Racism In Rishton (PC)

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On Thursday 27 June 1996, Hyndburn MP Greg Pope asked councillors to reconsider a ban on metal security shutters on a former shop in Rishton. Owner Mohammed Sattar wanted to move his family into the Hermitage Street property but claimed he was the victim of race hate. He said he needed the roller shutters for security following vandal attacks and threats from youths that they will burn the building.

But planning councillors ruled in early June 1996, that the shutters were unacceptable in a residential area. Mr Pope said: "I have written to the council, asking them to reconsider. Mr Sattar is in real fear of a racist element. I understand the council's policy on domestic property but there has to be flexibility."

On Thursday 07 December 2000, COUNCILLORS asked the public to leave a lesbian couple alone after claims their lives have been made a living hell by homophonic neighbours.

The couple, who asked not be named for fear that the situation might get worse, revealed they were planning to quit Rishton little more than a year after arriving.

They claim to have been abused in the street, bullied in shops and treated like second-class citizens while their home, the address of which they have asked not to disclose, had also been targeted by thugs.

The couple expected they would have to move on again, believing there is nowhere in Lancashire that isn't filled with homosexual hatred.

Their plight prompted councillors to urge Rishton residents to remain open-minded, saying it would be a great shame if the couple had to leave.

One of the women, who asked for only her first name, Donna, to be published, said that the situation was causing a massive strain on their relationship and would mean her young daughter having to move schools for the second time in two years.

They had hoped their arrival in Rishton, after years of abuse living in Preston's Fishwick estate, would mark the start of a quieter life for the family - hopes which were soon dashed by a determined minority in Rishton. She said: "We arrived in Rishton and moved in hoping that people would just accept us for what we are.

"Within days people had found out we were lesbians are started calling us names. We have been heckled in the street, even when I was with my daughter. They say it is wrong I have my daughter with me but they know nothing about us.

"We have already had to move once to somewhere else in Rishton and now the people here are shunning us as well. We have been screamed at in the street when we have been with my daughter, which terrified her and really upset us. I can't understand why people do this. We are doing nothing to them. We just want to be happy and left alone. The situation is that things are already happening in the street and things are thrown at our house. We are suffering because of their ignorance."

Rishton councillor Stan Horne said: "It is important that this couple are allowed to live their lives and not become the target of abuse purely because they are lesbian. What they do is up to them as long as it doesn't cause problems for other people."

Coun Joan Butler added: "There is little we can do about it as councillors apart from urge them to report problems to the police. It is a great shame."