Woman pleads guilty of trying to support Al-Qa’ida

August 26, 2020

By a Biometrica staffer

A young woman from Minneapolis pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization (al-Qa’ida). The 22-year old, Tnuza Jamal Hassan, entered her guilty plea on Wednesday before Judge Patrick J. Schiltz at a district court in Minneapolis, the US Department of Justice said in a statement.

While she was a freshman at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota, Hassan drafted a letter encouraging others to join al-Qa’ida. She anonymously delivered the letter to two other students at the university for the purpose of recruiting them for the designated foreign terrorist organization. Hassan denied authoring or delivering the recruitment letter in an interview with FBI agents subsequently.

On September 18 2017, Hassan purchased a round-trip airline ticket from Minneapolis’ St. Paul International Airport to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, according to her guilty plea and documents filed in court. She purchased a second round-trip ticket from Dubai to Kabul, Afghanistan.

Hassan later admitted that she planned to travel from Dubai to Kabul where she hoped to join al-Qa’ida, and that she had no intentions of returning to the US. On September 19 2017, Hassan boarded a flight and traveled from Minneapolis to Dubai. She was prevented from traveling to Kabul because she failed to secure a travel visa, allowing her to enter the country.

On January 17 2018, Hassan, who was living in a St. Catherine University dorm lounge without the university’s permission, attempted to set several fires on the campus, according to the guilty plea and court documents. Hassan admitted that she attempted to burn the university’s buildings as a retaliatory act against the US for its opposition to al-Qa’ida in Afghanistan.

She has been charged in Ramsey County District Court with one count of first-degree arson.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force, St. Paul Police Department, and arson investigators from the St. Paul Fire Department.