Muslim groups have received a torrent of hate m ail after Commons Leader Jack Straw called to discard the veil.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and the London Muslim Centre have been subjected to racist abuse from those who agree with Mr Straw.

In an incident in Liverpool on Saturday, a Muslim woman's veil was torn from her face after she was subjected to racial abuse, according to Merseyside Police.

A spokesman for the Muslim Safety Forum (MSF), Muhammad Abul Kalam, said there had been a definite increase in attacks and threats for Muslims since Mr Straw described the veil as a "visible statement of separation".

Mr Kalam said: "We are very much concerned that Jack Straw's comments will be picked up by certain elements of the community who want to spread Islamophobia.

"There have already been a number of violent, intimidating attacks across the country. His statements have been really detrimental to the Muslim community."

He added that the London Muslim Centre, based in Whitechapel, east London, had received a deluge of racist emails.

Mr Kalam said he did not agree with Mr Woolas's argument that nonMuslims may find full veils "frightening".

"To say that people find it slightly scary is ludicrous," he said.

Inayat Bunglawala, Assistant Secretary General for the MCB, said his organisation had received a number of racist emails since last week.

"Many people have said 'How dare you let women wear full veils'," Mr Bunglawala said. "But the issue is not about the niqab; some women choose to wear it and some don't. That is individual choice." ..SUPL: