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Ghost Canyon

E.E. Hunt   (Author - 'Paris On Fire') E.E. Hunt (Author - 'Paris On Fire')

'Keeping the Home Fires Burning'

Ernest Hunt delivers an amazing message to benefit humanity in 'Paris On Fire' (Publish America), the sequel to 'Paris Under Siege,' that continues to bring awareness to the plight of Muslim women and reflects his keen interest in international Muslim relations.

He firmly believes that dedicated Muslims committed to women's rights do exist and while there are fanatics in all religions, he knows there are also heroes and heroines, as evidenced by the return of his ‘four musketeers’ in the suspense-filled pages of his riveting sequel.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ernest Hunt about his latest book, 'Paris On Fire,' and first wondered, being that this is the sequel to 'Paris Under Siege,' what could we now expect from this book - as he continues to bring awareness to the plight of Muslim women? "Paris Under Siege” was written earlier and contained the rescue of one of the four musketeers, Charles Winthrop, in the desert by Fatima, an Egyptian flight attendant. After her routine air travel to an oil town in Algeria named Hassi Messaoud she was trapped in a pogrom against women. The United Nations condemned the actual horror of 300 women tortured, raped and killed after an Islamic Inman accused all women without a male protector of being prostitutes."

"Of course the women were only working as household cleaners or in beauty salons to help their families in Algiers, but I write that my heroine was taken hostage there by Aboud Ali Qadir, a disgruntled product of the real Algerian-French war between 1954 and the early 1960’s. When Winthrop, an undercover agent, is taken prisoner in the desert Fatima helps him ride a camel in a perilous escape to Tunisia, and eventually Paris. At a shootout in the foyer of the American Cathedral Aboud is wounded, but recovers in “Paris On Fire.”

"He escapes the American Hospital to return to the Casbah in Algiers in order to recruit fanatics (also from a documented group) to join him to embarrass the French and the Americans in Paris by more terrorist attacks. Fatima, with other Muslim women who resist enslavement, continues to try to defeat Aboud."

This sequel also contains the return of your 'four musketeers' - please tell us more about this group and what their roles are "The four musketeers are Charles Winthrop, a New Yorker deeply affected by the destruction of the Twin Towers in Manhattan on 9/11; Penny Wilson, an outspoken New York reporter; Steve Hallcroft, the political officer at the U.S Embassy; and Fatima el Yousseff, whose name is similar to that of a recent popular Egyptian singer. The four trace Aboud to Algiers and especially the Casbah, high above the port of Algiers where there is another shootout in a hideaway but Aboud escapes again. The four work as a team as before."

Throughout the two books, we are not only shown the plight of Muslim women, but see quite clearly your very own keen interest in international Muslim relations. Why has this subject matter become so intensely personal to you to now tell in these books? "I believe that the majority of Muslims are moderate and that only a handful, compared to the nearly 2 billion in the world, want to attack the secular west. These are the Muslims who gain our attention, however, even though in Paris there is a Muslim institute working to establish how Muslims, used to a theocratic society and a strict law, can exist in a pluralistic world."

"France is secular and there is a firm separation of church and state: hence all legal marriages are performed in the mayor’s office, not in any church, or temple. Those so inclined voluntarily go to their parish church afterwards for a blessing. There has been a problem in Paris when girls want to wear their habij over their heads in school and it has caused controversy, but we in the States are more used to religious diversity and expect it. For example, the Amish live here according to their conscience and custom, and so do the vast majority of Muslims."

What was one of the hardest parts of this tale to tell, of a chapter in this book to write - and why? "The hardest part was when the female Ambassador was taken hostage in the Ritz hotel by Aboud. I had to be sure to write about how it could happen in detail even though she had bodyguards."

"The second hardest part was to describe the (documented) riots in the poor suburbs where disenfranchised North Africans often congregate. Unemployment is high in this group and these men, mostly, could be easily exploited by a fanatic. I believe that France, like the States, needs to work on the problem."

"The third hardest part was describing how a few Muslim women could together wreak a revenge on Aboud for his fanaticism and ill treatment of women."

Finally, being that riots run amok in the streets of Paris as terrorists take the American Ambassador to France hostage and try to destroy the Eiffel Tower, did you travel to Paris, France yourself - just to get a real feel for the city/country, perhaps? "As a member of the Episcopal clergy I was elected Dean of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (commonly referred to as the American Cathedral) in 1992 and lived in its deanery on Avenue George the V, between the Seine River and the Champs Elysees for nearly 11 years before retiring. The Cathedral contained a Battle Memorial Cloister for both World Wars, all the flags of the Union are hung high inside, and it is part of the 70 million member Anglican Communion."

"The building predates the Eiffel Tower and has the highest church spire in Paris. Many ambassadors and embassy people attend. I had to learn French, gain a French Driver’s license and obtain legal visas for those years. I drove all over Paris in my car as well as most of France on occasion. The Cathedral has a great diversity of people from all countries and, interestingly enough, visitors often from other faiths."

"For example, a Bosnian refugee briefly sang in our volunteer choir, which is the largest of all Paris. He once jokingly said in our coffee hour: “This is the first time I have been around Christians who did not try to kill me!” I am proud of him and of the many others who have refuge during conflicts in any continent."

Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk

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