A SENIOR Muslim has warned a plan to target five-year-olds as part of anti-extremism drive "implies there is a widespread problem" in High Wycombe.

Zahid Jawed, spokesman for Wycombe Islamic Society, said the council move - reported in Bucks Free Press last week - could create an "atmosphere of hatred and fear".

More than £400,000 has been handed to Wycombe District Council by the Government to run anti-extremism projects.

In a letter published in Bucks Free Press tomorrow Mr Jawed says: "It would be unfair to punish all the white community if one white person committed a violent crime.

"In the same way we cannot stigmatise the whole Muslim community every time one Muslim commits a crime, and even worse stigmatise five-year olds.

"The fund also inadvertently implies there is a widespread problem of extremism when in fact very few people have ever been involved in such things."

But Catherine Spalton, spokesman for Wycombe District Council, said the authority had been "unfailingly impressed by the willingness of the district's Muslim residents to debate and take action".

She said: "We are very mindful that only a small number of people are actively involved, but terrorist activity has such an impact on all our lives that a responsible and measured approach is required.

"We - and our partners - would be failing in our duties if we did not support the Muslim community in addressing an issue with such far reaching impacts."

The council could have refused the Government's offer but the "responsible approach" was to work with "national experts" she said.

Details of the projects have yet to be announced by the council.