Charges: Former Student Set Fires on St. Catherine Campus in Retaliation Against U.S. Military Intervention

Chao Xiong, Star Tribune, January 19, 2018

A 19-year-old former student at St. Catherine University allegedly set several fires across campus Wednesday in retaliation for U.S. military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to charges filed Friday.

Tnuza J. Hassan, of Minneapolis, allegedly told police that “she wanted the school to burn to the ground and that her intent was to hurt people,” according to the complaint charging her with one count of felony first-degree arson filed in Ramsey County District Court.

According to the charge, Hassan said similar attacks happened on “Muslim land” and no one cared if Muslims were hurt. She told police and fire investigators, “You guys are lucky that I don’t know how to build a bomb because I would have done that.”

No one was hurt in the incident that began about 11:40 a.m. with the first reported fire, and ended about 2 p.m. with Hassan’s arrest on campus. {snip}

Hassan made her first appearance in court Friday afternoon, where bail was set at $100,000. She was also ordered to stay away from the campus and surrender her passport.

Hassan wore an orange jumpsuit under an apparent makeshift hijab that consisted of a black face covering that exposed only her eyes and what appeared to be a large white sheet draped over her head.

{snip} Hassan’s attorney, Patrick Nwaneri, asked for $5,000 bail, noting that his client had no criminal record. Ramsey County District Judge Sophia Vuelo rejected the request, saying that Hassan was a threat to public safety.

{snip}

Fire and school officials said on Wednesday that eight fires were set in seven buildings. They said all but one of the eight fires occurred in garbage cans, and that most caused little damage.

Dennis Gerhardstein, a spokesman for the Ramsey County attorney’s office, said authorities charged Hassan for the number of fires — four — that allowed prosecutors to file the “most severe form of felony arson.”

{snip}

Hassan allegedly told police that she had written a letter to her roommates containing “radical ideas about supporting Muslims and bringing back the caliphate,” the complaint said.

{snip}

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