She felt someone behind her pull the hood of her winter jacket down and when she turned around and the man ran off. Khawlah and her brother made a decision to cross the road and walk with a bigger group of people.
Toronto police lauded Khawlah's quick thinking and response to the attack, with Const. Jenifferjit Sidhu saying she was "very, very smart" for shouting and joining the group of students ahead of her. Sidhu said this is "an isolated incident", such that she has never seen in her 20 years of service.
A Toronto police spokeswoman announced on Friday that the assailant had used scissors to cut six-grader Khawlah Noman's hijab in two attempts within 10 minutes while she was walking to school with her brother earlier in the day. She told police the man struck again when she and her brother were held back from the group at a stoplight.
A short time later, he returned to assault her again and ended up cutting 11 inches (30 centimeters) from her hijab, she said.
Sidhu says the girl turned around and screamed, which startled the man before he ran off.
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Toronto Police spokesperson Katrina Arrogante told The Canadian Press that officers aren't treating the incident as a hate crime, but are not ruling it out. 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, ' he wrote. "Canada is an open and welcoming country, and incidents like this can not be tolerated", tweeted Trudeau on Friday. The suspect is described as an Asian man with a moustache and glasses who is around 20 years old, wearing a black hoodie and black trousers. He was also described as wearing a black hooded sweater with the hood up, black trousers and brown gloves.
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.
"I can't imagine how afraid she must have been", said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in an unprompted statement of support for Khawlah at a news conference in London, Ont. "I want her and her family and her friends and community to know that that is not what Canada is". "It does not represent who we are (as Canadians)", Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said in a Twitter message.
Their mother, Samia Samad, said she can not understand why someone would do something like this.