UK

Islamic State Terrorism Is Serious But We've Faced Even Deadlier Threats In The Past

29/11/2015 09:26 GMT | Updated 29/11/2015 15:59 GMT

"We have never known anything like Isis."

“What we’re facing in Iraq now with Isis is a greater and deeper threat to our security than we have known before.”

"The threat we are facing today is on a scale and at a tempo that I have not seen before in my career."

Since the horrific terror attacks in Paris earlier this month much has been made of the threat the UK faces from Islamic State.

A total of 130 people died in the French capital killed by people not afraid to die in the name of their beliefs.

While IS's methods and doctrine unnerve their enemies, Western Europe's bloody and violent recent history of terrorism shows its streets are actually safer now than they have been for decades.

terrorism

Click here for a zoomable version of this graph, produced for HuffPost UK by Statista

Dr. Adrian Gallagher, Associate Professor in International Security at Leeds University, said: "The reality is... Western Europe is safer now than it has been for decades and is far safer than most other parts of the world.

"At the broader level, the data supports the idea that we are now living in the most peaceful period of human history.

"These graphs support the idea that Western Europe is perhaps more peaceful now than at any point in modern human history."

An examination of global data lays stark the reality of terrorism worldwide and shows the level of the terrorist threat outside of Western Europe.

terrorism

Click here for a zoomable version of this graph, produced for HuffPost UK by Statista

None of this should suggest the threat from IS is not real - the group's methods and ideology have been taken seriously enough to prompt David Cameron to recruit an extra 1,900 spies to help combat them.

Raffaello Pantucci, Director of International Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute, said: "If you look back at historical attacks, there was always a plan to get away.

"They would shoot, blow things up but they would not plan to die. Nowadays you are dealing with people who are willing to die in pursuit of the action and that makes it much harder to protect people from them."

The death toll alone can never show the full picture of the threat from Islamic State.

Dr. Gallagher said: "Of course, we should never be complacent. One thing the graphs do not show us is how many terrorist attacks were stopped prior to them being carried out."

Here's a look at some of the most notable terrorist organisations who have perpetrated attacks in Western Europe since the 1970s...

Terrorism in Western Europe