression’: London

UK and Finland to deepen ties in face of ‘Russian aggression’: London
Updated 20 May 2024
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UK and Finland to deepen ties in face of ‘Russian aggression’: London

UK and Finland to deepen ties in face of ‘Russian aggression’: London

LONDON: Britain and Finland will sign a new strategic partnership on Monday to strengthen ties and counter the “threat of Russian aggression,” the UK foreign minister said.
The two countries will declare Russia as “the most significant and direct threat to European peace and stability,” according to a Foreign Office press release.
The agreement will be endorsed by Britain's Foreign Secretary David Cameron and his Finnish counterpart Elina Valtonen in London.
“As we stand together to support Ukraine, including through providing military aid and training, we are clear that the threat of Russian aggression, following the war it started, will not be tolerated,” said Cameron.
“This strategic partnership, built on our shared values, will see the UK and Finland step up cooperation to bolster European security as well as seize new opportunities, from science and technology to closer energy ties,” he added.

The countries will work together to counter Russian disinformation, malicious cyber activities and support Ukraine’s recovery, reconstruction, and modernization, according to the Foreign Office.
Since Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Finland has joined the NATO military alliance and shut off much of its border with Russia. Britain is a major military supporter of Ukraine.
 


Spain recalls ambassador after Argentina’s Milei calls PM’s wife ‘corrupt’

Argentina's President Javier Milei. (AFP file photo)
Argentina's President Javier Milei. (AFP file photo)
Updated 20 May 2024
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Spain recalls ambassador after Argentina’s Milei calls PM’s wife ‘corrupt’

Argentina's President Javier Milei. (AFP file photo)
  • Spain’s main opposition party, the conservative People’s Party (PP), refused to support Madrid’s stance, with party sources saying that Sanchez should have provided explanations about the alleged corruption case weeks ago

MADRID: Spain recalled its ambassador to Buenos Aires for consultations on Sunday after Argentina’s President Javier Milei made derogatory comments about Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s wife during a far-right rally in Madrid.
Milei had called Sanchez’s wife Begona Gomez “corrupt” during a rally in Madrid organized by the far-right Vox party and attended by many of its international allies.
Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said he expected an apology from Milei.
Other ministers also condemned Milei’s speech, in which he described socialism as “cursed and carcinogenic.” Sanchez leads Spain’s Socialist Party.
“With his behavior, Milei has brought the relationship between Spain and Argentina to its most serious state in recent history,” Albares said in a video statement.
Milei would not apologize, his spokesperson said in an interview with an Argentine TV channel later Sunday. Spanish officials should retract insults they have made against him, he added.
Milei’s visit broke with diplomatic protocol as he refused to meet Spain’s King Felipe and Sanchez, instead preferring to promote his book alongside Vox leader Santiago Abascal at the party rally.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said in a post on social messaging app X that “attacks against family members of political leaders have no place in our culture.”
Spain’s main opposition party, the conservative People’s Party (PP), refused to support Madrid’s stance, with party sources saying that Sanchez should have provided explanations about the alleged corruption case weeks ago.
“His silence generates internal doubts, but also distrust abroad,” a PP source said, adding that the party’s job was to oppose the Spanish government and not Milei.
A city court said in April it was looking into accusations of influence peddling and business corruption against Sanchez’s wife, brought in a private complaint by Manos Limpias, or Clean Hands, an anti-corruption activist group.
However, Madrid’s prosecuting authority later said it was appealing to have the case thrown out for lack of evidence.
Sanchez decided to stay in office after five days of weighing his future once the probe against his wife was announced.

 


DR Congo military says it thwarted ‘coup attempt’, arresting 40 attackers and killing leader

DR Congo military says it thwarted ‘coup attempt’, arresting 40 attackers and killing leader
Updated 20 May 2024
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DR Congo military says it thwarted ‘coup attempt’, arresting 40 attackers and killing leader

DR Congo military says it thwarted ‘coup attempt’, arresting 40 attackers and killing leader
  • Army spokesman said some of the arrested attackers were foreigners and four — including their leader — were killed
  • The coup plotters reportedly carried flags of Zaire, the DRC's name under dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, who was overthrown in 1997

KINSHASA: The DR Congo military on Sunday said it had thwarted an “attempted coup” near the offices of President Felix Tshisekedi in Kinshasa involving “foreigners and Congolese.”

It happened in the early hours of the morning outside the residence of Economy Minister Vital Kamerhe, in the Gombe area in the north of the capital, near the Palais de la Nation that houses the president’s offices, a spokesman said.
“An attempted coup d’etat has been stopped by the defense and security forces,” said General Sylvain Ekenge in a message broadcast on national television.
Shots were also heard near the Palais de la Nation at the time of the coup attempt, according to a number of sources.
Later on Sunday, army spokesman General Sylvain Ekenge said several Americans and a British man were part of the group involved in the operation.
The coup bid was led by Christian Malanga, a Congolese man who was a “naturalized American” and had been “definitively neutralized” — killed — by the security forces, Ekenge said in a broadcast on Sunday evening.
The group was made up of “several nationalities,” Ekenge said, adding that around 40 of the attackers had been arrested, and four — including Malanga — killed.
“We also have a naturalized British subject, the number two of the group,” the spokesman added. Malanga’s son, Marcel Malanga, was also among the attackers, he said.

Links to deposed dictator

Kamerhe and his family were not harmed in the attack but two police officers looking after them were killed, said a source close to the minister.
The group had planned to attack the home of the new Prime Minister Judith Suminwa, and the residence of Defense Minister Jean-Pierre Bemba.
But they “could not identify the home” of Suminwa and had not been able to find Bemba at his residence.
After the attack at Kamerhe’s home, the group then went to the Palais de la Nation, brandishing flags of Zaire, the name of the Democratic Republic of Congo under the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, who was overthrown in 1997.
“I am shocked by the events this morning and very worried by the reports of American citizens allegedly being involved,” Lucy Tamlyn, the US ambassador to the DRC, posted on X, formerly Twitter.
“Rest assured that we are cooperating with authorities in DRC to the fullest extent possible, as they investigate these criminal acts and hold accountable any American citizen involved.”
France’s ambassador had reported automatic weapon fire in the area, urging nationals to avoid it.

During the day, certain streets near the Palais de la Nation remained closed to traffic, but the situation appeared calm, AFP journalists reported.
“I’m a little afraid to move around like that in Gombe, there aren’t many people... But I have to sell my goods,” bread-seller Jean-Mbuta said.

Videos on social media showed men in fatigues at the Palais de la Nation, brandishing flags of Zaire.

The Zaire flag was mostly green while the DRC one is largely blue.
“The time has arrived, long live Zaire, long live the children of Mobutu,” a man who appeared to be the head of the group said in Lingala, a language spoken in parts of the DRC.
“Felix has fallen... we are victorious,” he added.
AFP was also unable to verify the videos.
Tshisekedi was re-elected at the end of December when he received more than 70 percent of votes in the first round.
The parties backing him won around 90 percent of seats in the parliamentary elections held the same day.
But he is yet to form a government some five months after the elections.
Kamerhe on April 23 was named as a candidate for president of the National Assembly, the DRC’s main legislative body.