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Bidens speak with family of Palestinian-American boy killed in hate crime

President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden have spoken with the family of a Palestinian-American boy killed in a hate crime outside of Chicago this week, the White House said, amid rising anti-Muslim tensions due to U.S. support for Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.

Six-year-old Wadea Alfayoumi was stabbed to death Sunday when his landlord broke into his apartment and attacked him and his mother. 

Police said the attack was motivated by the landlord’s hate for Palestinians after the militant group Hamas killed over 1,300 Israelis in a surprise attack earlier this month, launching a war. 

“The President and First Lady expressed their deepest condolences to the Alfayoumi family as they mourn; their prayers that Wadea’s mother, Hannan Shahin, makes a full recovery; and their commitment to keep speaking out against anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, and anti-Muslim hate and violence,” the White House said in a statement Thursday.

Biden mentioned the attack in his Oval Office address to the nation Thursday evening, in which he reiterated U.S. support for Israel in the conflict as well as denounced both antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate.

“Today, Jewish families worried about being targeted in school, wearing symbols of their faith walking down the street or going out about their daily lives,” Biden said.

“And I know many of you in the Muslim-American community, the Arab-American community, the Palestinian-American community, and so many others, are outraged, saying to yourself, here we go again with Islamophobia and distrust we saw after 9/11,” he added.

Biden and the first lady called Alfayoumi’s father and uncle right after the address, the White House said.

“We must without equivocation denounce antisemitism. We must also without equivocation denounce Islamophobia,” Biden said. “And to all of you hurting… I want you to know I see you. You belong. And I want to say this to you. You’re all America.”

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