Great essay by Kenan Malik, and I can get behind most of it.
I only object to the term "moral nihilist" being applied to al-Abdaly. I realise that it's not meant in the technical sense, but it's still misleading. More likely, the guy was the very opposite of a moral nihilist; he was a fanatical moral absolutist, and this is something well worth emphasising. Fanatical moral absolutism is a far greater danger to us than any sort of nihilism that deserves the name.
Genuine moral nihilists tend to pretty nice people, and morally good ones by any standard of morality that is likely to attract approval from me and my readers. In fact, the world might well be a kinder, gentler place if most of us were moral nihilists. Someone needs to write a book on the virtues of moral nihilism.