An 11-year-old girl was assaulted in Toronto Friday by a man who twice tried to cut off her hijab with scissors and then fled, local police said as attacks against Muslims are on the rise in Canada and other western countries due to a surge in conservative Islamophobic politics.
Authorities are investigating the incident, which occurred at about 9am at or around the east side of the Pauline Johnson school in Toronto, said police spokeswoman Katrina Arrogante. Once she realized what was happening she screamed and ran up to a group of friends.
"Sadly, someone insulted me by cutting my hijab two times,"Noman, who was not hurt in the incident, told reporters."I felt really scared and confused because I didn't feel comfortable that people are doing this".
When her attacker pulled her hood down, she said he cut her hijab from the bottom up.
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Police are asking for the public's help to identify the attacker described as Asian, of medium build, with a thin moustache and black prescription glasses. Terrified, she turned to face him - a young Asian male, roughly 5-foot-8 to six feet tall, wearing black trousers, a black hoodie and brown gloves.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in from London, Ontario, where he was meeting with his Cabinet. "Canada is an open and welcoming country, and incidents like this can not be tolerated", tweeted Trudeau on Friday.
"A student at Pauline Johnson Public School was assaulted by an unknown male while on her way to school this morning".
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This news has heightened pressure on Canadian governments to take further action against attacks on Muslims.
Their mother, Samia Samad, said she can not understand why someone would do something like this. "You should not act like this and especially (since) I'm a kid".
Noman reported the incident at her school, after which school officials immediately notified her family and the police, the Toronto District School Board said.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne called the attack a "cowardly act of hatred" that did not represent the province. And we'll be working closely with police to offer any assistance that we can. But the man came back just as Kahawlah was waiting for her brother who was stopped at a light across the street.
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He also assured listeners that the U.S. will continue to be a country of immigrants and that the ongoing review of visas, including the H-1B category, was only for "refinements".