In February 2001, Esad hoja was traveling outside of Sydney, Australia, when he was killed, along with his son-in-law, in a car accident. Esad hoja’s body was brought to Turkey for burial, and some controversy erupted when the then-coalition Democrat Left Party-Nationalist Action Party-Motherland Party cabinet approved plans to have Coşan buried in the cemetery attached to the Süleimaniye mosque where sheikh Mehmet Kotku and previous sheikhs in this Gümüşhanevi branch of the Naqshbandi order lay buried (and where we previously saw members of the order tending the graves and tidying up the cemetery). The decision was vetoed by then-President Sezer on the grounds that the constitution does not allow special privileges to some (Süleimaniye no longer being an active cemetery accepting burials), and Coşan was then buried in Eyüp, a center of pilgrimage and piety just beyond the historical walls of the city.1 Funeral prayers were conducted at the Fatih mosque, led by a former imam of the Iskender Pasha mosque, Mikdat Kutu, who also announced during his homily that leadership of the community had passed to Esad hoja’s son, Nureddin Coşan. Nureddin’s ability to continue the life of the order in a traditional structure was somewhat unclear, and I have been told by former members that both the number of the order’s adherents and the order’s future were uncertain.
KeywordsEuropean Union Civil Society Muslim Scholar Islamic Tradition Islamic Scholar
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