Rami Ismail @tha_rami
Rami Ismail @tha_rami
Hilversum, Netherlands
Chief Executive Business & Development Guy at indie game studio Vlambeer. Creator of presskit(). Drinks only real cane sugar coke.
Feel free to ask me any question!
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Hi, I don't know wether you'd be able to answer this, since I don't know if you know spanish, but I have never ever met a muslim, so the little I know about Islam I read it here: http://yaelfarache.com/islam-101/ it puts in in a very bad light, and I wanted to know how much of it is true.
I think the main thing you should take away from that article is that there are 1.6 billion muslims around the world, or about 23% of this planet's population. If Islam truly was a religion of war, we'd be fighting World War 3 right now.
That does not mean the religion is free from bigoted or regressive views, or that the Quran is free from violent passages. But one thing about Islam that is important is that even the Quran itself says that no human should take it as an absolute, for its true meaning is known to Allah only. More problematic content exists in the human written content that is part of the culture in Islamic countries nowadays, which includes the Sunnah and Sharia. For me, Islam is based on the Quran, and as said, the Quran explicitely states that no human knows its true meaning.
The phrase that muslims use to communicate that idea is الله اعلم, pronounced "Allahu a'alam". It translates to "Allah knows best". If any muslim ever says something absolute, or communicates an absolute judgement based on the Quran, a wiser muslim will retort with that phrase. The wiser the muslim, the less likely they are to want to judge another human based on religious texts - instead they'll leave judgement up to Allah.
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Thanks, I understand that point of view better now.
You're more than welcome. Thanks for asking!
I've noticed some people going ,,lets have a month without books written by white cis men'' or ,,I'm not interested in a podcast if it's mostly white guys''. I'm an SJW, but hell... I think this kind of approach is equally awful to racism against non-white people. What do you think?
I don't think so. Jenn Frank wrote an amazing article called The Rolodex ( http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/JennFrank/20140327/214022/The_Rolodex.php ) about how privilege structures affect people's chances in life. The idea of not reading work by 'cis white men' is less about the 'cis white men' than it is about finding things that are written by 'the rest of the world'. In a way, it's an active search towards more diverse media and perspectives by excluding the 'usual'.
Think of it this way: if you want to learn something new and interesting about a city you live in, you can do that by simply prohibit yourself from traveling the roads you already know. This is that, but the city is all of human expression, and the roads most traveled are 'cis white men'. It's not about about those roads, it's about the roads you're missing by always taking those.
considering your own religious background and beliefs, how would you negotiate religious practices at home, potentially with your own kids (e.g. if married to a non-muslim, what are rules about alcohol in the house, pork/bacon being served, etc.) - (Male Muslim in Western country)
I think I'm taking the same approach as my dad: teach the mythological, empathic and ritual parts of Islam, and connect the rules to home and house rather than their identity. I believe religion should be a choice rather than a given, so if they leave house they're free to make their own choices.
I won't store alcohol. Anything else will be an ongoing negotiation, as it should be.
I've only heard you speak English. Which do you speak more on a daily basis? English or Dutch?
Depends on where my day is.
Why are developers so insistent on pussyfooting around whether or not they're developing on Nintendo platforms? Every single time the answer is either just dismissive or so vague as to be pointless. I'm happy buying their game on PC, except if they tell me I'm an idiot for wanting it on the Wii U.
Because Nintendo is a strange platform to be working on. The hardware is rather specific, so getting the game to run is unpredictable until it's done. Then on top of that, business with Nintendo is a relative unknown too. Basically, until your game is done or the architecture is solid, you don't promise Nintendo platforms.
One thing that people like less than being vague is being lied to or having promises broken. So if you're in a spot where you're 90% sure, you go with 'we're hoping to hit Nintendo platforms' rather than 'yes' (which might not work out) or 'no' (which means some Wii U lover buys it on PC instead and then gets pissed off when it turns out you've been working on Wii U for months)
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How often do you find yourself trimming your circle of associates based on behavior you either disapprove of or find harmful? Have people burned bridged with you by simply being awful, even if not necessarily to you directly? I ask because, almost daily, I find myself unfriending/unfollowing/muting
Very, very rarely. I might be naive, but I like to believe most people are inherently trying to do good, even if they're failing at that miserably. Pretty much everyone starts with my trust, and they can only lose it from there. It hasn't happened often that my trust has been really misplaced: I've cut one person for leaking private conversations and using the threat of leaking conversations as leverage. Obviously, leaking the conversation did nothing, but it did show that person to be completely untrustworth. That's the one non-spam block I've ever done in my life. I will very occassionally unfollow people on Twitter if I find their contribution lacking.
You have the right to use social media in whatever way you want, whether it's as an open platform, a podium, a one-way broadcast or a tightly curated space. You can use blocks, followback, autoblockers, autofollowers - it doesn't matter. It's your social media. If you feel better for muting or unfollowing, please keep doing that.
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Rami Bear have you had a good insight recently? Please tell us about it. -Definitely Not Lisa
I realized a while ago that all my metaphors on games are about trees, but something always felt off about that. Just the other day I finally realized that they're not really about trees. They're about the processes of growth and life and nurture, not about what those create.
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So I love NC, and decided to look into the people that make it. I've noticed an awful lot of hostility towards "GamerGaters" or whatever they're called. After a little research, I don't see what there's so much to hate about 'em. Just seems like people being people. Your thoughts?
Gamergate is a militarized movement that pretends to be about 'ethics in videogame journalism'. It has been part of a larger movement that has caused a lot of hate, hostility and harassment in the industry. Participants vary wildly, but tend to be radically opposed to feminism, diversity initiatives, academia, criticism of the artform or progressive game design, or a combination thereof.
Gamergate has engaged in dogpiling, threatening, harassing, doxxing and intimidating - and were such a large problem that most major companies in the games industry have spoken up against the movement and the damage it causes to the industry and the reputation of the industry. Individuals tend to speak up against it less frequently, because the damage of Gamergate targeting you can include attempts at getting you fired, personal information being spread, harassment and threats against yourself or your loved ones. Many targets have resorted to using tools to make their social media experience usable again, and two-factor authentication became ubiquitous for people in the industry after the rise of Gamergate.
You can look up coverage about it on most major news sites, including CNN, BBC and in the gaming press. I'm strongly opposed to the movement, having been a minor target (worst I got was a photo of my front door with a threatening message, and that still makes me a minor target!) and knowing several of their main targets.
An upside of the movement is that now it is clear that our industry has community issues. While a majority of the games industry is very supportive of diversity efforts, we still have rotten apples and a subsection of gamers is still very hostile towards 'others'. We have a long way too go.
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What's your earliest childhood memory?
A lamp hanging from the ceiling of the house I was born in. We lived there until I was 3 years old. It's all I remember of the place.
favorite thing to look at?
Earth from the skies at nighttime.
Why do you use ask.fm instead of twitter for questions?, well this have the commodity of being anonymous and non public until answered, any other reason?
I can answer in more than 140 characters here, questions are invisible so it's easier to select the ones I feel like answering, I can scroll back to old questions that I haven't answered yet and I like people having the option of being anonymous while asking.
Basically, Twitter is terrible for this sort of thing.
what makes you most happy?
A good stroll while chatting with someone that's way smarter than me.
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Have you ever feel bothered by too much of a certain fan? ...you know right?
Nah. I've felt some came pretty close to overstepping their boundaries, but I tend to just explain that they are doing that. I tend to really appreciate when fans take the effort to say something - in many cases it's clear that they're nervous about reaching out. The fact that they care so much that they're willing to overstep those nerves is super lovely.
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What worries you the most?
That I'll grow unable to travel and have to choose which of the many wonderful friends I have around the world I'll get to see frequently.
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...who's your favorite 90's professional wrestler?  Spu
Rey Mysterio. As a kid, I couldn't believe my eyes seeing the moves he pulled off. I used to be a big fan of the Undertaker as well.
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how do you feel about the gays? does your religion inform your feelings about them?
My religion taught me to be tolerant and empathic, and that my religion and ideologies are my own and not to be enforced on others. I don't believe sexual orientation is chosen, nor that a sexual orientation can be 'wrong'. As far as I'm concerned, anyone can have any sexual orientation they like, as long as their attempts to satisfy their sexual needs are fully and properly consensual.
We don't even understand the first few letters of the first Sura of the book, and yet some presume to be able to judge in Allah's place based on the texts in the Quran. At no point were humans appointed to take Allah's place in judging others, and it is clearly stated in the Quran that no human will ever understand the full meaning or nuance of the Quran. As a muslim, I'll oppose anyone who feels they have the right to force a sexual orientation upon someone else.
As a muslim, no human being should ever be 'less muslim' to you for being exactly how Allah created them.
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Do you ever worry about having such a public relationship and then possibly breaking up? Whenever I think about dating within the industry I get cold feet because I hate the public fallout after a breakup. Even when it's amicable it's awkward.
I had honestly promised myself to never date within the industry. Adriel was just a bit too perfect to pass up on. I'm sure that if things don't work out for some reason, it'll be a bit awkward for a while.
You know, love is always a risky proposition. You put your heart out there in the hands of someone else, and you never know whether you'll get it back in one piece, if at all. But if you don't dare to love for fear of it not working out, you'll never know whether it could've worked out. What if it does?
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I want to be friends with you because you are such a wonderful person, what should I do?
Be a wonderful person and say 'hi'.
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Do you like karaokes?
Yes. I do a pretty mean
for some reason. I just like the silliness of it, though. Last time I did karaoke, I wrecked my vocal cords with Chop Suey.
What is the best way to approach strict Muslim parents about something that you know they would be against, without ruining your relationship with them?
There are a lot of factors that are unknown to me that influence my answer, but the short version is that there is no best way. That shouldn't necessarily stop you, though. You're you. You are a full human beings, with certain personality traits, the ability to love and care and make choices. Please don't feel you have to change because of your parents.
I'll be honest with you: like with anything that is a strong ideological, religious or personal difference between people that love each other, this is likely going to suck. With parents it's usually extra bad, because they're usually in either an authoritarian position or in transition from that role to a less influential role in your life.
My personal belief is that you should trust your parents to be intelligent, compassionate and caring beings. I had a year and a half fallout with my muslim, Egyptian father over my first relationship (a Dutch atheist girl), and actually ended up moving out of the house for a year and a half. We made amends much, much later - by the time I had my own apartment.
Now, he is accepting of the fact that I am not dating a muslim. I guess he doesn't really have a choice anyway, and by now I've had long-term relationships with a Dutch girl, a Dutch-kind of Eastern European girl, a Dutch-Greek girl and now an American girl. I think the only way I could push it further in terms of dating a girl would be to date an Israeli girl.
Keep in mind though, that religion is often a huge part of someone's identity. Like your parents can't force you into fitting a specific mold, you can't force them into fitting a specific mold. Sometimes, things work out better than you hoped. Sometimes, things don't work out directly, but do eventually. Sometimes, it's not something you can resolve.
Depending on what you're talking about, there are things you can learn about Islam or religion to help you with that conversation. I'd be more than happy to discuss those in a followup (the wonders of anonomity!), if you want.
you're cute and I miss you (not a question)
If you're Adriel, <3. If you're not Adriel, also <3 but it's a slightly different <3 than the <3 Adriel gets.
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might I be your 1000th answer?
Oof. Missed it. 1002 is better than 1000 anyway.
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who's your favorite 80's professional wrestler
More of a 90's fan, myself.
Are you, or are you certainly a fan of Bisnaps face?
I am a big fan of Bisnap. Love how positive he keeps his community.