A family from Oxford believes Allah has sent them a message by appearing in a tomato.

The Khalids, of Maidcroft Road in Cowley, have been swamped with well-wishers from the Muslim community after making the discovery while preparing a salad.

Uzma Khalid, 19, spotted what looked like Arabic writing on a segment of a tomato which she chopped in half last week.

On closer inspection she discovered the writing mirrored the word 'Allah' - written in Arabic.

She said: "I just chopped the tomato in half and thought I saw the word Allah in it.

"I thought, 'OK that's a bit weird', so I showed it to my mum and she said it definitely says Allah."

Her sister Saima, 22, said the family felt blessed by what happened and even took the tomato to be verified by a local Imam.

She added: "We believe it is a way of Allah showing he exists. It is a miracle in the sense of how it has been put in the tomato and how it has been written.

"For us, Allah is the saviour. Without him nothing can exist so for us this is a message to show to everyone he exists - this is a sign or a miracle."

News of the Khalid family's tomato quickly spread around the community by word of mouth. Within days at least 50 people, including strangers, visited their home.

Last Friday the tomato made an appearance at Stanley Road Mosque in Cowley where the Arabic 'writing' was agreed as accurate by Muslim leaders.

The tomato was bought from a Halal meat and vegetable shop in Cowley Road and is now being preserved in the freezer, although the outline of the wording has gradually faded.

Mother-of-four, Nasim Khalid, said: "Everyone is very happy and the kids have been very excited."