Those of us so deeply affected- where not also emotionally scarred- by the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 might have a lot of trouble contemplating the fact that Al-Qa'eda could, indeed, even BE any darker than they were on that terrible day... but they can be: in this case, on a "micro"- as opposed to the "macro"- level. We all tend to think of the group's "macro" effect- how these terrorists adversely impact upon mass populations (the effect of 9/11 on the Metropolitan NYC and DC areas, on America, on Western Civilization, for example)- as paramount; however, the "micro" effect- that is, how Al-Qa'eda affects the individual- is, perhaps, even more insidious.
Al-Qa'eda preaches an extremist version of Islam- a version of that religion in which, to take just one example, it is perfectly OK for a husband to beat his wife and children for even minor infractions of what can only be described as Extreme Islam. And it matters not one whit whether the infraction be inadvertent: for instance, a wife accidentally brushing up against a stranger who happens to be male on a busy city street necessitates- in Al-Qa'eda's warped and most perverse theological universe- physical discipline on the part of the husband for "illicit" contact with a man to which the wife is not married!
When one says or writes- as I myself have, rather frequently, said and written elsewhere- that Al-Qa'eda is, indeed, a threat to the concept of Freedom and Liberty that is the hallmark of Western Civilization and Democracy in general and the American Culture and Republic in particular (a notion of threat that many, with their proverbial heads in the sand or too addicted to an anti-war political agenda, far too often pooh-pooh), one is also talking about the negative effect on the person- not just the overall effect on a society that another terrorist attack along the lines of 9/11 would bring... but just how many on the anti-terrorism side really and truly think about the "micro" as opposed to the "macro"?