This post has been updated to include comments from the victim and her mother.
A man allegedly attacked an 11-year-old Toronto girl on her way to school Friday morning and cut off her hijab, according to police.
Khawlah Noman, a Grade 6 student at Pauline Johnson school, was walking to school with her brother when she was attacked twice in the span of 10 minutes.
“Sadly, someone insulted me by cutting my hijab two times,” Noman told reporters Friday afternoon. “I felt really scared and confused because I didn’t feel comfortable.”
Noman said the man, who was wielding scissors, ran away when she screamed. She said he didn’t say anything but he did smile at her. Her mother said the cut was about 30 centimetres in length.
Police are still looking for the suspect, described as an Asian man in his 20s with a medium build who had a moustache and was wearing glasses and a black hoodie. They are reportedly investigating the attack as a hate crime.
“This is terrible and I do not like it,” Noman said. She said if she could talk to her attacker, she would tell him that what he’s doing is wrong, especially because she’s a kid.
Noman’s mother Saima Samad told the media she wants this attack to be investigated as a hate crime.
“I got a call from the school, and I was just very sad,” she said through tears. “I’m just so happy she’s safe.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented on the attack, saying “I want her and her family and her friends and community to know that that is not what Canada is and that is not who Canadians are.” Conservative leader Andrew Scheer described it as “disgusting.”
Toronto District School Board spokesman Ryan Bird said in a statement that the school board is “shocked to learn of this assault.” Bird said the victim’s family was immediately contacted and the the school board is offering them support.