There is much to compliment in the New York Times feature about one of the more mysterious and complex streams of Islam, a story that ran under the headline, "Sufi Sect of Islam Draws ‘Spiritual Vagabonds’ in New York."
The story clearly states, as fact, that many Muslims reject Sufism and it's willingness -- in some settings, at least -- to edit or mold Islam into forms that appeal to spiritual seekers in the early 21st Century, even in some of the edgier corners of New York City.
The the big idea of this piece is perfectly obvious, as stated in this summary statement well into this long story:
... For all its liberal trappings, Sufism cannot be detached from Islam. “Sufism isn’t just a label you wear; it’s a state of being,” said John Andrew Morrow, an Islam scholar and author. “You can’t pick and choose parts of Islam, and you can’t mislead sincere people, drawing them into Sufism without telling them this is fundamentally linked to Islam.”
That's the big question: Can you pick and choose?
The story does not hide the fact that people are, in fact, picking and choosing. There are clear elements of Islamic doctrine that have gone missing, as the Sufi converts in New York City have embraced this faith.
Again, the story does not hide this. In fact, it celebrates it.