WASHINGTON – Tnuza Jamal Hassan, 19, who is a former student at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota, says she was angry over American military “crimes.”
So, Hassan, who had expressed radical Islamist ideas to her roommates while in school, police say, went on a two-and-half-hour arson spree at the campus she had recently left, reportedly to travel with her family to Ethiopia.
She reportedly set eight fires across the campus.
“You guys are lucky that I don’t know how to build a bomb because I would have done that,” she told police.
Hassan is one of many suspects and convicts of what might be called “soft terrorist” acts in the U.S. They don’t get much attention because their crimes don’t rise to the level of mass murder, shooting attacks and bombings. They don’t grab national headlines. Yet, the growing frequency of these acts of violence suggest an underlying Muslim rage much more widespread than the spectacular attacks that do.
No one was hurt in the fires, however one of the fires was set in a building that housed a daycare center. Thirty-three children, eight adults and 10-15 students were evacuated from that building, as a result of Hassan’s suspected first-degree arson attacks.
Court documents in the case say: “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. She said that her fire-starting was not as successful as she had wanted. She said the most successful fire she set was at Saint Mary’s [residence hall] where she set a couch on fire.”
Hassan appeared at her bail hearing with an improvised burqa consisting of a black covering over her face, exposing only her eyes, and a large white sheet draped over her head and the orange jail jumpsuit she was required to wear.
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She is being held on $100,000 bail.
“Hassan said she wanted the school to burn to the ground and that her intent was to hurt people,” the complaint said. “Hassan said this was that same thing that happened in ‘Muslim land’ and nobody cares if they get hurt, so why not do this?”
Hassan, of Minneapolis, was an English major who last enrolled in the fall 2017 semester but is not currently enrolled, the school said. The complaint said she withdrew because she and her family were planning to vacation in Ethiopia.
The complaint also said she wrote a letter to her roommates containing “radical ideas about supporting Muslims and bringing back the caliphate.” It said the letter scared the roommates, who turned the letter over to campus security.
Then there is Sean Andrew Duncan of Sterling, Virginia, a Washington, D.C., suburb, and a convert to Islam who was arrested in December for destroying evidence that linked him to ISIS.
He is suspected of planning a terror attack and providing information to an ISIS contact about building homemade bombs.
During the investigation, federal agents who searched his devices found hundreds of sexually explicit images of pre-pubescent children, including infants, according to court documents.
Duncan and his wife tried to travel to Turkey in 2016 but were denied entry and returned to the U.S. At that point, he was interviewed by the FBI. Two days later, he deleted his Facebook account and changed his phone number.
He was named as a U.S. contact by an ISIS supporter in custody overseas. The FBI also said Duncan gave advice on vetting questions to an undercover FBI agent posing as an ISIS recruit. A Twitter account with an Arabic name (which translated roughly to “The Islamic State”) was linked to Duncan’s phone.
A relative reported that after Duncan converted to Islam he suspected Duncan had become radicalized as he had voiced support of Westerners being beheaded in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, a German convert to Islam is facing extradition to the U.S. for conspiring to kill Americans and supporting terrorists (along with other crimes) after he attacked guards with scissors in a French prison where he is being held.
Christian Ganczarski, 51, had personal contact with Osama bin Laden and other top al-Qaida members in Afghanistan, and is currently in his 15th year of an 18-year sentence for an al-Qaida attack on a synagogue in Tunisia that left 21 people dead.
A few days before he attacked the guards, Ganczarski was told the U.S. wanted him extradited at the end of his current jail term for his involvement with the 9/11 attacks. Ganczarski faces four counts in the U.S., including providing “critical support to the most prolific terrorists of our time.” If convicted of the charges, he could face life in prison in the U.S.
The indictment against Ganczarski was only recently unsealed by the court of the Southern District of New York.
“The unsealing of the indictment exemplifies this office’s commitment to the relentless pursuit and prosecution of those who seek to harm Americans,” said Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney in Manhattan.