The threat of Islamist terrorism continues to cause havoc in airports, disrupt the global economy and strike fear into the hearts of travellers.
In the past few years, kidnappings have become a key weapon in the terror campaign. Among the Irish citizens who have been abducted were Dublin-born aid worker Margaret Hassan and civil engineer Ken Bigley, both kidnapped and murdered in Iraq in 2004.
Teacher Brian Keenan and journalist Rory Carroll were among those who survived kidnappings by Islamist fundamentalists.
It goes without saying that the actions of the extremist fanatics are condemned by the vast majority of Irish Muslims.
However, many Irish people are under the illusion that Islamist terrorism is a purely modern phenomenon.
But there is nothing new under the sun - or, indeed, under the crescent moon.
Most of us would be surprised to learn that the greatest mass kidnapping ever mounted in Ireland by the forces of the Islamist Jihad was carried out 375 years ago - led by terrorists who steered wooden ships instead of Boeing 767s and brandished scimitars instead of AK47s.
Just before dawn on the morning of June 20, 1631, an invasion force of pirates from the Barbary Coast of North Africa, backed by elite troops of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, stormed ashore at the quiet West Cork village of Baltimore and abducted nearly all the villagers for sale on the slave markets.
Two Baltimore men were killed as they made a desperate bid to resist the 230 heavily armed invaders.
Although virtually forgotten today, this was the most devastating invasion of either Ireland or Britain by the fighting forces of Islam.
Within a few hours 107 people - mostly women and children - had been herded down to the beach like cattle and spirited away to a life of slavery in the notorious corsair stronghold of Algiers.
Only two or three of them ever saw their home again. I have spent five years researching this astonishing true story for my newly published book The Stolen Village: Baltimore and the Barbary Pirates (O'Brien Press).
When we think of slavery today, most of us think of European slave traders dragging African prisoners off to captivity.
But this was a time when the opposite happened - with slave traders from Africa sailing north to seize white slaves.
This was a story full of surprises. The 107 captives seized on June 20 were not Irish but English fisherfolk who had rented the port from Baltimore's Gaelic chieftain.
And there is a conspiracy theory that the pirate raid was a set-up job by disaffected elements of the local O'Driscoll clan who wanted to reclaim their village.
Even more intriguing was the true identity of the pirate admiral who spearheaded the audacious raid.
His name means nothing to us today but in the early 1600s Morat Rais was notorious as the most ruthless and daring of the Barbary pirates.
He had led slave raids as far north as Iceland in his quest to bring the terror of the Jihad to the very doorsteps of the Infidel.
Yet this extraordinary pirate was not some Moorish sheikh or Turkish nobleman but a middle-class Dutchman who had converted to Islam.
Around May of 1631, Morat Rais set sail from Algiers in two ships bristling with 36 guns. His force comprised 280 men-pirate renegades and musketeers from the crack Turkish Janissary militia.
On his way, the pirate chief captured three ships before sailing to the Old Head of Kinsale. There, 11 fishermen from Dungarvan were hauling in their nets on a quiet Sunday morning when they looked up to see the giant pirate vessels towering above them.
The Waterford men were clapped in irons and their skipper, John Hackett, agreed to pilot the pirates to Baltimore - well away from his hometown to the east.
Hackett was later to be hanged as a traitor, although he may have been no more than a convenient scapegoat.
By nightfall on June 19 the pirates had reached Baltimore where they anchored well out of sight. Muffling their oars, they boarded the stolen fishing boats and rowed silently in to a strand known as The Cove.
As the invaders fanned out and thrust blazing torches into thatched roofs, the terrified villagers dashed out from their cabins to be confronted by attackers who seemed like figures from a nightmare - the red-coated Janissaries screaming and slashing the air with their sabres; the pirates yelling curses and threats.
After securing around 100 slaves, Morat moved up to the main village. But his advance was halted when two quick-thinking villagers fired a musket into the air and sounded a military tattoo on a drum, fooling the pirate captain into thinking he was under attack from troops. When he sailed off that afternoon, Morat took with him 23 men, 34 women and 50 children - "even those in the cradle".
Entire families were torn apart. One man lost his wife and seven sons; another lost his pregnant wife and two children.
The captives' only hope of rescue was thwarted by high-level corruption. The naval patrol ship that was supposed to guard them was stranded uselessly in port because the admiral in charge had pocketed the supply funds. After a 38-day voyage in filthy conditions, the slaves reached Algiers on July 28.
During my researches for The Stolen Village, I discovered a contemporary account in which a French missionary priest described the sale of the Baltimore captives in heartrending terms: "It was a pitiable sight," he wrote. "Wives were taken from husbands and children from their fathers - leaving them no hope of ever seeing each other again."
The women were destined for the harems - the younger ones as concubines, the more mature ones as household companions. Most of the children would have been adopted into local homes, where they were usually treated well.
The men would have met a variety of fates, from brutalised galley slaves and quarry workers to shopkeepers or tradesmen. The luckiest ones prospered and some would have become rich.
Given no hope of rescue, it was no surprise that many made the best of a bad situation and settled in to their new home - converting to Islam and marrying locals.
When an English envoy arrived to ransom them in 1646, few had any desire to return. Of the 107 captives, only two Baltimore women accepted. The other survivors remained behind.
It's been suggested that their descendants may live on in Algiers today - the living testimony of the greatest ever Islamist terror attack on a small green island in the far north.
'The Stolen Village', by Des Ekin, is published by O'Brien Press, ?14.99.
Des Ekin is a staff writer with the Sunday World.