Washington, D.C. | October 16, 2023 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) sends its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Wadie Al Fayoume — a 6-year-old Palestinian, Muslim American who was stabbed to death in his Chicago area home on Sunday by the family’s landlord. This is the most egregious hate crime following the start of the Israeli bombardment of Gaza last week, and is a direct consequence of the dehumanization of Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims.
The level of hate rhetoric and hostility against the community has not been at this level since the aftermath of 9/11. ADC has received hundreds of complaints of hate incidents in this time period. ADC, along with our partners at the Council of Islamic Relations (CAIR), has been warning of the potential of violent hate crimes against our community. In fact just earlier this week the CAIR Chicago office issued a warning of hate crimes and violence in the city.
Elected and government officials have contributed to the anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic climate in the country. Government officials and media personalities continue to fill the airwaves with right-wing Zionist talking points that target all Arabs. Major news networks continue to feed misinformation to the public, demonizing our community and contributing to the atmosphere that led to the attack on an innocent family.
ADC National Executive Director Abed Ayoub said,
“The Administration, elected officials, and the media for the past week have ignored Palestinian voices, and sold the general public lie after lie to justify a genocide by Israel. Day after day we warned about the sharp increase in hate incidents and crimes. We warned that hate rhetoric will lead to hate deadly violence. The White House ignored our warnings, and failed to address the community directly. The death of this child did not need to happen.”
In response to the horrific murder, the President must call for and push for an immediate ceasefire to end the bombardment of Gaza, and denounce anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic hatred and bigotry. Protective measures need to be taken to protect Arab, Palestinian and Muslim community members, including schools and places of worship.
While deeply horrifying, in these trying times, it’s crucial to emphasize to our community, especially our youth, that although the world may seem daunting now, we will persevere by stepping up, speaking out, fighting back against hate, and taking action. It’s natural to feel fear in the face of such incidents, but know that together we can face these challenges, overcome them, and build a more inclusive and understanding future.
It’s time to stop the anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab rhetoric. This murder did not need to happen; sadly it may not be the last if the rhetoric does not change.