A Palestinian American woman who lost her six-year-old son in what law enforcement authorities have categorized as a hate crime in a suburban area of Chicago has appealed to the public to seek solace in prayer while she heals from her own injuries.
In her first public remarks since the October 14 assault in the aftermath of the October 7 terrorist attack on Israel by the Palestinian organization Hamas, Hanaan Shahin released a written statement via the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a leading civil liberties organization devoted to promoting greater understanding of Islam and protecting the civil rights of American Muslims.
The statement marks Shahin’s first public comments since she endured the purported hate crime that resulted in her receiving more than a dozen stab wounds and stitches on her face.
Shahin expressed her gratitude to law enforcement, medical professionals and others. “Pray for peace,” she urged.
Authorities have stated that Shahin’s Chicago landlord targeted the family based on their Islamic faith, apparently in response to the intensifying conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Employed as a caregiver for the elderly, Shahin lost her son, Wadea Al-Fayoume, in the assault, heightening concerns about the increasing hostility directed toward Muslims and Palestinians in the U.S.
Just in the last week in Illinois, a man from a suburban area faced charges of a hate crime for attacking Muslims with pepper spray in the a pro-Israel rally, and an Islamic day school had to cancel classes in favor of remote learning after receiving what its principal described as a “threatening hate letter.”
Hospitalized while her son’s funeral took place, Shahin fondly recalled him as a bright and humorous child who had a deep concern for the environment and enjoyed participating in prayers alongside her.
“He was my best friend,” she said.