It's not just your imagination, anti-Muslim hate crimes really are at their highest point since 9/11.
In a phenomenon the New York Times is calling "hate search," they've been able to draw a direct correlation between Islamophobic Google search history and actual crimes presumably committed by people searching for ways to "kill Muslims."
The Times analyzed data from 2004 to 2013 and found that spikes in searches are directly related to spikes in crimes.
When Islamophobic searches are at their highest levels, such as during the controversy over the “ground zero mosque” in 2010 or around the anniversary of 9/11, hate crimes tend to be at their highest levels, too.
According to our model, when all the data is analyzed by the F.B.I., there will have been more than 200 anti-Muslim attacks in 2015, making it the worst year since 2001.
It dawned on me yesterday as I was searching for recent crimes that my search criteria may be reflected in this kind of data, but I doubt similar news-gathering searches would be enough to dramatically affect the Times' model.
When all is said and done a count of 200 hate crimes may be a bit low. There have been so many cases of arson and vandalism over recent days it would require a full time commitment to document every single one of them.