1. Be observant and report suspicious activities. First you need to learn what to look for. Then you can use your eyes and ears as you go about your daily activities. If you know what to look for, being observant doesn't mean being paranoid. Most activities are not suspicious. But a few specific kinds of activities are. Follow the link above to find out what those are, and then...be observant.
2. Share DVDs with your friends. This may be the most useful thing you can do. It is such a simple and natural thing to say something like, "I saw a really interesting film last night." And then talk about one of the most interesting or surprising things in the film. When the person you're talking to is interested, you can say, "I own it on DVD. Would you like to borrow it?" This is a great way to get valuable information into the heads of the other members of your country. The ideas in their heads has a significant impact on how successfully we collectively fight terrorism; it determines what policies and which politicians they vote for. Go to the link above for our suggested DVDs to share.
3. Steer conversations to the topic of terrorism. Improve your ability to start casual conversations and gently open those conversations to the topic of terrorism, and improve your ability to do it in a way that prevents others from being turned off by it. Terrorism can be an ugly and scary subject if not approached in the right way. Influencing opinions is a vital task you can do to fight terrorism. Ideas and opinions are the driving force behind world events. You can change someone's opinion about terrorism, but you must first be talking about terrorism. Follow the link above and begin today.
4. Learn more about influencing people. Once you have someone in a conversation, how can you change their opinions? How can you successfully influence them? This is also a skill you can improve with know-how and practice. Skill can win people to a new way of thinking. A lack of skill can entrench them more solidly in their old way of thinking. Skill is all-important, and it can be improved, no matter how good you are already. Follow the link above and get started.
5. When you find a good article online, share it. This is one of the easiest ways to make a difference. If you do it well, you can enhance the impact of what you share. Follow the link for some good tips on how to do it well.
6. Help people see the URL WhatYouCanDoAboutIslam.com. The domain name goes to our master list of things you can do. Add the domain address to your email signature. Print it on business cards and post them on bulletin boards. Get a bumper sticker with the address on it. Not everyone is interested in the topic, but those who are will be curious when they see the URL, and you've just sent them to a good resource. Another one to send people to, which has been especially designed as a gentle introduction to Islam is InquiryIntoIslam.com.
7. Take the pledge and read the Koran. There are many good reasons for doing this. First of all, you will find out for yourself what Islam is about. But also, when you're talking to other people, you'll have an authority others just don't have when it comes to Islam. Anyone can read it. Follow the link above to get a good recommendation for a modern-English version (many versions are written in Old English for some reason, which isn't very easy to read). Take the pledge and do it.
And read about Islam. Become familiar with the subject. Read The Sword of the Prophet and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (two of my favorites). There are many to choose from. Not all books are created equal. When you find a really good one, get it in an audio format and listen to it while you drive. This way you can easily listen to the same material many times. When you share information or perspectives with someone, you have a good opportunity to really illuminate the subject for them. If you have only a vague understanding of something you read only once, you'll find it hard to be lucid or convincing, and you'll fail to persuade. Part of persuasion is knowing what you're talking about. The other part is skill with people.
You want to do something about terrorism. You want to halt the terrorists in their tracks. Excellent! Choose one of the seven ideas above — the one that appeals to you the most — and do it. On behalf of all of us, I thank you for your intention and effort.
In the comments below, I have added other ways a citizen can help halt terrorism, and I will keep adding them as I get new information. I encourage you to add to the list yourself.