Federal prosecutors say, Dion Marsh, 27, violently attacked “visibly identifiable Orthodox Jewish” during a multi-hour rampage across two townships in New Jersey.
When asked why he did, he allegedly told an investigator “it had to be done” and that Jews “are the real devils.” He also told the investigator that Jews go against his religion. Marsh’s final Facebook post, from February 15th, promoted Rastafarianism.
Marsh was previously arrested on April 9th and charged with four counts of attempted murder, six counts of bias intimidation, carjacking, attempted carjacking, attempted kidnapping, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon, and terrorism!
Now he has been charged federally with four counts of felony hate crimes, three of which are for attempted murder. He screamed profanities at his detention hearing.
Marsh allegedly beat and carjacked a Jewish man in Lakewood. Then he used the first victim’s car to ram into three different Jewish men intentionally. One was also stabbed in the chest. All three suffered major injuries.
Rastafarianism was created as an Afro-nationalist/Afro-centric religion and is popular in parts of the Caribbean. It teaches that sub-Saharan Africans were the Israelites of the Old Testament. It also teaches that Haile Selassie, the emperor of Ethiopia, was the second coming of Jesus Christ and the fulfillment of biblical prophecies.
Rastafarianism was spread, in part, by Caribbean reggae musicians. Adherents do not generally have the reputation of promoting racial animosity in the way that other Afro-nationalist quasi-religious movements like the Black Hebrew Israelites or the Nation of Islam. However, this is not always the case for all Rastafarians.
Supporters of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement have also carried out at least two terrorist attacks in Jews in the region in the recent past:
On December 28th, 2019, Grafton E. Thomas, 37, invaded the home of a Jewish Rabbi in Monsey, New York, while people were celebrating Hanukah. He killed one person and injured four others with a machete. Thomas was charged with federal hate crimes for one murder and five attempted murders. Investigators said he wrote about the Black Hebrew Israelite movement in his journal and was specifically targeting Jews.
On December 10th, David Nathaniel Anderson, 47, and his girlfriend Francine Graham, 50, launched a terrorist shooting spree at a Kosher Deli in Jersey City, New Jersey. Anderson was involved in the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, an often violent Afro-Nationalist and explicitly Black Supremacist religion.
Anderson also murdered Michael Rumberger, an Uber driver, just days earlier. Investigators say Anderson researched the name Rumberger on his computer and specifically targeted him because he thought he was Jewish. Rumberger was Catholic.