NY times: THE audience erupted asAamir Liaquat Hussain, Pakistan’s premier televangelist, darted around the television studio, firing off questions about Islam. “How many gates are there to heaven?” he challenged.
Children leapt from their seats, their mothers yelled answers, fathers strained forward, all hoping to catch the eye of Mr. Hussain, who worked the crowd like a circus ringmaster — cajoling, teasing, rewarding.
“Show me the tongue of a snake!” he commanded a bearded man, as part of a question about symbolic serpents. The man obediently stuck out his tongue, prompting hoots of laughter.
To the victors, Mr. Hussain tossed prizes: mobile phones, tubs of cooking oil, chits for plots of land, shirts from his own clothing line. Then he vanished, briefly, only to return on a purring motorbike — also up for grabs.
When a shy-looking man answered Mr. Hussain’s theological teaser correctly, the preacher grabbed the man’s hand and thrust it high, in the manner of a prizefighter. The audience applauded.
“It’s the Islamic version of the ‘The Price is Right,’ ” said the studio manager, standing behind a camera.
Mr. Hussain, 41, is a broadcasting sensation in Pakistan. His marathon transmissions during the recent holy month of Ramadan — 11 hours a day, for 30 days straight — offered viewers a kaleidoscopic mix of prayer, preaching, game shows and cookery, and won record ratings for his channel, Geo Entertainment.