From the Toronto Sun:
January 12, 2018
Khawlah Noman and her brother had only been walking for two minutes when she became aware a man was following them on their way to school Friday morning.
The 11-year-old — a Grade 6 student of Pauline Johnson Junior Public School in Scarborough — and her sibling, Mohammad, were walking along Birchmount Rd., north of Sheppard Ave., around 9 a.m. when the stranger swiped at her blue hijab with a pair of scissors and sliced a 30 cm tear in the headdress.
“I screamed,” Noman said. “The man just ran away. We followed this crowd of people to be safe. He came again. He continued cutting my hijab again. He was smiling.”
Toronto Police describe the man as Asian, in his 20s, with a medium build, around 5-foot-10, with black hair and a moustache. He was wearing glasses, a black hoodie and black pants.
The man fled the scene after the frightening incident. …
Noman’s mom, who also spoke to media at the school Friday afternoon, teared up as she recounted seeing her daughter’s damaged headscarf.
“I came to the school right away,” a visibly upset Saima Samad said. “I’m just so happy she’s safe…It’s just not Canada. I’m so proud to be a Canadian and I feel safe in this community. It’s just, it’s not right. He should get help. This is not who we are.”
Samad said the family has lived in Canada for the 25 years and she grew up here, but she will exercise more caution when her kids walk to school from now on. …
Mom has lived in Canada for a quarter of a century but covers her face in public.
Wearing a hijab, she said, is a sacred part of the Muslim religion.
“It is offensive, obviously,” she said. “We don’t know his intentions. I’m very frustrated and angry. But we believe in peace. I want to give him the message — ‘We’re all in this together and we should live in harmony.’ It’s a multicultural country.”
In response, the Prime Minister tweeted:
My heart goes out to Khawlah Noman following this morning’s cowardly attack on her in Toronto. Canada is an open and welcoming country, and incidents like this cannot be tolerated.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 12, 2018
But, surprise surprise, today in the Toronto National Post:
Toronto police say an 11-year-old girl’s report of having her hijab cut by a scissors-wielding man as she walked to school last week did not happen.
Police had been investigating the alleged incident as a hate crime and now say their investigation is concluded.
But now from the Toronto Globe & Mail:
The hijab story wasn’t true – but our compassion must not waver
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
UPDATED JANUARY 15, 2018
Amira Elghawaby is a writer and human-rights advocate based in Ottawa.