Journalist, 2015 International Woman of Courage
Arbana Xharra is an investigative journalist with international recognition. An expert on religious radicalization, she has authored a series of investigative reports on religious extremists and Turkey’s Islamic agenda operating in the Balkans and the European Union. Her articles were published in numerous world media outlets and prominent journals such as that of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Xharra won numerous awards for her reporting and was a 2015 recipient of the International Women of Courage Award from the U.S. State Department. She has been featured on a variety of television networks as an expert on religious freedom and human rights.
The campaign of terror against Xharra began when she started reporting on the rise of Islamic extremism in Kosovo in 2012. Because of her work as a journalist and her political opinions opposing religious extremism, she was subsequently inundated with threats of violent attack, rape and murder, aimed at herself and her two children. These threats escalated in a terrifying fashion, as unknown individuals drew crosses with red paint simulating dripping blood near her apartment door and her car. Shortly thereafter, on May 13, 2017, Xharra was ambushed and attacked in her own garage, leaving her hospitalized and traumatized.
Xharra moved to the U.S. with her children in 2018. She works for Alon Ben-Meir Institute, a non-profit human rights organization, as an investigative journalist, writer, and researcher.