Anti-Muslim Searches Spiked After Orlando Shooting
According to Google Trends, a tool that measures the search interest of Google search engine users on specific words or phrases, searches for various anti-Muslim phrases multiplied just shortly after information about the Orlando shooting was released. This is the first time that searches for anti-Muslim phrases have seen a significant spike since the terrorist attacks in Brussels in March.
Phrases such as 'kill Muslims', 'Muslims are terrorists', 'stop Islam', 'hate Muslims' and 'Muslim ban' showed a significantly higher search interest, according to Google Trends and reports from Boise Weekly. The Google Trends data showed that the phrase 'hate Muslims' was the highest search interest recorded among the anti-Muslim phrases listed.
After the Brussels attacks in March, the phrase 'stop Islam' saw a significant spike in searches on Google. The presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump, has called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States and raised this point again on Twitter after the Orlando shooting.
Users searching for these phrases were shown to mostly be from the US, UK, Australia and Canada yet the same significant spike in these anti-Muslim phrases is seen even when the Google Trends data is limited to just users in the United States. The highest surge seen in searches for anti-Muslim phrases on Google was on November 13, after the attacks in Paris. The phrases also saw a significant increase after the San Bernardino attack on December 2.
According to a New York Times report in December, there have been direct correlations found between anti-Muslim searches and anti-Muslim hate crimes in the United States. The report also said that when Islamophobic are at their highest point, hate crimes would also be at their highest.
According to experts, the heightened Islamophobia shown through this spike in search interest is just what ISIS wants. Creating hostility between Muslims living in the West through terrorist attacks has always been seen to be part of ISIS's strategy.