The Jersey City shooters were adherents of a fringe religious movement that’s been labeled a hate group by experts who track extremists in the US.
David Anderson was described by law enforcement sources on Wednesday as a follower of the Black Hebrew Israelites, and he introduced girlfriend and accomplice Francine Graham to their beliefs, a former friend and neighbor in Elizabethport, New Jersey, told The Post.
“I know she has a religion called the black Jews or something. She just told me that was her religion,” the woman said.
“Honestly, I didn’t pay too much attention. I know they kept the Sabbath.”
Another neighbor said he occasionally heard the couple “chanting religious stuff” inside Graham’s apartment.
“It was loud enough to know it was that,” the man said.
The Black Hebrew Israelites, who are not a part of mainstream Judaism, believe that white people are agents of Satan, Jews are liars and false worshippers of God, and black people are the true “chosen people” of the Bible, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
The Southern Poverty Law Center lists various branches of the movement among the country’s black nationalist hate groups, most of which it says are “strongly anti-white and anti-Semitic.”
It traces the origin of the racist “Hebrew Israelite” movement to self-declared prophet F.S. Cherry, who in 1886 founded a “black Jew” church in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Cherry preached that white people were inherently evil and hated by God, and predicted that Jesus would return in 2000 to start a race war that would end with black people ruling over whites, according to the SPLC.
Earlier this year, the movement made headlines when a member of the offshoot House of Israel — a Brooklyn resident who calls himself “Chief Ephraim Israel” — profanely taunted a group of Catholic students from Covington, Kentucky, in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.
The incident sparked a viral video in which one student was seen silently smiling as his classmates mocked a Native American activist who intervened in the face-off by chanting and beating on a drum.