Toronto girl ‘really scared’ after man cuts her hijab on street

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TORONTO, ON- JANUARY 12 – Khawlah Noman’s hugs her mother, Saina Samad, after talking to media. Khawlah’s hijab was cut off of her by an adult man while on her way to school Friday in Toronto. January 12, 2018. Toronto Police say they are seeking a suspect after an assault against a child this morning, where a man approached a girl and cut her hijab from her head with a pair of scissors. The incident happened Friday morning near Pauline Johnson Junior Public School in Scarborough, police confirmed. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

(CNN) — Khawlah Noman was walking to her Toronto school when a man suddenly appeared behind her and cut her hijab, police said.

“I felt really scared and confused,” the 11-year-old girl said at a news conference Friday.

The man approached the child from behind Friday morning as she made her way to school with her younger brother. He pulled the hood off the girl’s jacket and cut her hijab with a pair of scissors, police said.

Khawlah screamed and the man ran away, but he returned a few minutes later to assault her again, she said.

Authorities are investigating the incident as a hate crime. It happened in a Toronto neighborhood known for its diversity.

“My heart goes out to Khawlah Noman following this morning’s cowardly attack on her in Toronto,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday on Twitter. “Canada is an open and welcoming country, and incidents like this cannot be tolerated.”

Police described the suspect as 5 feet 7 inches with a thin build who was between the ages of 20 to 30. He was wearing black prescription glasses, a black hooded sweater, black pants and brown gloves, police said.

School officials notified police and Khawlah’s family immediately after the girl reported the incident to them, according to the Toronto District School Board.

“This is shocking to learn of this assault. And we’ll be working closely with police to offer any assistance that we can,” Ryan Bird, a school board spokesman, told CNN partner CBC. “In the meantime, we’re offering support to the impacted student and her family.”

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