The stars of motoring show Top Gear have landed in a religious row for dressing up in burkas on the Boxing Day special.

The episode, which aired on the BBC on Boxing Day, has caused uproar among a section of the Muslim community in the United Kingdom.

Controversial Islamic activist Anjem Choudary spoke out against the show, which featured the hosts driving from Iraq to Israel in sports cars.

The burqa is a symbol of our religion and people should not make jokes about it in any way, he was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying.

It would have been equally bad even if they'd not been in a country mainly populated by Muslims.

Clarkson and Richard Hammond decided to dress in niqabs, a form of the burka where everything but the eyes is covered, in order to disguise themselves on the road. They also got James May in on the act when they greeted him from hospital after he fell and hit his head on rocks in the Syrian desert.

The BBC has not yet revealed whether it received any complaints over the stunt.

Clarkson caused another religious storm in July this year by telling the Top Gear audience he had seen a Muslim woman wearing sexy lingerie under her burqa.

The motoring show Top Gear is one of the BBC's biggest selling programme brands around the world, now shown in some 170 territories.

Some countries, including Russia and Australia, are also offering their own versions of the show.