Leicester prides itself as being a tolerant city in which people from many different cultures live together in harmony. It is therefore disconcerting to see the findings of a study which reveals that Muslim women wearing face veils routinely encounter hostility and abuse.

The study was conducted by two criminology lecturers at the University of Leicester and involved interviews with more than 100 Leicester-based Muslim women over a 12-month period, as we reported yesterday. One participant told the Mercury: "People feel free to have a pop at us every day. They swear, stare, spit and tell us to go home. They call us terrorists."

One of the authors wore a face veil – known as a niqab – for a month to understand what her interviewees experienced. "Attitudes to me changed over night," she said. "People were abusive and threatening."

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