Toronto police are hunting for a suspect after an 11-year-old Muslim girl was attacked Friday on her way to school by a male who tried twice to cut off her hijab with scissors.
Authorities are investigating the incident, which occurred at about 9am (2pm GMT) near the Pauline Johnson school in Toronto's east side, police spokeswoman Katrina Arrogante told AFP.
"The man has fled", Const. David Hopkinson said.
Police say he is Asian, 20 to 30 years old, about five-foot-seven to five-foot-eight with a thin build, black hair with straight bangs down to his eyebrows and a thin moustache.
He was last seen wearing glasses, a black hoodie and black trousers. Khawlah said she noticed the scissors the suspect was carrying had a blue handle.
"I can't imagine how afraid she must have been". "I don't know why he did that, but it's just not Canada".
Akin to a familiar theme before and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, an 11-year-old female Toronto grammar school student is claiming a man attempted to cut off her hijab while she was on her way to school this morning.
Khawlah Noman is a sixth grade student at the school. He says no child should be afraid while walking to school because of what they are wearing or for any other reason. The second attack happened after Khawlah, her brother and a group of children went to cross the light at Bay Mills Blvd.
"The girl was fearless 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", she said.
Her brother told reporters that he was frightened, and anxious his sister would be hurt. She screamed, crossed the street and followed the crowd to be safe. The blue hijab is now with police as evidence. The man then reportedly pulled off the hood of her jacket and started cutting the back of her hijab.
"What you're doing is very wrong, you should stop doing this". Police say the girl was not physically injured.
The girl said she's confused and scared following the incident. "In the meantime, we are offering supports to the impacted student and her family". "I feel safe in this community and it's just not right".
Samad said she grew up in Canada and has been here for 25 years, and has not seen this type of incident before.
"I'm frustrated and I'm angry, but I do believe in peace in Canada. I am so proud to be a Canadian, and I want to give him the same message", she said.
The school serves almost 300 kindergarten to grade six students "of diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds", according to the local school board.
"This does not represent who we are". "We must stand firm in our support of this young girl who was assaulted simply for wearing a hijab".
Toronto Mayor John Tory also expressed his shock with what he called an "act of hatred".
The Canadian statistical agency, Statistics Canada, found that there was an increase of reported hate crimes against Muslims in Canada from 2014 to 2015, from 99 incidents to 159, an increase of 60 percent.