Schoolgirl declares that man with scissors cut her hijab

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A 12-year-old girl was assaulted in Toronto Friday by a man who twice tried to cut off her headscarf with scissors and then fled, police said.

Toronto District School Board spokesperson Ryan Bird told CBC Toronto that police and Khawlah's family was contacted immediately after the girl reported what had happened to school officials.

In the meantime, police are looking for information about a suspect who is described as a black-haired Asian male in his 20s who was sporting a moustache.

11 year old Kahawlah Noman was walking to school when a man dressed in black came up behind her, pulled off her hood and started cutting.

Police said the incident isn't now being treated as a hate crime, but investigators are not ruling out a possibility.

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"I felt really scared and confused", she told reporters Friday afternoon, recounting the traumatic incident in a Scarborough neighbourhood near Birchmount Rd. and Sheppard Ave. E. "He smiled and ran away", Khawlah Noman said. He has a medium build, is between five-foot-eight and six-feet tall. She screamed, crossed the street and followed the crowd to be safe. Her attacker ran away.

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. Zakariyya did not make the light in time to safely cross, and his sister waited for him to get across Birchmount.

Her brother told reporters that he was frightened, and anxious his sister would be hurt.

Fifth grader Mohammad said he saw a man with "scissors" and is "so glad that she's safe and I'm safe".

In early December 2016, a female Muslim Baruch College student claimed several men shouting "Donald Trump!" attempted to tear off her hijab on a New York City subway train; she later admitted to making it up.

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The incident was deeply upsetting for the children, and for their mother, Samia Samad. "I don't know why he did that, but it's just not Canada".

"I'm frustrated and I'm angry, but I do believe in peace in Canada". "And everyone has the right to feel safe and respected no matter what they are wearing or where they go".

More than two-thirds speak a language other than English at home.

The kids told the principal what happened when they arrived at school.

She added that she has been in Canada for 25 years and this is the first incident of its kind that she can remember.

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"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.

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