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14 January 2018, 12:32 | Myrtle Vega
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Const. Jenniferjit Sidhu says school staff told police the 11-year-old girl was walking to Pauline Johnson Junior Public School in Toronto's east end at about 8:30 a.m. when she noticed a man behind her with a pair of scissors cutting at the back of her hijab.
"I felt really scared and confused", Khawlah said, although she was not hurt in the incident.
Akin to a familiar theme before and after the 2016 United States 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. She felt someone behind her pull the hood of her winter jacket down and when she turned around and the man ran off. Khawlah and her brother chose to cross the road and walk with a bigger group of people.
Over the next 10 minutes, she said she was attacked not once, but twice, by a man who is now a suspect in a Toronto police hate crime investigation.
"He just smiled and ran away", she said.
Hate crimes targeting Muslims doubled between 2012 and 2014 across Canada, and in January previous year six Muslim men were killed in an attack on a Quebec City mosque.
He's described as a man in his 20s, Asian, medium build, about five-foot-eight-inches and six-foot, with black hair and a moustache.
Speaking at the podium, the girl's emotional mother told reporters she was "happy that she's safe", and said the community has been supportive of her daughter.
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Noman's mother Saima Samad also talked to reporters at the school. "We must stand firm in our support of this young girl who was assaulted simply for wearing a hijab". "I didn't feel comfortable that people are doing this".
"A day of action will express our recommitment to fight Islamaphobia, and become a rallying call", he said.
"Everyone in our province has the right to worship and dress however they choose", she said. "I want her and her family and her friends and community to know that that is not what Canada is".
"For something like this to happen to one of our kids here is piercing to my heart", said TDSB spokesperson Shari Schwartz-Maltz.
Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, tweeted his support for Kwalah on Friday.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said he was "shocked and appalled" by the incident. "It does not represent who we are (as Canadians)", Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said in a Twitter message.
I join with all Toronto residents in standing up to such an act of hatred.
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