MINNEAPOLIS – A Minnesota woman accused of encouraging two fellow-students participate in a jihad months before they allegedly set several fires on the campus, was charged Wednesday with a federal terrorism counts.
Tnuza Jamal Hassan, 19, of Minneapolis was charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda, one count of lying to the FBI and a federal arson count. She is also confronted with a state of arson in connection with the Jan. 17 fires on the campus of St. Catherine University in St. Paul.
Her lawyers had no comment on Wednesday. Hassan remained in detention.
Hassan is a former St. Catherine is a student. According to a federal indictment, she tried to provide material support to al-Qaeda on Sept. 19 through the provision of “personnel” of the terrorist group. More information about the basis for these costs is unclear, and the complaint doesn’t go into that.
The indictment also said Hassan wrote and delivered a letter to two fellow students in March, in an attempt to encourage them to “join the jihad in the struggle against” and to be a member of al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or al-Shabab. When asked about that letter on Sept. 22, she told FBI agents that she did not write, did not know who wrote it and don’t know how it was handed over to her colleagues.
According to the court documents, Hassan fires on the campus in January, because she was angry about US military actions abroad. No one was injured in the fire, but was set in a dormitory that houses a day-care centre. A sprinkler system to prevent a fire spreading out of a chair to the day care center, where 33 children and eight adults were present.
The state criminal complaint said Hassan admitted she set the fires because they read about the US army destroying schools in Iraq or Afghanistan and they wanted to do the same thing.
“Hassan said that they wanted the school to burn to the ground and that her intent was to hurt people,” said the complaint. “They told the police and fire brigade investigators,” You have luck that I don’t know how to make a bomb because I would have done.'”
Hassan was an English major who was last enrolled at St. Catherine’s in the fall 2017 semester, but not currently a student, the school said.