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Yet few find easy sanctuary within the established Muslim population, with the majority forming their closest bonds with fellow converts rather than born Muslims.

Kevin Brice, author of the Swansea study A Minority Within a Minority, said to be the most comprehensive study of British Muslim converts, added: "White Muslim converts are caught between two increasingly distant camps.

In the past 10 years some 100,000 British people have converted to Islam, of whom some three-quarters are women, according to the latest statistics.

This is a significant increase on the 60,000 Britons in the previous decade, according to researchers based at Swansea University.

Islam is also about dignity and respect for yourself and your femininity.

Even in the dating game, Muslim men are very respectful.

I haven't worshipped in a mosque since I got married, I find it intimidating.

I worry about doing something wrong; people whispering because they see my blonde hair and blue eyes.

Kristiane Backer, 45Television presenter and author, London I converted to Islam in 1995 after Imran Khan introduced me to the faith. I used to have all the trappings of success, yet I felt an inner emptiness and somewhat dissatisfied in my life.

It was weird because I'm white and he was white, but all he saw was the scarf, I suppose. My family were surprisingly fine with me converting, probably because they thought it would rein me in from being a bit wild.

Nicola Penty-Alvarez, 26Full-time mother, Uxbridge I was always interested in philosophy and the meaning of life and when I came across Islam it all just clicked.

Women are cherished as mothers, too – as a Muslim woman you are not expected to do it all."Amy Sall, 28Retail assistant, Middlesbrough I'd say I'm still a bit of a party animal – but I'm also a Muslim.

I do go out on the town with the girls and I don't normally wear my headscarf – I know I should do, but I like to do my hair and look nice!

While the number of UK converts accelerates, many of the British women who adopt Islam say they have a daily struggle to assimilate their new beliefs within a wider culture that both implicitly and explicitly positions them as outsiders, regardless of their Western upbringing.

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