Murdered midwifery student Joy Morgan had turned ‘racist’ towards her mixed-race half-sisters after joining a ‘cult’ church, her family claims.
Joy Morgan was killed in December 2018 by Shohfah-El, 40, who received a life sentence with a minimum of 17-years for her murder – but he has never revealed where her body is.
The pair met at a church group, Israel United in Christ (IUIC), which has since been described by the victim’s family as a ‘cult’.
Joy Morgan was murdered by Shohfah-El in 2018 after joining a religious ‘hate group’ called Israel United in Christ based in Ilford, East London
What is Israel United in Christ?
Israel United in Christ (IUIC) was originally founded in America in 2003 as part of the wider ‘Black Hebrew Israelite’ movement.
The group believes black, Hispanic and Native American people are the descendants of the biblical 12 tribes of Israel and are therefore superior.
They also believe that all other ethnic groups will eventually become their ‘servants’.
Recently, the church has been dubbed a ‘hate group’ and ‘a black nationalist group’ by a civil rights organisation in the USA.
Members of the group are told to follow strict rules. Anyone who deviates or questions these can be demoted, punished or removed.
Men and women are not allowed to be alone together if they are not husband and wife, and sex before marriage is forbidden.
During church ceremonies men and women are also kept apart.
There is a strict hierarchy system in place for the men of the church including ranks of deacons, captains, officers, soldiers and then brothers.
Women are not given formal ranks and are simply referred to as ‘sisters’. They have to refer to the male members as ‘sir’ or ‘master’.
The UK sect of the church has a congregation of around 150 members.
Joy’s mother Carol claims that the church encouraged its followers to divide people by colour.
After joining the UK sect of the group based in Ilford, East London, the 20-year-old’s family say there was a dramatic change in her character.
Carol said: ‘I blatantly called my daughter racist. The moment she started getting more and more into the church it was unbearable.
‘In the house we were ‘dirty people’ because we were not converted to the faith. That means we were sinners.
‘She would make you feel like you were diseased.
‘That’s how bad it was.
‘She would come into the house and if I had a vest top on, she’d say “Mum you need to cover yourself up, you need to take off your shoes”‘.
She explained her behaviour reached boiling point when she referred to her mixed-race sister as a ‘white devil’.
She said: ‘She was, bit by bit, wanting to change us but at the same time white people were devils.
‘The moment she called my mixed-race daughter a demon because she is mixed-race I said: “No”.
‘I took the laptop away and that’s when things got to the point of arguments and she left. She went homeless.’
Joy’s sister Dionne, 34, added: ‘The teaching of the church, it just seems like a cult and she just got swept away in it.’
Shohfah-El, 40, received a life sentence with a minimum of 17-years for her murder but he has never revealed where her body is
Carol had phoned her daughter on Boxing Day 2018 in the hope that she would join her family to celebrate Christmas but this was forbidden by the church.
Instead, the midwifery student spent the day with the group at the church, which was the last time she was seen.
But the religious group, that has a congregation of around 150 members, did not report her missing when she failed to turn up in the following weeks.
Two days after Boxing Day, her number was also mysteriously removed a church group instant messaging chat on Telegram.
It wasn’t until six weeks later, when Joy’s mother received a call from her estate agent saying that she had not been paying her rent that she was reported missing.
Outside court during the murder trial in August 2019, Carol confronted some IUIC members and asked: ‘Why did none of you phone the local authorities, the police, the 999 services?
‘That’s the thing that gets me. Isn’t that a Christian thing to do? A real Christian thing. To care about another human being enough to call the police.’
IUIC denies that it is a hate group and says ‘at no point do we teach against the laws of the land or authorities.’
It says when Joy went missing ‘all indications pointed to her leaving the church or wanting time away, not being in danger.’
Joy’s family say there was a dramatic change in her character after joining the church – confessing she began calling her mixed-race sister a ‘white devil’
It is thought that Joy initially joined the group in 2016 after coming across its videos online following a series of family deaths that had deeply impacted her.
She had been close to her uncle Prince who died from cancer in 2006.
In 2012 her stepfather passed away from the same disease and then just two years later her father killed himself.
A new documentary has now been released that has investigated the death of the 20-year-old student after she joined the religious group.
BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat have detailed the strange circumstances surrounding Joy’s death and looked into her increasingly bizarre behaviour.