A Tory former minister has urged the Government to introduce a "proper legal definition of Islamophobia" after reports that anti-Islamic letters were posted across the country.

Anna Soubry made the call as minister Victoria Atkins condemned the contents of the "Punish a Muslim Day" letters as "abhorrent".

This weekend, West Yorkshire Police confirmed it had around six reports of such letters, including Bradford.

Councillor Riaz Ahmed (Lib Dem, Bradford Moor) received the letter to his business address in Leeds Road.

Social media users in London and Birmingham also reported receiving the letters.

"This isn't really a hate crime. This is actually an act of blatant incitement to terrorism," said Ms Soubry.

"The time has now come for a proper legal definition of Islamophobia."

Yasmin Qureshi, asking an urgent question in the Commons, said the letter calling for an attack on Muslims on April 3 offers rewards of 10 points for verbal abuse, 50 points for throwing acid, 1,000 points for bombing a mosque and 2,500 points to "nuke Mecca".

"Can I ask the minister if she can explain why no Government minister in the last eight years has ever made a speech on the rise of anti-Muslim hatred," said the Labour MP.

"There has been a sharp rise in the far-right movement in Europe and beyond, with the USA President retweeting far-right material.

"This is a really urgent situation and it needs to be urgently tackled."

Home Office minister Ms Atkins said the Government had brought in new plans to tackle hate crime as well as investing millions of pounds to protect places of worship.

More than a quarter of referrals to the Government's anti-extremism Prevent programme in 2015/16 were in relation to far-right extremism, she added.

"The Government condemns the content of these letters as clearly abhorrent with no place in decent society," said Ms Atkins.

"In terms of the definition of Islamophobia, there are many definitions. The definition that is used by the Runnymede Trust tends to be the one that I think most people adhere to.

"We don't accept the need for a definitive one, but we do know that Islamophobia is clearly recognised and we have very effective monitoring of race hate crimes.

"Considerable work is done by Tell MAMA and the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group in these areas."

Shadow Home Office minister Louise Haigh called the letters "despicable" and said they contained "insidious beliefs".

She added: "Given the overwhelming evidence, it is clear that so-called domestic extremism needs to be dealt with as a first order threat.

"So can the minister assure us that in line with the Anderson review recommendations, the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) will start to produce national threat assessments of domestic extremism, and increase the role for MI5, JTAC and the counter terror network in the monitoring and handling of investigations of domestic extremism?"

Labour's Rupa Huq (Ealing Central and Acton) said: "You don't have to have taught media studies or be a Muslim to have noticed the anti-Muslim sentiment is becoming quite common in much of our tabloid printed press."

She asked Ms Atkins to "have a word with her friends in the Tory press because these things feed people like Britain First and EDL, one of whom has made a video calling for my head even".

Ms Atkins said she hoped the debate had a "sent a very clear message to the people with whom she is concerned".

Wes Streeting, Labour MP for Ilford North, said: "The appalling letters that we have seen have to be seen in the context of the flames of prejudice being fanned in mainstream newspapers, in the comments made my mainstream politicians against their Muslim opponents and also in the bystanders."