‘I felt really scared:’ Toronto girl says man tried to cut off her hijab while she walked to school

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An 11-year-old Toronto girl says a man approached her while she was walking to school on Friday morning and attempted twice to cut off her hijab with scissors.

“I felt really scared and confused,” Khawlah Noman, a student at Pauline Johnson Junior Public School in Scarborough, Ont., said at a news conference Friday afternoon.

Khawlah said she felt the man behind her and turned around and saw him holding scissors. She says she screamed and he ran away, but returned a few minutes later.

11-year-old girl describes moment man allegedly cut off her hijab1:42

“He continued cutting my hijab again” before smiling and running away, said Khawlah.

Toronto police were called to the school at about 9 a.m., and are now investigating.

“We don’t know if this was a hate crime or not yet,” said Const. David Hopkinson of the Toronto Police Service. “We don’t know what motivated the attack.”

Police describe the man as Asian, in his 20s, with medium build, a moustache and glasses.

Scared to walk to school

Khawlah said she’s now “actually really scared” to walk to school.

“What you’re doing is really wrong, you should not act like this, and especially, I’m a kid,” she said, addressing her attacker.

Saima Samad

Noman’s mother, Saima Samad, was in tears as she described rushing to the school and hugging her daughter. (CBC )

Noman’s mother, Saima Samad, was by her side as she spoke to reporters.

“I’m just happy she’s safe,” said Samad, her voice breaking. “I don’t know why he did that, but it’s just not Canada.”

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.

“This is shocking to learn of this assault. And we’ll be working closely with police to offer any assistance that we can. In the meantime, we’re offering supports to the impacted student and her family,” said Bird.

Premier Wynne ‘deeply troubled’

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne released a statement on Friday condemning the attack.

“This is a cowardly act of hatred, and it has no place in Ontario,” she wrote.

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‘I felt really scared:’ Toronto girl says man tried to cut off her hijab while she walked to school

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