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14 January 2018, 12:33 | Damon Campbell
Khawlah Noman 11 says a man tried to cut off her hijab while she was walking to school in Toronto
Noman told reporters gathered at the school on Friday afternoon, that she felt "confused, scared and terrified" when seeing the man behind her and that she is now afraid to walk to class.
Local police told reporters that when the man tried to cut Noman's hijab the first time she had turned and confronted him, making loud noises to scare him off and then she ran away with her little brother. She says she screamed and he ran away, but returned a few minutes later. But the man came back just as Kahawlah was waiting for her brother who was stopped at a light across the street.
When they got to school, they discovered the bottom of Khawlah's hijab had been cut by about 30 centimetres.
An 11-year-old Muslim Canadian school girl has expressed horror after her hijab was repeatedly cut by a male assailant while she was walking to school with her younger brother.
Officers describe the suspect as an Asian man in his 20s with a medium build. She arrived at her school after the attack, and police were called.
Toronto District School Board spokesperson Ryan Bird told CBC Toronto that police and the student's family was immediately contacted after Khawlah reported what happened to school officials.
"I don't know why he did that, but it's just not Canada", Saima Samad said.
"Everyone in our province has the right to worship and dress however they choose", she said.
"I can't imagine how afraid she must have been", Trudeau said at a cabinet retreat in London, Ont.
Toronto police commended Khawlah for the way she had handled the incident.
At the time of the attack, he was wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt, black trousers, brown gloves, and had prescription glasses with black frames on his face, police said.
Police are investigating this as a hate crime, but the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General will need to approve any hate crime related charges associated with the assault.
Khawlah said she noticed the scissors the suspect was carrying had a blue handle.
"Having the police recognize this as a potential hate crime is a much greater act of deterrence, and a signal that Islamaphobia will not be tolerated", said Mohammed Hashim, a member of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations.
In January 2017, a gunman killed six people attending prayers at a mosque in the French-speaking Quebec City. Incidents like this, he said, make such days even more imperative.
Sidhu called the girl's actions "brave and smart".
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