It's nice to see that others are finally beginning to notice how fraudulent the whole 'Moderate Islam' project that Malaysia is trying to schlep on the rest of the world.
... a closer inspection of the realities on the ground would indicate that Malaysia is no closer to realising the goals of a universal, humanist, tolerant, progressive and democratic Islam than it ever was..
As to why this noble goal isn't being realized, this author (a so-called Muslim Intellectual, an oxymoron if I ever heard one) himself begins to 'go off the rails'.
Islam can, and needs to, grow in the fertile environment of a free and tolerant society where Muslims can develop their personal capacity and exercise their individual agency to the fullest, realising the goal of the insan ul kamil — the perfect being in all of us. Police states, authoritarian regimes and maximalist governments bent on extending their spheres of power and control to all areas of human life invariably destroy the climate that normative Islam needs to flourish.
Never mind that Islam itself is a totalitarian social-economic-political-religious system, an authoritarian fascist order. The author's turn of phrase "... maximalist governments bent on extending their spheres of power and control to all areas of human life ..." sounds like a perfect description of Islam to me. But I'm sure pointing out this logic makes me an Islamophobe.
The unavoidable truth of Islam is not hard to understand--it is an inherently radical, extremist, violent, aggressive and intolerant ideology. Trying to revamp such a hate-filled ideology into something that is "humanist, tolerant, progressive and democratic" has never been successfully accomplished by anyone. Are current or future efforts to create a 'moderate Islam' going to generate any better or meaningful results to this end?
The whole idea that such efforts to moderate Islam are forever doomed to fail due to Islam's core principles (Jihad, dhimmitude, etc.) seems to be something that either no one is aware of, or is allowed to acknowledge openly. Moderate Muslims only exist when they ignore (not renounce or disavow) the more murderous parts of Islamic teachings, teachings that they may suddenly discover, learn, and act on at any time.
In fact, trying to construct something called 'Moderate Islam' is like trying to invent a perpetual motion machine. It's all well and good in theory, but in the real world it's impossible.