Jabil Bush Hussein is outraged. Despite repeated denials by the PDP (Pakistan Democratic Party) leader and candidate for prime minister, rumors that he is or once was a Christian continue to gather momentum.
Hussein's campaign aides have emphasized his strong Muslim beliefs and downplayed any Christian connection. Hussein spokesman Nouri Aswari issued a statement yesterday reiterating that "Husssein has never been a Christian, was not raised as a Christian, and is a committed Muslim."
"After I graduated from college, I submitted myself to Allah's will and dedicated myself to discovering his truth and carrying out his works," Hussein said yesterday.
He also called "vile and scurrilous" the use of his middle name, Bush, by some members of the opposition Pakistan People's Party. "As I have said before, I did not choose my middle name, and I am not a Christian. Nor does my middle name have, as some have insinuated, anything to do with Moses and the burning bush. I am not a Jew either."
Islamic fundamentalist groups, as well as some PPP leaders, have sought to tarnish Hussein's reputation by associating his name with former US strongman George W. Bush, widely reviled for his murderous invasion of Iraq that left more than a million civilians dead and the country in shambles.
PPP Chairman Salah Yusef formally denounced Thursday the Karachi PPP's use of Jabil Hussein's full name in a recent press release questioning Hussein's commitment to Palestine.
Adding fuel to the Bush fire was Friday's "666 Minutes" interview with Malika Rahim, who is competing against Hussein for leadership of the PDP. Rahim, responding to a question, sounded uncertain about Hussein's heritage.
Rahim was asked, "You don't believe that MP Hussein is a Christian?"
"Of course not, there is no basis for that. I take him on the basis of what he says," Rahim said. "And you know, there isn't any reason to doubt that."
Meanwhile the Christian world continues to be outraged by the debate over Hussein's religion.
"They hate our freedom and our way of life," US President John McCain said yesterday. "Such a hateful debate would never take place in a Judeo-Christian culture such as ours. If this continues much longer we may have to consider sending troops to Pakistan for a hundred years." President McCain has asked Rudy Giuliani, secretary of the Department of Anti-Anti-American Thoughts and Activities, to study the situation further.
President McCain's statements were echoed by Democrats on the Hill. "We support the president on this issue," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "Our only disagreement is on how long the brave men and women of our armed forces should be deployed to Pakistan. We believe our troops should stay there no longer than 99 years. However, I am hopeful we can arrive at a compromise time-frame with the president."
In an unusual trinity of agreement, televangelist Pat Robertson added his voice to the McCain-Pelosi chorus. At a press conference yesterday, Robertson said: "The attack on Christianity in Pakistan proves once again that Islam is a religion of intolerance. Such hatred would be unimaginable among Christians. If that is not the truth, may God strike me d "
At that very instant, a lightning bolt cremated Roberston. His bedazzled followers immediately burst into Pakistani-American singer Nadia Ali's song, Rapture:
"You make my soul complete
Rapture tastes so sweet "