Local group tries to distance themselves from Black Hebrew Israelites, says they are non-violent

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Jersey City suspects, David Anderson, 47, and Francine Graham, 50, had expressed interest in a fringe religious group called the Black Hebrew Israelites, whose members often rail against Jews and whites. But he said there was no evidence so far that they were members, and added that the two were believed to have acted alone.

A local group is trying to distance themselves from the Black Hebrew Israelites. The Upper Darby organization is called the Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge and they are also listed as a hate group on the Southern Poverty Law Center's website.

Commander General Yahanna denied a hatred of Jews and whites when FOX 29's Jeff Cole spoke to him on Thursday.

"We are Jews. We are saying that we are Jews, so we don’t believe real Jew is an enemy of ours because we're Jews," Yahanna said. FOX 29's Jeff Cole, "What’s a real Jew? Yahanna replied, "A real jew is a black and Latino or native Indian that is a descendant of biblical Hebrews."

Yahanna argues his group, which sometimes loudly states its views at 15th and JFK in the city, is not part of any violent organization linked to the alleged Jersey City shooters. He says his group is completely against violence.


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According to Yahanna, his organization works to combat what he calls the “despair of blacks and Latinos.” He accuses nations around the globe of “profiting off the backs of black people." While he says he opposes violence, the Southern Poverty Law Center calls his organization “a hate group.” Yahanna told FOX 29 they’re wrong.

"We have tons of brothers here and none are going out shooting anybody," he said.


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The Associated Press contributed to this report.