Canada: Toronto Muslim schoolgirl attacked, hijab cut with scissors

14 January, 2018, 12:51 | Author: Laverne Higgins
  • Khawlah Noman 11 hugs her mother Saina Samad after talking to reporters Friday in Toronto

At just 11 years old Khawlah Noman was so poised, calm and fearless. "I want her and her family and her friends and community that that is not what Canada is and that is not who Canadians are".

"I don't know why he did that", Samia Samad, the girl's mother said.

'I felt really scared and confused.

They were walking northbound on Birchmount Ave. toward Pauline Johnson Junior Public School - north of Sheppard Ave. E.

Khawlah and her 10-year-old brother, Mohammed, ran away from the man to join a group of children so they would not be alone with him, but became separated at the traffic lights. We followed this crowd of people to be safe. The girl was approached from behind two times according to PC Jenniferjit Sidhu during a ten-minute interval.

The girl was not hurt, but her hijab had a 12-inch cut. "He smiled and ran away". "I am a kid".

"I feel this is bad and I do not like it".

Added Khawlah: "We both walked to school together and we both told my principal".

Toronto police say it's too early to determine if the motivation behind the alleged attack is a hate crime but that officers are canvassing the neighbourhood for footage from surveillance cameras and people who may have witnessed the confrontation.

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Police describe the suspect as "Asian, 20 to 30 years old, 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-8, thin build, black hair with straight bangs to the eyebrows, thin moustache, black prescription glasses". He was also described as wearing a black hooded sweater with the hood up, black trousers and brown gloves.

Police are hoping to track down security and dash cam cameras or hear from witnesses.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne called the attack "a cowardly act of hatred" that has no place in Ontario.

"For those of us who wear a head scarf, it's like we have a target on us", said Amira Elghawaby, a human rights advocate based in Ottawa. "We must stand firm in our support of this young girl who was assaulted simply for wearing a hijab", he wrote in a tweet.

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

"My heart goes out to the young girl who was attacked, seemingly for her religion".

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

Police say the girl was not physically injured.

In her work with the NCCM, she encountered many people who described the reporting process as uncomfortable and disappointing, leaving victims to wonder whether it is worth the personal cost to do so. "Young kids coming to school shouldn't have to face this".

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