Minnesota woman strikes St. Kate’s: An update

I wrote at length about the terrorist acts committed by Tnuza Jamal Hassan at St. Catherine University (formerly St. Catherine College, colloquially known as St. Kate’s) in St. Paul in the post “Minnesota woman strikes St. Kate’s.” At the time she had been charged with arson by local authorities, but the case cried out for more. Today the Office of the United States Attorney has announced that Hassan has been indicted in federal court on one count each of terrorism, arson, and making false statements. Here is the press release on the “Minneapolis woman” (as the press release describes her):

United States Attorney Gregory G. Brooker today announced a three-count indictment charging TNUZA JAMAL HASSAN, 19, with attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, arson, and making a false statement. HASSAN will make her initial appearance before a United States Magistrate Judge at a later date.

According to the indictment, on September 19, 2017, HASSAN, a former student at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota, attempted to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, namely, al-Qa’ida. On September 22, 2017, in an interview with FBI Agents, HASSAN was asked whether she authored and delivered a letter to two fellow students at SCU in March 2017. The letter sought to encourage fellow students to “join the jihad in fighting” and to “[j]oin Al Qaeda, Taliban, or Al Shabaab.” HASSAN knowingly made a false statement to FBI Agents when she stated (1) she did not write the letter, (2) she did not know who wrote the letter, and (3) did not know how the letter came to be delivered to her fellow students.

According to the indictment, on January 17, 2018, HASSAN started several fires on the campus of SCU, including in St. Mary Hall, which she maliciously damaged. The fires set by HASSAN caused the St. Paul Fire Department to respond to SCU.

HASSAN was charged in Ramsey County District Court with one count of first-degree arson and is currently in custody at the Ramsey County Jail [where she has apparently been unable to make bail of $100,000].

Here I will repeat my earlier comments to give this case the context that it deserves. Hassan is a hard, hard case. Hassan set one fire at St. Mary Hall, the school’s largest dorm. It houses first-year students and the Early Childhood Center, a day care facility. Hassan appears to have included St. Mary Hall on her rampage because of the day care facility. Thirty-three children and eight adults were at day care in the building at the time, along with 10 to 15 students who were also evacuated.

Hassan did a lot of talking that will prove helpful to the prosecution of the case against her. She explained to police that “she wanted the school to burn to the ground and that her intent was to hurt people.” She said similar attacks happened on “Muslim land” and no one cared if Muslims were hurt. Hassan also told police that she had written a letter to her roommates containing “radical ideas about supporting Muslims and bringing back the caliphate.” And just to be clear, she also told authorities, “You guys are lucky that I don’t know how to build a bomb because I would have done that.” Good to know.

Her efforts to burn the St. Kate’s buildings down ran from some time before about 11:40 a.m. with the first reported fire and ended about 2:00 p.m. with Hassan’s arrest on campus. She was taken into custody at the school’s Jeanne d’Arc Auditorium at 2004 Randolph Av.

On a personal note, I’ve been to Jeanne d’Arc Auditorium many times for performances by artists ranging from my kids to Cry Cry Cry, Alison Krauss and Union Station, and Livingston Taylor, among others. It’s a magnificent performance space.

Like the defendants convicted in the case of “the Minnesota men” that I covered for Power Line and the Weekly Standard, Hassan has been the beneficiary of the best Minnesota has to offer. She attended Highland Park Junior High School, a couple blocks from our old home in Highland Park. She graduated from Johnson Senior High School in St. Paul before moving on to St. Kate’s to go to college.

I have asked the press officer in the United States Attorney’s Office for information on Hassan’s immigration status. As of this moment, I have not heard back. If you have additional background on Hassan, please write me at [email protected]

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