It seems that there are several issues at stake here.
1. In a republic where one can exercise religion more freely than one has been able to do so in almost two generations, what is the line between expressing religion and reactionary religion? Or, more critically, what is the relationship between the state and religion?
2. There is the the usual undercurrent that devout Muslims are dangerous Muslims. Bars are the signifiers of a truly open society. I think as a metric, it’s a bit bizarre, but it’s the lens of the NYT. It’s not only possible, but quite normal, to be devout and be non-threatening. I grew up in NY, went to college at Columbia and have never had a drink of alcohol. The only thing I’ve ever massacred is a couple of dinners, and it was always unintentional. I’m curious if the rise of devotion amongst the Orthodox Christians is a concern, since they killed tens of thousands of people during the civil war.
3. Religion defines people. Sometimes its hum that underlies everything, other times it is the yell that subsumes everything. There is bound to be some reactionary identification when people were slaughtered for their beliefs, whether they believed or not. How that reaction is managed and channeled is where the difficulty is.
4. The stench of the putrid body of Wahhabi ideology is present. Andras Riedlmayer, an expert on the war crimes against Bosnian heritage, has commented extensively as to how Wahhabis have come into Bosnia and offered money for the destruction of Bosnian culture and heritage, and are intent on wiping out their souls as well. I was a Muslim leaders conference and mentioned that while the US was late to the game in Bosnia, at least they showed up, while the Arab states ignored the plight of their “Muslim brethren.” There was an expected outcry, with the Saudis claiming that I don’t know what they did because they did things in secret like good Muslims. When has the Saudi state done anything in secret? This cleansing of the spirit of Muslims is not being done in secret. The movement of Afghan Arabs to Bosnia was not done in secret, it was to keep them from turning on the Saudi state. Flood the area with guns, killers, and blood money, then sweep in and complete the destruction. Of all the things the article addresses, this point is the one that needs more attention.