Cops vow action after man rips hijab off Muslim girl at Perimeter Mall

3:48 p.m Tuesday, April 18, 2017 DeKalb County
Henry Taylor/ AJC
Shoppers walk up the entrance ramp at the main entrance to Perimeter Mall in a file photo.

Dunwoody police confirmed Tuesday they are searching for a man accused of ripping the headscarf off a Muslim girl while yelling “terrorist” at Perimeter Mall.

The 14-year-old victim, whose identity hasn’t been released, was walking with a group in the parking lot near Maggiano's Little Italy at 9:40 p.m. when the stranger approached. He fled after snatching the hijab, police said.

“Dunwoody is a very diverse community, welcoming people of all faiths. Therefore, an incident such as this one is unusual,” Police Chief Billy Grogan said in a news release. “The Dunwoody Police Department is committed to protecting our citizens and will conduct a thorough investigation.”

The police are calling the case an assault.

The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the man. 

“We thank local law enforcement for pledging to investigate this despicable attack, which is the latest in a wave of anti-Muslim hate crimes across the nation," Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of CAIR-Georgia, said in a news release. 

Mitchell told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the family is shaken by the attack.

The case is the latest in a string of religiously-motivated incidents in metro Atlanta. 

Local Jewish institutions, including the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta in Dunwoody, have received bomb threats. 

CAIR-Georgia urged last month for Atlanta-area mosques to up security after death threats at Lawrenceville’s Greenview Madani Center, Norcross’ Masjid Omar bin Abdul Aziz and Al-Farooq Masjid in Atlanta. But in the case of the Perimeter Mall victim, CAIR-Georgia said the family won’t press charges if the man comes forward and apologizes. 

In the meantime, police want anyone who might have information on him to contact the investigator. 

Detective Tim Waldron can be contacted at 678-382-6911 or tim.waldron@dunwoodyga.gov. Anonymous tips are accepted at www.dunwoodypolice.com.

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