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Iranian musicians react to proposed Quebec charter

azamlogajeanette.jpgSinger Azam Ali and her husband, musician Loga Torkian are both originally from Iran -- a country that's had its share of laws about the way people dress.

They've chosen Montreal as the place to raise their family.

The religious government in Iran forces people to adopt an Islamic dress code. Women are forced to wear a headscarf in public.

As an musician, Ali can not return to Iran because of laws against women giving public performances.

These experiences give this couple a unique view on Quebec's proposed Charter of Values.

"In my view, it's the same as going for dinner to someones house. If you arrive at the door and they say, "We like people to remove their shoes," what would you do? You would remove your shoes."

She says women should have the choice of whether or not to wear a hijab, but she believes its best not to wear it in certain shared public spaces.

But her husband takes a slightly different view.

"As long as what you are wearing and what you are practicing is not overtly conflicting with you do, it should remain a personal choice," says Torkian.

He says a ban similar to the one being proposed in Quebec caused problems when they were playing a concert in Turkey. 

The musical group was playing at a university, where Islamic head scarves are banned. Women who wear the scarves wrote to them, saying they were sad they couldn't come to the concert.

However, both Ali and Torkian say the rules being proposed here would be hard to enforce and may go to far.

Listen to their entire conversation wtih Jeanette Kelly, including a discussion about their new album, Lamentation of Swans.  

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