Black Israelites Win Right to Protest at Philly Shops

Israelite member John Lightbourne, who goes by his group name and title “General Yahanna,” is the head of the ISUPK. He describes their Center City protests as “shock treatment” designed to stir people into action. The protests, which group members record and post on their school website as well as YouTube, feature members shouting statements such as, “the white man is the Devil.” General Yahanna says the demonstrations are within their first amendment rights.

Shop owners at Liberty Place say they’ve heard enough however. Their lawyers appeared in court, arguing that the group is trespassing and making their private space unusable and impossible to rent. They also say the group’s offensive language frightens customers.

“They preach about how they hate white people and how they hate gays,” said attorney Jason Gosselin. “They’re calling women whores. Really hostile language that makes people feel intimidated and fearful. That’s not protected by the first amendment.”

“We don’t hate white people,” said Commander General Yahanna. “But God hates white people.”…

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