Former student, alleged arsonist charged with aiding Al-Qaeda

Nikita Vladimirov
Investigative Reporter

  • A former student who allegedly tried to burn down St. Catherine University last year is now facing federal charges for attempting to “provide material support and resources” to Al-Qaeda.
  • The student told investigators that she was trying to "hurt people" in retaliation for U.S. policy in the Middle East, adding that she would have built a bomb instead, had she possessed the necessary skill.
  • A former St. Catherine University student who allegedly tried to burn down the school in retaliation for U.S. foreign policy has been charged with attempting to aid terrorists.

    According to a three-count indictment obtained by ABC 5, the 19 year-old Tnuza Hassan is now facing federal charges for allegedly attempting to “provide material support and resources” to Al-Qaeda in September of last year.

    "You guys are lucky that I don’t know how to build a bomb because I would have done that."   

    [RELATED: Former student turns arsonist over US policy in ‘Muslim land’]

    “On or about September 19, 2017, within the State and District of Minnesota, and elsewhere, the defendant, Tnuza Hassan, did knowingly attempt to provide material support and resources…to a foreign terrorist organization, namely, al-Qa’ida, knowing that it was a designated foreign terrorist organization and that the organization had engaged and was engaging in terrorist activity and terrorism,” the indictment states.

    Alongside her terrorism-related charge, Hassan is also being charged with arson and making a false statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

    As previously reported by Campus Reform, the former student was arrested after she allegedly set eight fires in seven different buildings on campus, later explaining that her goal was to “hurt people” and “burn [the school] to the ground.”

    [RELATED: Prof: Trump's election an 'act of terrorism']

    “You guys are lucky that I don’t know how to build a bomb because I would have done that,” Hassan reportedly said after her arrest, telling investigators that similar violence against Muslims goes unnoticed and that she is retaliating for U.S. policy in the Middle East.

    Court documents obtained by The Star Tribune last month specified that Hassan “said she started the fires because she’s been reading about the U.S. military destroying schools in Iraq and Afghanistan and she felt that she should do exactly the same thing.”

    Hassan also expressed disappointment with her efforts to burn down the school after all eight fires were successfully extinguished without substantial property damage.

    [RELATED: Muslim students demand prayer rooms in every 'major building']

    St. Catherine University condemned the alleged arson in January, stating that the community was “shocked and saddened” by Hassan’s rhetoric.

    “We are shocked and saddened by the reported statements made by a former student, Tnuza Hassan, regarding her motives for starting fires on campus earlier this week,” the school said at the time. “We are dismayed by her statements and know that they have impacted us all deeply.”

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    Nikita Vladimirov

    Nikita Vladimirov

    Investigative Reporter
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