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Security and Society

The actions of terrorists are always unacceptable. But history shows that changing attitudes accept the results of terrorism and, in some cases, see the results as worthy of the action. As we come up to two weeks before the 12th anniversary of 11 September 2001, it is clear some, perhaps unintended, consequences may prove to be beneficial to the entire world, including Muslims.

A contentious thought: please set aside emotional considerations when reading.

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The USA is to close embassies and consulates over Hari Raya / Eid (the end of Ramadan / Muslim new year). It's a PR snafu.

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The UK has suffered its first fatal terrorist attack since 7 July 2007. Running people down, hacking down people large knives is so common in some parts of the world that it warrants a small note on the inside pages of newspapers. But those attacks are usually related to organised crime or some perceived personal slight. But the murderous attack in Woolwich in south-east London was neither of those.

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The bombing of the Boston Marathon gained justifiably widespread publicity. But it was not the biggest terrorist event of the long weekend, nor even the event which could have proved the most deadly. But another event went largely unnoticed by the "western" media. Why? It happened in Taiwan.Then there's the 16 killed in an attack in Pakistan.

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There is much talk of successes against terrorism, in part as the justification for placing restrictions on long- and hard-won freedoms from oppressive government. But as the bombs placed at the route for the Boston Marathon shows, identifying and containing terrorist threats is next to impossible.

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