It makes me proud that the government fears me and my words because somewhere they are being affected by the truth I am speaking. I am glad," says Rana Ayyub at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia today (8 April 2022).
Rana knows there will be consequences when she gets back to India, but fears being arrested. "I don't know what will happen when I get back, she says.
Still, keeping silent isn't an option, especially when everyday Muslim women are subjected to the same kinds of injustices, she said, like when Hindu priests organize a crowd to rape and abduct Muslim women.
"I don't have the luxury of taking a step back, of staying silent, because my country and my people need me. And there are so many of them who have placed their absolute trust and faith in me and I cannot betray their faith," she added.
According to her, the recent detention she was subjected to was humiliating and trivializing, but abuse and harassment have become routine for her over time.
ICFJ documents the onslaught of abuse aimed at Rana since 2019, wading through 8.5 million tweets.
An Indian Muslim woman who writes for The Washington Post, Rana is one of the harshest critics of Hindu nationalist Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.