Canadian police say hijab-cutting incident did not happen

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Khawlah Noman, 11, speaks to reporters with her mother at Pauline Johnson Junior Public School, after she told police that a man cut her hijab with scissors in Toronto, Ontario, Canada January 12, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Helgren
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Khawlah Noman, 11, speaks to reporters at Pauline Johnson Junior Public School, after she told police that a man cut her hijab with scissors in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on January 12, 2018. (REUTERS/Chris Helgren)
Updated 15 January 2018

Canadian police say hijab-cutting incident did not happen

TORONTO: Toronto police are disputing an 11-year-old girl’s claim that her hijab was cut by a scissors-wielding man as she walked to school last week.
Toronto Police spokesman Mark Pugash said Monday an extensive investigation was conducted and police concluded it did not happen.
The sixth-grader, her mother and her younger brother held a news conference at her school on Friday and Khawlah Noman said she was walking to school with her younger brother when a man came up behind her, pulled off her jacket hood and started cutting the bottom of her hijab. She said she turned around, screamed and the man ran away. She also said the man returned a short time later and continued to cut her hijab from behind before he smiled and ran away.
Her mother called on police to treat it as a hate crime.
The story made international headlines and drew public condemnation from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“It’s something that received, quite understandably, a lot of media and social media attention and I know it caused significant concern, as it should,” Pugash said.
Pugash declined to say whether the girl acknowledged it didn’t happen. He said police wouldn’t take a step like this unless they were absolutely confident.
“It is absolutely unusual,” Pugash said.
Ryan Bird, a spokesman for the Toronto District School Board, said officials are “very thankful” that the alleged assault did not in fact happen.
The school declined further comment.


Lampedusa mayor slams Rome over migrant boat standoff

Updated 51 min 39 sec ago

Lampedusa mayor slams Rome over migrant boat standoff

  • “The island no longer exists politically. It is just exploited in political clashes in Rome.”

LAMPEDUSA, Italy: The mayor of Italy’s Lampedusa island on Thursday denounced the collapsing government for its failure to deal with migrant rescue boats, as a ship carrying 356 people remained stranded in the Mediterranean.
Mayor Salvatore Martello said the reception center on the tiny isle was already over capacity and would struggle to house migrants currently stuck aboard the Norwegian-flagged Ocean Viking.
The vessel, run by charities Doctors Without Borders and SOS Mediterranee, has sought a port for almost two weeks after rescuing four boats of migrants off the Libyan coast between 9 and 12 August.
“It would be difficult because the reception center is saturated,” Martello told AFP.
“The island no longer exists politically. It is just exploited in political clashes in Rome.”
Lampedusa has long been a magnet for African migrants fleeing poverty and conflict.
Thousands have attempted to make the unsafe crossing from Libya in a bid to reach Europe this year, despite efforts to deter them.
Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has been accused of demonizing migrants and leaving them to drown in the sea.
He has repeatedly insisted that rescued migrants can only land in Italy if other EU countries take them in.
Italy’s president on Thursday was holding a second day of talks after the disintegration of the anti-immigrant coalition government, which broke down after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday.
The plight of the migrants aboard the Ocean Viking, which was denied entry by both Italy and Malta, is the latest in a string of migrant boat standoffs with Italian authorities.
The Open Arms rescue ship was allowed to land in Lampedusa on Wednesday, with 83 migrants disembarking, after Italian justice ordered they be brought ashore.
Many of them had spent 19 days on board the ship after being picked up while in difficulty in waters off Libya.
There were initially 147 mainly African migrants on the ship but all minors and some suffering health problems had already disembarked.
A European deal to redistribute them has yet to be implemented.