Mal Hussain and Linda Livingstone bought the Ryelands mini market
in 1991. Within days of starting to run their business, they were threatened
and racially abused. Mal was the only black person on the estate.
In the last 14 years, Mal recorded over 4,000 separate incidents of racism, which included a firebomb on the shop and being shot at with live bullets. The National Assembly Against Racism began supporting Mal and Linda’s campaign to stop the harassment, bringing the national spotlight on the case in 1996, establishing Friends of Mal Hussain campaign.
Of the thousands of incidents reported to the police, only a fraction were taken to court, with a over a hundred convictions, despite the severity and consistency of the racist attacks faced by Mal and Linda. In 2002, one of the worst perpetrators Craig Wareing was forbidden from entering Lancaster for life in a significant victory for Mal and Linda, but many more escaped prosecution.
Lee Jasper, Secretary of the National Assembly Against Racism said: “Mal and Linda did not want to leave the Ryelands estate after having built such a successful business. Instead, Mal meticulously kept records of an appalling number of incidents, some so severe that they could have cost Mal’s life. Today, the news of Mal and Linda’s departure from the estate comes as an indictment on the record of the Lancashire Constabulary and the City Council’s abject failure to enforce existing legislation, which provides them the powers to prosecute racists. From day one until his last day on the estate, Mal experienced racism.
“In the last year, Mal has been looking for ways of leaving Ryelands, having come to the end of his tether with the constant nature of the harassment he has been experiencing. However, despite reaching a settlement the details of which cannot be disclosed, Mal has had to sell the minimarket at cut down price and leave before the end of April or face court action. This has been the most unfair part of the whole experience for Mal, having been once victimised by the racists and then by the institutions. It is a credit to Mal and Linda for their tenacity and courage for standing firm in the face of extreme racism and violence. This case represents one of the most serious and sustained acts of racist violence in recent history. On behalf of the National Assembly Against Racism, I wish Mal and Linda all the best and hope that they can now rebuild their lives free from racism.”
Mal Hussain said: “It has been 14 years of hell for both Linda and I. I have always stated that I would not be driven away from my successful business, built through sheer determination and despite all the attempts by racists to undermine it and to force us to leave Ryelands. I feel betrayed and failed by the institutions, who are supposed to protect those who suffer in the hands of racists. I relentlessly campaigned against the attacks I have experienced because racists cannot be allowed to get away with their acts of violence and harassment. This is a sad day for us, because we feel we have been pushed into a corner and options removed from us.”