In the twenty-first century, terrorism, it seems, is everywhere. It is in the headlines and stories of our newspapers, websites and nightly television news, and in the plotlines and characters of films, TV programmes and plays we watch, and the thriller novels and comics we read. Themes related to terrorism also feature in the popular music we listen to, in the jokes that circulate through society, in the tattoos and T-shirts we wear, and in the sermons and khutbahs we hear in church or in the mosque. Terrorism is also a part of many of the courses we study at school and university, and it features regularly in parliamentary and political debates, community meetings and legal rulings by the courts. Terrorism is often in the mind of police officers who stop and question people at train stations and on the street, and it is part of the rules governing where tourists can take photos, the security measures at airports and football matches, the installation of new CCTV cameras, the routine risk assessments for shopping malls and theatres, and the regulations governing our bank accounts. Terrorism is often stated as one of the reasons for foreign wars and military interventions, and organizations like the UN, the EU and NATO try to coordinate action to counter it. If we look carefully, we can see the traces of terrorism or, more accurately, efforts to protect society against it in numerous aspects of modern life. Yet, most of the time, unless a spectacular terrorist attack is splashed across the media, we hardly even notice its pervasive influence on all of these aspects of our everyday lives.
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