A Manchester law firm advertising Islamic family law services has spoken out after receiving a string of abusive messages.

Carter Law Solicitors ran paid-for advertising on Facebook last month, targeting one of the ads towards local Muslims. This outlined the fact that the firm offers Islamic family law and divorce settlements.

The advert was intended to be targeted and not for a wider audience, but within days the firm was subject to a series of abusive posts from Facebook users.

In one, a respondent told the firm to ‘take your Islamic business and go back to the country you came from’.

Another said: ‘There is only one law in the UK: abide by it or GTF OUT’.

Carter Law told the Gazette its policy was initially to engage with the replies, but after more adverse comments it ‘took a step back’.

In a statement, the firm said: ‘We were extremely shocked at the racist reactions to the ad we ran on Facebook. The commenters seem to believe that there is some sinister parallel legal system for Muslims, but the services that we’re advertising are within the bounds of the law of England and Wales.

‘They simply meet the needs of observant Muslim clients.

‘Carter Law believes in equality for all of our staff and clients, regardless of ethnicity or religious convictions; it is a shame that not everyone shares our ethos. We’re all entitled to an opinion, but to see such unashamedly racist comments in a public forum wasn’t a pleasant experience.’

The issue of hate crime – particularly via social media  – has come into focus following June’s Brexit vote. Police have stated there have been more than 6,000 reports of hate crime since mid-June.

Home secretary Amber Rudd has cited a ‘climate of increased hostility towards people identified as foreigners’.

An action plan announced last week includes new guidance to prosecutors on prosecuting cases involving communications sent via social media.