The victim was walking with a group in the parking lot of Perimeter Mall near Maggiano's Little Italy in Atlanta at 9:40 PM on Monday when the man approached and fled after snatching the hijab, police said.
Dunwoody police said they were searching for the man accused of ripping the headscarf off the Muslim girl while yelling "terrorist", The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
"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.
"The Dunwoody Police Department is committed to protecting our citizens and will conduct a thorough investigation," Grogan said.
The police are calling the case an assault. The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is offering a USD 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, was quoted as saying by the report.
Mitchell said the family is shaken by the attack. The incident comes amid a spike in hate crimes and assaults targeting hijab-wearing women across the US.
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 apologises, the report said.