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Showing posts from November, 2017

Wilfrid Laurier and the Creep of Critical Theory - Quillette

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I found this article, The Creep of Critical Theory, most enlightening.  It certainly helps — at least it helped me — understand what is going on with the young horrors, the Social Justice Warriors at American universities. Their de-platforming, their shouting down different views, their "punch a Nazi" rhetoric.  The author sums it up as the battle between Mill and Marcuse. With the latter winning.  The battle between critical thinking and Critical Theory; with the latter winning.  The battle between bottom-up debate and top-down diktat; with the latter winning.
The battle between Free speech and “fighting oppression"; with the latter winning.  Marcuse's influential essay was called RepressiveTolerance. Sounds creepy to me. But it's what Marcuse was after and it's what he's getting.  Repression by the Left of any but their opinions, all with the goal, apparently, of fighting oppression. Now read on....

Misunderstanding Capitalism - Quillette

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Great article, Misunderstanding Capitalism, in Quilette, a moderate left-ish site, and on the right side of this question! Only those that have not lived and worked in a socialist economy could be so deluded as to think socialism has anything to add to human happiness. Apart from their own shivers of feel-good.
I've lived in socialism -- what many called communism at the time -- namely mid-seventies China, when it was in what later became known as "the last stages of the Cultural Revolution".  The Cultural Revolution, that is, that killed millions and impoverished tens of millions in its quest to establish perfect socialism.  That's always the way if you look around: from the Soviet Union to Venezuela via Vietnam and North Korea.
Read on...

Why Israel is the new promised land for Chinese investors | South China Morning Post

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Get in on the action! Two of the most successful business cultures join hands: "Israel is the new promised land for Chinese investors".
China's total investment in Israel almost tripled last year to US$16 billion (HK$125 million), largely driven by a surge in funding in Israel's hi-tech industry, according to ZAG-S&W, a Tel Aviv-based law firm specialising in cross-border transactions. Meanwhile, the number of deals involving at least one Chinese investor in Israel's hi-tech sector also increased by 16 percent year-on-year, shown in data from Israel's IVC Research Centre.

Attack on Egyptian mosque shows Islamic State remains a deadly threat but may also be a sign of desperate infighting | SCMP

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The headline in the print version of this article in the South China Morning Post was different: "Motive for mosque murder a mystery" It's only a "mystery" to those who are thoroughly ignorant of Islam. As the authors of this article in the left-leaning Washington Post clearly are.  As soon as you see that it was a SUFI mosque that ISIS attacked, all is clear.  Under the concept of Takfir, Sufis -- actually a sect of mainly Sunni  Muslims -- are considered non-Muslims by mainstream Sunni and Shi'a alike, and which together amount to about 98% of Muslims.  Worse: Sufis are considered Apostates. Apostates are the worst of the worst and the crime of apostasy is worse than murder.  So killing them is natural for the likes of the Sunni-based ISIS.  One despairs at the ignorance in the western media, fully 16 years after 9/11.  A related article in Bloomberg states that Muslims are often the first victims of Muslim terrorism. As if that somehow excuses the horrid…

How this Israeli internet star captured Chinese hearts | SCMP

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This is fun! "How Israeli internet star captured Chinese hearts", in the South China Morning Post
Born in Tel Aviv, Raz Gal-Or's dad moved the family to China when he was 13... where he has thrived.

Good riddance mad mutti Merkel

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I've often had a go against "Mad Mutti Merkel".  She's responsible -- she, she alone -- for the uncontrolled immigration into Europe of millions of Muslims, many of whom are anti-western and some of whom ("some" being a not insignificant number) are violently anti-western.
Ross Douthat, in today's New York Times says:
That [leader-of-the-free-world] mystique is undeserved because it is too kind to her decision, lauded for its idealism but ultimately deeply reckless and destabilizing, to swiftly admit a million-odd migrants into the heart of Europe in 2015. No recent move has so clearly highlighted the undemocratic, Berlin-dominated nature of European decision making and the gulf between the elite consensus and popular opinion. And no move has contributed so much to the disturbances since — the worsening of Europe’s terrorism problem, the shock of Brexit and the rise of Trump, and the growing divide between the E.U.’s Franco-German core and its eastern na…

"Muslim Anti-semitism Threatens France's Democracy” | Newsweek

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Here we have the threat of Muslim antisemitism in France, reported in the left-of-centre Newsweek, so it must be right.
There's a lot more of academic research about the deep roots of Muslim jew-hate, which goes back to the days of Muhammad.  See Andrew Bostom's book, cover above, which sits in my library, and is a damning recital of how Muslims have hated the jews since they launched themselves out of the Middle East.
Christopher Hitchens believed that it was all down to the fact that the Jews laughed at him when he went around claiming to be the new prophet.
Just recently someone in France got hauled in by the plod, because he had said that Muslims in France are anti-semitic.  They are.  So he was collared for stating a fact.

Why don’t we convert prime waterfront land at Hong Kong’s shrinking port into housing? | SCMP

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Well, this is a good idea that Jake has been pushing for some time. 
It seems the key step is for Beijing to repeal cabotage rules: rules that currently prohibit foreign ships taking goods between mainland China ports. According to Jake that's very much on Beijing's agenda and is being pushed by foreign shippers. 
This would be clearly better than yet more reclamation or yet more bubbling away at country parks. 
Let's see and cross fingers for the demise of cabotage...

Muslim Women Must Speak for Ourselves - The New York Times

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"Islamophobia and racism are real." says Mona Eltahawy (Let's call out patriarchy, #DearSister, iNYT, November 20).  Maybe so, but these terms are now routinely used as verbal kill shots to shut up any opponent.  "Islamophobia", for example - a term invented by Islamists [Muslim Brotherhood] -  is used to shout down any critic of Islam (an idea) whether Muslim or not and no matter how valid the criticism. We don't talk of "Cathophobia" when we criticise that Catholicism.  A better term would be "anti-Muslim bigotry". That defines a pernicious bigotry about people that certainly exists, which I assume is what Ms Eltahawy is referring to, and which must surely be called out.  DearSister, could you not change to using that term [anti-Muslim bigotry]? Instead of the tired and inaccurate "Islamophobia"?   Ditch a term of the Islamist patriarchy that we share in deploring.  Pf

Three steps to tackle Hong Kong’s traffic chaos, and avoid pointless consultations on tunnel tolls | SCMP

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Spot on Mike!
Three more examples of what I pointed out recently about this government: its "do nothing" proclivity. I don't think Chief Executive Carrie Lam is a "do nothinger", but she's frustrated by the system. Neither run by single party, nor fully democratic, the "opposition" in HK can't attain government and so spends its time obstructing pretty much everything.
Here Mike points out three things it could do which would have public support. No need for more consultations or studies.
Just do it!
But it probably won't. The key requirement: "courage". Don't hold your breath for any government to show "courage", as Sir Humphrey points out in a famous episode of "Yes, Minister".
Amazingly though, Carrie Lam did sign a deal over the weekend that gives mainland officials the right to handle, here in Kowloon, passengers going to China on fast trains. Much objected to by the some in the Legislature, for conce…

"Trump’s Asia tour reinforced America’s declining influence, but China still has reason to worry" | SCMP

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In the print edition this morning the headline for this article in the South China Morning Post is "Don't write off U.S. in Asia yet", which gives a different flavour than the headline in the online version of the very same article (above), don't you think?
Anyway, what's interesting about this article is that Philip Bowring, a long-time observer in Asia, is a bit of a Leftie and usually anti-American. Here he says don't write off the US in Asia. And on that point I surely agree.  By the way I don't know why newspapers insist on giving different headlines for print and online editions. What gives? I don't get it.

Nearly Half of Canadians Have Negative Feelings Towards Islam: Poll - VICE

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"Twice as many Canadians say the presence of Islam in their country's public life is damaging as say the same about any other religion..."
And they'd be right...

China isn’t a big threat to the US - The Boston Globe

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Good article by a mate in Boston.

I agree with pretty much all of it, though wouldn't be quite so worried about US debt, for a variety of reasons, that I may get around to spelling out, or not….

LATER: Debt "not a problem" (per me, and without googling):

1.  The market for US debt tells us it's not.  If it were, US Treasuries would be sold off leading to higher interest rates.  Rates remain at historical lows, indicating the HUGE (bigger than the share markets) international fixed-interest market has no concerns.  

2.  The US $ is the world's reserve currency. So no exchange rate risk in the increasing debt.  

3.  U.S. Debt/GDP ratio -- iirc -- is middling to high, not the highest and not in the concern area. 

4.  Most debt is domestic: money the US owes to itself.

“Benign America?” | SCMP

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This article (*) by Jean-Pierre Lehmann really annoyed me.  Sure, make the case in the online headline ("Why fears over a malign China replacing a benign America are a gross distortion of history").
No good to be in thrall to America and unduly suspicious of China.
But it's wrong to go to the other extreme, equating the US to the Soviet Union and China purely as a victim of the west's perfidy.  American has indeed been the guarantor of post-war wealth creation.  And China has indeed remained a Leninist dictatorship, despite all the economic growth.  People voting with their feet still prefer the US to China.

Specific things that annoyed me:

"Harping on US leadership through "western values" is to delve into mythology".
Western values in scare quotes and some kind of "mythology"??  This is west-bashing lunacy of the first order. I'm not sure I can even be bothered to counter it, it's so absurd. Since the Renaissance, there has been…

Australia’s Refugee Policy of Cruelty - The New York Times

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LETTER TO NEW YORK TIMES: No, Lisa Pryor, Australia is not "providing inspiration for far-right movements in Europe and North America" by its refugee policy. (Australia's Refugee Policy of Cruelty, 17 November).  The reverse is true. We are implementing a policy that the majority of Australians support and Europeans would love to implement to avoid further Lampedusa-like chaos.  If European politicians had acted more robustly to halt the flow of economic migrants that the majority of the so-called "refugees" are, the rise of the far-right would have been halted not enabled. It's precisely the elitist views of the likes of Ms. Pryor that forced frustrated voters to the right.   Let the people have power over the policy on who comes to our country. That's democracy, not populism.  Pf, etc...

The Secret to Long Life? It May Lurk in the DNA of the Oldest Among Us - NYT

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Mr. Sisnett, who grew his own food until he was 105, was "still fascinated by seeing a nice-looking backside" when he was in his 110s, his daughter, Everine Carter, 88, recalled in a telephone interview. ["The Secret to Long Life",  New York Times, 17 Nov] Mr Sisnett.... "still fascinated by seeing a nice-looking backside"....  As was our dear old Dad, bless.

Is the US retreat from Asia drawing China, Japan and South Korea closer together? | SCMP

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Stories like this every day since Trump went back home and hard to gainsay them. Good or bad? Rather depends on your views on values. If you're happy with the mild despotism of China, the acquiescence in that despotism of neighbours Korea and Japan and believe economic growth is the only thing that matters then you're fine with all this.
The US, despite recent anti-US articles in the Post, maintained for 70 years the rights of feee navigation in Asia for all and the primacy of democracy and free trade.
Until Trump, that is.
So that's a loss if those values are more important to you.

Britain’s most hated man isn’t all that hateful | The Spectator

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I've always thought Tommy Robinson is neither racist nor far-right. And I've seen a lot of his videos and writings.  But he's been "un-ticked" on Twitter for being "far right" in a Twitter change of policy in which they've now taken it on themselves to police the thought, not just the authenticity, of their users. Big mistake.  Anyway, Tommy has been served badly by Twitter here. People ought to read and watch him themselves not rely on the smears by MSM.  Here is James Delingpole making the same points in The Spectator.  It's time Tommy was treated fairly. 

"Let food trucks be powered by market forces” | SCMP

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They published my letter in today's South China Morning Post.  Hardly an earth-shattering subject, nothing like the geo-politics in my immediately preceding post.
But still, it reflects just how incompetent this government has become.  Timid, do-nothing.  How much have they done nothing about? The west Kowloon cultural centre; a post-Octopus cashless payment system; a rational system to run the cross-harbour tunnels; delays in starting the third runway; support for local technology; driverless cars; and so on.
The food trucks fiasco is just an example.  It ought to be easy to fix.  But they won't fix it, is my bet. I hope I'm proven wrong, for the sake of the remaining operators.
The editorial in today's SCMP also takes the government to task for lack of innovation.
My letter:
Let food trucks be powered by market forces
Food trucks have been in the news again for all the wrong ­reasons, with some having failed and only a few remaining. Niall Fraser excoriates the govern…

Home Truths: China, US and Asia

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Hugh White is a Canberran and Australian National University alumnus (as am I) and we worked together at the Office of National Assessments in 1983. So, kind of colleagues of old.  He's now professor of strategic studies at the ANU.  I always read his articles which are reliably robust and hard-nosed, if somewhat too pro-Chinese and anti-American for my taste.(If pressed I'd allow that this latter judgment may be a touch too strong).  He is widely read and influential in Australian policy-making circles.  This is his latest in the South China Morning Post today.  He makes some good points in this article about the difficulties of Quad countries (America, India, Japan and Australia) face in countering China's rise in the region. Basically that each has too much to lose in doing so.   Oh... and that Trump's recent visit didn't help.  As I said before: people are looking for some strategy; yet see nothing but sartorial posturing (those fancy shirts) and hearing nothing but …

“Tariq Ramadan, a star of Europe’s Muslim intelligentsia, confronts accusations of rape” | Economist

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In addition to a few of Ramadan's "conservative views" mentioned hereTheEconomist fails to mention that he does not condemn the stoning of women to death for adultery. He said there should be a "moratorium" on stoning until we "considered it"! This is the man lionised on the Left for being, they claim, the voice of "moderate Islam".  Yeah, right.  Ramadan is a thoroughly oleaginous character who speaks with two tongues. One for the western lefties and useful idiots, smooth and comforting. Another for his Muslim audience, in Arabic, explaining the ultimate aim of Islam, its supremacy over the world. That is all documented in detail in the book "Brother Tariq" which one should read if interested in the topic of Europe, Islam and the Islamisation of Europe.
LATER: Ramadan really is a POS. I’ve known this for ages, about his apologia for Islam. He speaks with forked tongue. But I didn’t know until just now about his nasty sexual predat…

The Chinese love Trump, because.....

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.... an old mate and colleague living in Beijing, says....
Yes, he sort of enjoys some popularity here. A multitude of reasons,including:

a) they hate blacks, and sense Donald is a racist which he isb) they hate paying taxes and therefore reckon Donald is probably brilliantif he is setting out to bring tax rates downc) they have the Great Wall here which is an icon of national pride andtherefore think it is probably a solid idea if Donald wants to build one onthe southern borderd) every day in the press the subtle messaging is that Donald sort of agreeswith all of the things which China considers are its core interests including being the dominant regional playere) they admire so called self-made men who have lots of pretty women floating aroundForse, it is all pretty underwhelming stuff!I can confirm that Chinese, in China, are racist.  At least that it's extremely common. I have very close people who are.  It's the sort of lazy, casual racism that used to be common in the wes…

When inequality is better than equality

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Lest people think from my previous post that I'm anti-equality or that I'm pro-inequality, let me state: of course I'm pro-equality.  Who is not?
The problem is that darned thing: actual experience.
Which tells me: there are times and situations in which inequality is better than equality.
China, in the chart above, is an example.
NOTE: this chart is created by me on Excel using purely notional figures.  I haven't gone off to Google to find that actual info, partly because I'm too lazy and partly because I know the basic story. I lived it. I arrived in China in 1976, towards the end of those "years of equality" (in chart above), observed and reported on China and its economy (for the Australian government, then for business clients) for decades, and still do so, from time to time, from my eyrie here in Hong Kong, now an inaliable part of our dear mother country, China.So that's why there's no label on the Y-axis. I wouldn't want anyone to thin…

In defence of billionaires

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LATER: Ben Shapiro also hates The Guardian article: above.

LETTER TO SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST: The three richest people in the US — Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett — own as much wealth as the bottom half of the US population or 160 million people.  That's the eye-popping opening of The Guardian article reprinted in your paper today ("Top three in US own more than bottom half", 10 November).  One's first reaction is likely: "my goodness that's a moral crisis!" Indeed, those are the very words of the report's author, the progressive Institute for Policy Studies. The growing wealth gap, it asserts, is "not just bad economics, it's a moral crisis." But is it?  These three billionaires have committed to use for charity or to donate fully 99% of their wealth before they die (that’s a quarter of a Trillion dollars).  Both Gates and Buffett have started that process. Think Gates' anti-malaria campaigns in Africa and Buffet's …

Qatar wants to buy “our airline”. This can’t be good.

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LETTER TO SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST:
Let's see. Cathay Pacific, a private airline still viewed fondly as our "flag carrier", has allowed the sale of 10% of its shares to Qatar Airways, an arm of the Qatari government.
And we're OK with that?
Cathay is OK with that?
Our government is OK with that?
Qatar runs its country according to sharia law. Polygamy is permitted. Women's testimony is half that of a man's. Apostasy and blasphemy are punished by jail or death.
Qatar stones people to death. It flogs people for consuming alcohol or having "illicit"sexual relations. These are their sharia-mandated hudud punishments.
In short: Qatar is run by Wahhabi sharia law and Qatar Airlines is 98% owned by this horrid government.
So now we have an entity aiming to take over "our Cathay" as a direct part of a hardline Wahhabist sharia government.
Do we think that Qatar will balk from pursuing its Wahhabist agenda when it is part owner and would-be majorit…

Eating more meat MAY increase your risk of stomach cancer by 4 thousandths of one percent. Yikes!

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LATER (10 Nov): I changed the headline of this post, reporting the results of research on the relationship between processed meats and stomach cancer rates. They had headlined it with the much more sexy, newsworthy, accurate but misleading. eating processed meats increases cancer risk by 18%.
If you increase something tiny by a tiny percentage point it’s still tiny. That’s the nub of it. That’s the real risk of stomach cancer from meat eating: tiny. 

Full disclosure: I've used all meat and not just processed meat (PM) in my analysis here.  That's because finding world figures for PM are, for me at least, hard to find.  And for sure there's going to be increased risk from PM vs all meats, if only because of the salt content. To balance that, though, I've used figures for only the top 20 countries for stomach cancer rates.  If we took all countries' rates, they would be lower, so this balances out.  In any case, I'm after a illustrative pattern here, not exactitude…

Open door to migrants makes Germany terror hub of Europe | World | The Times & The Sunday Times

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How amazing. No one could have predicted this:
Intelligence sources have revealed to The Sunday Times that more than 9,000 suspected terrorist plots against European countries have been discovered in recent years. Many were foiled before the attackers reached Europe. But most of the recent cases are linked to the migration of late 2015, when Germany opened its borders to Syrian and other refugees to avoid a humanitarian emergency.Since then police have received more than 1,900 reliable tip-offs about terrorists among the refugee population. More than 70 investigations are under way, with authorities carrying out an average of three to four house searches a week.Many of America's considerable intelligence resources in Germany are focusing on terrorist threats, a majority of them emanating from migrant communities. Germany, say intelligence sources, has become Europe's prime "terror hub".Read on... 

Swedish photographers.... who...

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LETTER TO BBC

…. who see nothing…. (hear nothing, say nothing)

Sweden is facing major issues from Islamic immigration.  
If you took your BBC boasts of fearless factual reporting, you would not air puff pieces like the one this morning (HK time) on the BBC World Service, an interview with two Swedish photographers who found everything in Sweden absolutely fine.  "Nothing to see here".
It's anything but fine, as I can personally attest after a recent visit there.
Just one example, the Australian 60 Minutes team, gets attacked.    (https://youtu.be/OmUcbHf7hC4es)
You should not be complicit in the willful blindness of Sweden's bien pensants.  
Those who point out the problems are not "extreme right wing".  They're genuinely concerned folk who are rightly concerned that their fine and open society is being subverted. That's not nativitst, racist or xenophobic and shame on you all at the BBC for suggesting so.
Where's the BBC in the struggle to upho…

Food trucks

LETTER TO SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST:

Food trucks are much in the news again for all the wrong reasons.  Several have failed and the remaining few are in a parlous state.
Niall Fraser excoriates the government's handing of them, and he's right to do so. ("Food trucks hard to stomach after glory days of street stalls", 1 November0 But what to do now? To abandon the program would punish the remaining trucks, which have invested millions of dollars. Surely the solution is easy. This is not rocket science!  Food trucks are successful in other countries, why not here? The answer is simple: the dead hand of bureaucrats. Get them out of the way. Allow the trucks to locate where they want to (with limited exclusion zones).  Scrap the requirement for a "back up kitchen".  Allow more trucks to operate without the ridiculous tests the first batch had to go through (only a bureaucrat….) In short: Let market forces bloom. Get the dead hand of government off the trucks. An…

“Countries in region fearful of China’s rise” | SCMP 6 November

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A Letter to the Editor headline caught my attention in this morning's South China Morning Post. The letter seemed familiar; then realised it was mine....
Countries in region fearful of China's rise Niall Ferguson is right to cast doubts on the West's fawning encomiums of President Xi Jinping ("Western praise for Xi Jinping seemingly knows no bounds", October 31). More telling are the views of China's Asia-Pacific neighbours towards Xi and to China's rise. A recent Pew poll reveals that only 34 percent expect Xi to "do the right thing" regarding world affairs. Nine in 10 believe China's increased military spending is a "bad thing" and 47 percent believe that its rise is a "major threat" to their country. Despite Xi's authoritarian tendencies, the rise of social media means he has to take more notice of the Chinese people. So he vows to "develop consultative democracy". Let us hope that he will also take notice of t…

Global Gender Gap Report 2016 — Islamic countries sweep the pool

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One thing jumps out — to me, anyway — from the latest report of the World Economic Forum on gender equality:
Each and every one of the bottom twenty countries in the rankings, that is the countries with the worst record for gender *IN*equality in the world — each and every one is an Islam-dominated country. Each one is a member of the Organisation of the Islamic Congress.  To restate: 100% of the bottom 20 countries are Islamic controlled.

Correlation is not (necessarily) causation. We know that.
But it is causation in this case: because the dominant ideology of Islam is at core misogynist. The reason these countries have no gender equality is because their prophet Muhammad told them women are stupid, silly and worth only one half of a man. Look at hell, he said, and you'll find it filled with women.  See my tag: what Islamic law (Sharia) and the Koran teach about women, here.
That's why these countries are at the bottom of a gender equality index.
Yet women like Linda Sarsou…

‘Allahu Akbar’: An Everyday Phrase, Tarnished by Attacks - The New York Times

I'm sorry Mr Ali, but you can't have your "Allahu akbar" back ("I want 'Allahu akbar' back", 3 November).
Any more than the Japanese could have back their "Banzai" from WW2, which literally means "long life", but presaged their suicide attacks.  Just like today's jihadis.   Or any more than we can take back "gay" as meaning "happy".  Or "fake news" from meaning, well, literally, fake news.  That's just the way it is, I'm afraid. Jihadis call on their god just before they kill innocents, and we infidels are going to connect the two. And, By the way, why is it that your primary concern after the death of 8 innocents is about your religion?  And not about them?  As Maajid Nawaz said to Linda Sarsour on the same topic, on Twitter: "You. Are. Not. The. Victim". Many will think this of your self-pitying article: How dare you?
Pf