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Apologies if this is not the best SE site for asking this question, but I really wasn't sure which one would match. Posting anonymously because of the sensitive subject.

My fiancée and I recently married (civil marriage). We live in my native country, in Europe; my fiancée, who came here a couple years ago as a student, was born in Iran, from muslim parents, and thus legally a muslim, although she is agnostic at heart. I'm an atheist myself, though I was raised catholic (and know it well enough to pass off as christian if needed.)

Her parents are completely OK with our relationship, know we live together, have visited several times. They know of our beliefs, but they do have a lot of respect for me, as I meet their standards of virtue by my own morals, without the coercion of religion. The rest of her family a little bit less open-minded, but they can tolerate her marrying a christian, if not an atheist, something I have no trouble pretending to be.

However, If I understand correctly, from the point of view of the Islamic Republic of Iran, our marriage would not be considered valid if I'm not muslim.

Of course, all this will only be a problem if we decide to visit Iran. We are very happy with our life here, but she is not ready to abandon completely her family, and the perspective of never being able to return home, even as a tourist, is not easy for her.

Ensuring her safety is my first priority. What could be the consequences for her, if the government was to find out that she has married a non-believer abroad, even with the approval of her father?

I could convert, but if I understand correctly, apostasy is also punishable by death. That alone makes this belief system abhorrent to me. Furthermore, faking a conversion goes against my core values. I'm also worried of the possible consequences of being considered an apostate, or being caught not practicing. What would be the consequences for me, if I'm caught not observing Islam while we are visiting Iran?

I also wonder if, after the required time, when she applies for citizenship in my home country, she could drop her Iranian citizenship and be free from the religious laws applying to citizens?

  • How would you go about converting? What do you think this entails? I cannot provide an answer but I suspect it would be more useful to frame your question as being about the consequences of “pretending to be a Muslim" rather than “(fake) conversion”. – Relaxed Aug 17 '18 at 9:25
  • Please edit in links showing that from the point of view of the Islamic Republic of Iran, our marriage would not be considered valid if I'm not muslim and apostasy is also punishable by death. – user6860 Aug 17 '18 at 9:59
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Is there a reason you have to be a husband to her in Iran? You could just come and go whenever you would like to and if asked by anyone just say I'm a friend of her visiting as a tourist.

I know this is annoying, but I think it's the safer way of faking a conversion to Islam. Although even faking is not a big deal, since they would not just monitor you here and there to see if you're practicing Islam or not. Most people here in Iran don't practice Islam anyway.

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As far as I know, a "fake conversion to Islam" is not possible. Here is the process of converting, as described by www.islamreligion.com:

Becoming a Muslim is a simple and easy process. All that a person has to do is to say a sentence called the Testimony of Faith (Shahada), which is pronounced as:

I testify “La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad rasoolu Allah.”

These Arabic words mean, “There is no true god (deity) but God (Allah), and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God.” Once a person says the Testimony of Faith (Shahada) with conviction and understanding its meaning, then he/she has become a Muslim.

You either convert or you don't, there is no way to do a "fake" conversion. If you don't say the words with conviction, then it's no conversion.

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    But if one says these words without conviction that would be a fake conversion, isn't it? – Ex Patriot Apr 10 '18 at 10:11
  • It would be no conversion. You either convert, or you don't. There's no "fake". And notice that there are no witnesses required, so nobody can prove or disprove that you converted anyway. There are no authorities that could say you converted or not. It's your own personal thing. – gnasher729 Apr 11 '18 at 11:54
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    @gnasher729 this is a semantic debate. The asker really wants to know what will happen if Iran authorities realise he is only passing himself off as a Muslim, but isn't one in reality. – user16259 Apr 11 '18 at 12:56
  • I think this answer is getting at something important the OP is confused about. Presumably, the OP is not interested in actively practicing Islam, attending a mosque, getting a certificate and go to the hajj or anything like that to lend credibility to his apparent conversion. So the question really boils down to: What are the risks and consequences of pretending to be a Muslim when visiting Iran? – Relaxed Aug 17 '18 at 9:29

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