I felt really scared:’ Toronto girl says man tried to cut off her hijab while she walked to school

An 11-year-old Toronto girl says a man approached her while she was walking to school on Friday morning and attempted twice to cut off her hijab with scissors.

“I felt really scared and confused,” said Khawiah Noman, a student at Pauline Johnson Junior Public School in Scarborough, Ont.

Khawiah said she felt the man behind her and turned around and saw him holding scissors. She says she screamed and he ran away, but returned a few minutes later.

“He continued cutting my hijab again” before smiling and running away, said Khawiah.

Toronto police were called to the school at about 9 a.m., and are now investigating.

“We don’t know if this was a hate crime or not yet,” said Const. David Hopkinson of the Toronto Police Service. “We don’t know what motivated the attack.”

Scared to walk to school


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Khawiah said she’s now “actually really scared” to walk to school. 


“What you’re doing is really wrong, you should not act like this, and especially, I’m a kid,” she said, addressing her attacker.

Police describe the man as Asian, in his 20s, with medium build, a moustache and glasses.

Toronto District School Board spokesperson Ryan Bird told CBC Toronto that police and the student’s family was  immediately contacted after Khawiah reported what happened to school officials.

“This is shocking to learn of this assault. And we’ll be working closely with police to offer any assistance that we can. In the meantime, we’re offering supports to the impacted student and her family,” said Bird.

According to the TDSB website, Pauline Johnson Junior Public School serves 290 students from junior kindergarten to Grade 6.

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