They want Al-Eidani to apologize

Basra governor’s remarks spark protests by Bani Malik Tribe

BASRA — Basra Governor Asaad Al-Eidani’s comments regarding the origins of the Bani Malik tribe have provoked widespread anger, resulting in protests across Iraq’s southern province. During a recent funeral ceremony, Al-Eidani had asked whether the Bani Malik tribe was from outside Basra province. This sparked a backlash from Bani Malik tribesmen who interpreted Al-Eidani’s remarks as suggesting that they did not belong in the province.

Sheikh Salam Al-Maliki, leader of the Bani Malik tribe, expressed strong disapproval of Al-Eidani’s statements. “I heard the Basra Governor’s comments which aimed to belittle and show ignorance of the significant presence and influence of the Bani Malik tribe. The history of Bani Malik cannot be ignored,” Al-Maliki stated.

An audio recording from another Bani Malik tribal elder also criticized Al-Eidani’s remarks. “Anyone who tries to undermine the tribe’s prestige will face a bigger response than expected. This talk is rejected by the Bani Malik tribe members, and we will take a stand that history will witness,” the elder said.

Another Bani Malik figure, Sheikh Hussein Abdul Salam Al-Armash Al-Maliki, called for a demonstration on Facebook, urging all Bani Malik tribe members to assemble in the Al-Alwa area of Basra to address the perceived insult. In response, large numbers of Bani Malik tribe members gathered in Al-Alwa, part of the Al-Thaghr subdistrict, to protest. Durign the gathering, tribal leader Hadi Al-Maliki stated, that Al-Eidani must apologize to the Bani Malik tribe.

“If he does not, we will protest in front of the Basra governor’s office,” he added.

In response to the backlash, Al-Eidani issued a statement clarifying that his remarks had been misunderstood. In an audio recording, the governor stated, “The matter was unfortunately distorted. We were at a mourning ceremony, and I was joking about a project in Al-Qurna. I said I didn’t know there was a Bani Malik neighborhood in Al-Qurna.”

Al-Eidani continued, “I meant no insult. I said that Bani Malik’s ancestors are from Al-Sarifa, and this is a source of pride. We are also from a village in Shatt Al-Arab. The statement was misinterpreted, and the video was edited unfairly.”

He added that he did not know why the video was filmed or edited the way it was. “I said that the province belongs to its people, just as we came from a village and now live in the city,” Al-Eidani said. Despite the governor’s attempts to mitigate the situation, the Bani Malik tribe continues to demand an official apology.