Introduction to Terrorism and Society (Terrorism: Essential Primary Sources)
Terrorists seek to change some facet of society, from freedom of religious expression to physical and political control over a region. Differences between societies, however, may result in shifting definitions of terrorism and dramatic differences in characterizations of groups or individuals as terrorists.
The September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, for which the global terrorist group al-Qaeda claimed responsibility, were deadly international terrorist attacks with profound social consequences. Citizens of ninety countries perished in the September 11th terrorist attacks and there was an initial outpouring of sympathy from much of the world. In some Arab cities, however, there were jubilant street celebrations.
Societies around the world have long coped with terrorism, and the U.S. suffered an escalating string of terrorism over the past decades. Yet, the September 11th attacks brought the impact of terrorism on society into sharp focus for Americans. It also revealed solidarity and divisions between countries and within societies.
For example, French President Jacques Chirac was the first foreign leader to visit the World Trade Center site. He expressed French sorrow and solidarity with the American people. Le Monde, a leading French newspaper, ran a headline proclaiming solidarity with Americans. The two societies seemed...
(The entire section is 543 words.)
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