Canada hate crime: Schoolgirl attacked with scissors over hijab

Canada hate crime: Schoolgirl attacked with scissors over hijab

News media across Canada are reporting the case of an 11-year-old girl who was on her way to school today when a man approached her with a pair of scissors and cut her hijab.

The girl said she's confused and scared following the incident. Smiling, he allegedly tried again to cut off her hijab, before fleeing.

"She was courageous enough to confront the man, make some noise. and then proceed to walk with a bunch of other kids realizing there's safety in numbers", said Const. Jenniferjit Sidhu.

Authorities are investigating the incident, which occurred at about 9 am in or around the Pauline Johnson school in Toronto's east side, police spokeswoman Katrina Arrogante told AFP.

"We don't know if this was a hate crime or not yet", said Const. David Hopkinson of the Toronto Police Service.

Toronto District School Board spokesperson Ryan Bird confirmed school staff contacted police and the girl's family once they heard what had happened.

"I can't imagine how afraid she must have been".

At an afternoon press conference, 11-year-old Khawlah said she was walking down the street with her brother when a man came up from behind, removed the hood of her winter coat, and cut into her hijab.

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She and her brother joined a group of other students also walking to school, for safety, but the siblings became separated from the group and from each other at an intersection crossing.

When asked what she would say to the suspect, Noman added: "What you're doing is way wrong".

Toronto Police describe the man as Asian, in his 20s, with a medium build, around 5-foot-10, with black hair and a moustache. "I like to think she knows that well, and the outpouring of support that I know she's getting".

"I don't know why he did that, it's just not Canada", Samad said. I'm so proud to be a Canadian and I feel safe in this community.

Meanwhile, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne called the incident "a cowardly act of hatred".

Mayor John Tory said he was "shocked and appalled" by the incident.

"No child should ever be afraid walking to school in Toronto because of what they are wearing or for any other reason", he said in a statement.

Police praised Noman for her action right after the assault. "Intolerance and hate of any kind, including Islamophobia, has no place in our city, our province or our country".

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