Staffordshire Police are looking for a man who racially abused five female Muslim students before head-butting one of them and trying to pull her hijab off.
The victims were waiting for a bus at Newcastle Bus Station when they noticed a man urinating in the street.
He then approached the group of students, spat at them and hurled racist and Islamophobic abuse at them.
The suspect then head-butted one of the students and attempted to rip her hijab off.
By-standers came to her aid after the attack which occurred at around 7.20pm on Thursday 5 April.
Police have now launched an urgent appeal for witnesses following the hate crime.
The perpetrator was white, in his late 20s, around 6ft tall with a slim build and blond hair.
He was wearing a black hooded top and bottoms and spoke with a local accent.
Vulnerability Sergeant John Hughes, from Newcastle local policing team, said: “This was a despicable act and one that left the victims understandably shaken.
“Thankfully, several members of the public came to their aid and intervened during the incident.
“Hate crime of any kind will not be tolerated and we will do everything we can to catch the perpetrator.
“If you were in the area at the time or have any information in relation to this incident please call us.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Staffordshire Police on 101 quoting incident 495 of April 6. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.