Former St. Catherine University student attempted to set campus on fire, join al-Qaeda

Hassan faces an additional charge of first-degree arson for her attempt to start several fires on campus in January 2018.

A 22-year-old woman pleaded guilty this week to attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Tnuza Jamal Hassan entered her guilty plea Wednesday morning before Judge Patrick J. Schiltz in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald announced.

According to court documents, Hassan drafted a letter encouraging others to join al-Qaeda in March 2017 while she was a freshman at St. Catherine University in St. Paul. She delivered the letter to two other students for the purpose of recruiting those individuals to join the terrorist organization.

Hassan faces an additional charge of first-degree arson for her attempt to start several fires on campus in January 2018. She admitted that she attempted to burn down campus buildings as a retaliatory act against the United States for its opposition to al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

She was living in a dorm lounge without the university’s permission at the time of the arson.

In September 2017, Hassan purchased a round-trip ticket from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to Dubai, and a second round-trip ticket from Dubai to Kabul, Afghanistan. She later admitted that she planned to travel from Dubai to Kabul where she hoped to join al-Qaeda and said she had no intentions of returning to the United States.

Hassan made it all the way to Dubai, but was prevented from traveling to Kabul because she failed to secure a travel visa allowing her to enter the country.

She’s currently being held at Sherburne County Jail and has been convicted of one count of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, which comes with a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison.