Uncle of slain Palestinian-American boy blames media bias, Biden amplification for brutal murder

Murder of Wadea al-Fayoume ‘should open our eyes,’ says Yousef Hannon

Michael Hernandez  | 18.10.2023 - Update : 18.10.2023
Uncle of slain Palestinian-American boy blames media bias, Biden amplification for brutal murder

- Murder of Wadea al-Fayoume ‘should open our eyes,’ says Yousef Hannon

- ‘None of this could happen … if we had an honest media,’ Hannon tells Anadolu

- President Biden’s condolence message ‘is not enough,’ says Hannon


Media bias and its amplification at the highest levels of the US government are to blame for the grisly stabbing of a 6-year-old Palestinian-American who was murdered in a suspected hate crime, according to the victim’s uncle.

The brutal murder of Wadea al-Fayoume and the stabbing of his mother on Oct. 14 “should open our own eyes, and everybody else’s, that something is wrong, something needs to be fixed,” Yousef Hannon, who has served as a spokesperson for the victims’ family, told Anadolu in a video interview.

“None of this could happen, and life in general, could be better if we had an honest media, and if we don’t have a negative propaganda from one side,” he said, blaming the “ugly crime” on what he said is the mainstream US media’s slanted portrayal of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

“Why are you taking that side or this side? And especially when these guys are lying,” said Hannon.

He pointed to claims initially made by Israeli sources earlier this month that Palestinian militants beheaded babies and raped women during a shocking land, sea and air attack on Oct. 7.

The unverified allegation of babies being beheaded during the attack was first made during a press tour organized by the Israeli military in which journalists were taken through the southern Israeli kibbutz of Kfar Aza, one of the locations targeted in the surprise attack.

During the tour one of the journalists spoke with Israeli soldiers, citing them as sources who said "Hamas beheaded babies here."

Israel has since said it has no information to corroborate the claims, but US President Joe Biden repeated them on the national stage during a televised White House event, saying he saw photos of the alleged horrors.

The White House subsequently walked back the comments, saying Biden had not independently viewed pictures that he said corroborated the claims.

Ugly face of society

Hannon said Biden’s comments were a major blow to the Palestinian community, and said the statement the president issued condemning the attack that claimed his nephew’s life is insufficient.

“Thank you, Mr. President, but this is not enough. What’s happening? Your words make big damage. That has to be changed,” he said.

“You should say, ‘Oh, I was mistaken. There were no children being beheaded. There were no women being raped. There was none of that.’”

Those claims, he said, have awakened “a kind of hatred” against Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims around the world, including in the suspect accused of his nephew’s murder.

“The man that killed Wadea, there will be crazy people like him, a lot of crazy people all over the world,” he said.

“This wakes the ugly faces in society. This awakens big hatred within. I really couldn’t even believe before that there are people who have no hearts like this, a man who sits over a 6-year-old boy with a knife, stabbing him 26 times, looking in his eyes.”

Hannon’s nephew was brutally murdered in suburban Chicago, Illinois on Saturday in an attack that critically injured his mother, Hanaan Shahin, 32. Shahin suffered over a dozen knife wounds, but is expected to recover.

Authorities have identified the suspect as the family’s landlord, Joseph Czuba, 71, and said he was motivated by anti-Muslim animus, and the ongoing war in Palestine and Israel.

Czuba has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, two counts of committing a hate crime, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. The Justice Department has separately opened a federal hate crime probe into the attack.

The attack should be a wake-up call to people around the world, said Hannon.

“This was all initiated by this false news, by our officials, you know, and this has to be stopped,” he said.

“I hope that this will be [an] awakening sign for the good people in our world, you know, and for our leaders, for our politicians, for the White House, to change that, to do something. I really hope that.”

“I really hope that this will take us all as a society, as humans, to a better place now, to start respecting each other, to see the human side, to see the beauty in everyone else around us. you know. And if anyone is a hater or something, he should be treated, he should be dealt with, you know individually,” Hannon added.

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