LONDON - A witch-hunt against the British Muslims has become much more pervasive as the surveillance of potential violent extremists by the UK government is being extended to children even as young as five years old. According to the latest dTmarche issued by Schools Secretary, Ed Balls, teachers in Britain are being trained in the latest techniques of espionage. Similar guidelines were issued earlier this year to colleges and universities to spy on Muslim students and Islamic associations, albeit revised after an outcry by lecturers and academics. This comes three years after Muslim parents were told by former British Home Secretary John Reid to keep an eye on their children as potential terrorists. The initiatives come under the government's misguided prevent strategy for countering violent extremism that have no sense of proportion - the policy criminalizes the whole Muslim community by assuming every Muslim, from five year old onwards, are potential terrorists. The new legislation meaning that the next generation of Muslim community leaders from 16 to 25 year-old would be groomed to be leaders of British government's liking. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has already spoken of extending the de-radicalisation process to the media, culture, sport and arts. The plans of the government on tackling, what they call, radicalisation, are to be extended to every area of Muslim life, especially targeted at the younger generation and now also led by their peers. Giving evidence to the House of Commons Defence Committee on October 21, Security Minister Lord West warned that "to stop this radicalisation of extremists is going to take - and I get into trouble for saying this - about 30 years, I think." After the events of 9/11, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, originally said that the so-called war on terrorism he launched with US President George W Bush would take a decade. But seven years down the road, past failures are causing Britain and the US to seek to escape from the debacle they have caused in Iraq and are also supporting talks with the Taliban as an exit strategy from Afghanistan. The British security services claim that they are now having to track some 2,000 terrorist suspects, investigate 200 networks and monitor 30 plots. Despite the reams of draconian legislation, West said he recognised that Britain could not "arrest and protect ourselves out of this problem. " But he also revealed that the government is due to publish a new national security strategy next spring. It can only be hoped that this will include a complete reappraisal of the folly of treating Muslims only through the prism of extremism. The Muslim community leaders condemned this legislation. Secretary General Federation of Sunni Mosques UK Maulana Bostan Qadri told The Nation that it is intolerable for the community to be under suspicion from cradle to grave. He said that asking teachers to spy on children reminds one of the former Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein. He used teachers, head teachers, pupils - in primary and secondary schools - and in colleges and universities to spy for the government.  Mr Qadri said Muslims like other communities want equal and fair treatment rather than treatment which is discriminatory or highly prejudicial. A recent arrest of fire bombers of a publisher under terror laws is another case in point. They were held under anti-terror laws for almost a week and then charged under normal armed offences, which they could have used at the time of arrest. But because they were Muslims, anti terror laws were misused to collect information. What was also disturbing about this incidence was that the police allowed the perpetrators to carry out the bombing (they were under police surveillance). He said the government would not dare treat any other community in this manner. Muslims are a free for all. Muslims need a strong leadership who can stand up for justice and fairness. This is not the way of 'winning the hearts and minds of Muslims'. On the contrary, such draconian policies alienate young Muslims, making them feel treated like second class citizens and potential criminals, he added.