Shariah Law and American State Courts: An Assessment of State Appellate Court Cases

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This study evaluates published appellate legal cases that involved “conflict of law” issues between Shariah (Islamic law) and American state law.

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50 Cases Involving Shariah Law by State

The following cases are presented as they are published, including formatting, typography and highlights in order to provide the utmost accuracy. We have included the highlighted
search terms as a useful points of reference for the reader.




CATEGORY: Shariah Property Law
RATING: Highly Relevant
COUNTRY: Syria/Morocco


143 Ariz. 460 (1984)

694 P.2d 290


No. 2 CA-CIV 5038.

Court of Appeals of Arizona, Division 2.

September 28, 1984.

Review Denied January 8, 1985.

462*462 Miller & Pitt, P.C. by W. John Thomas, Tucson, for plaintiff/appellee.

Croswell & Cornelio by Carmine Cornelio, Tucson for defendants/appellants.


HOWARD, Judge.

This is a garnishment action arising out of a case which we previously decided, Nationwide Resources Corporation v. Massabni et al., 134 Ariz. 557, 658 P.2d 210 (1982) in which we, inter alia, awarded Nationwide court costs of $1,312.30 and attorney’s fees of $33,349.29. The trial court, in accordance with the mandate, entered a judgment against the Massabnis and Pierre Zouheil, who was the other defendant in the case, in favor of Nationwide for the foregoing sums. Nationwide then served a writ of garnishment on Jerry Janke and Grace Janke, who answered that they were indebted to Pierre Zouheil and his wife, Linda, in the principal amount of $107,400.57, evidenced by a promissory note payable to the Zouheils as husband and wife. It was the Zouheils’ position in the trial court that the debt owed to them by the Jankes was community property and not subject to garnishment because Nationwide’s judgment was against Pierre Zouheil only. Nationwide contended that the money owed by the Jankes was not a community asset, but the sole and separate property of Pierre Zouheil and therefore subject to Nationwide’s judgment. The trial court, after a trial on the issue, found that the debt was the separate property of Pierre Zouheil and awarded judgment to Nationwide in the sum of $34,661.59. No judgment was entered against Linda Zouheil.

The Zouheils contend the trial court erred because Nationwide failed to prove that the debt was the separate property of Pierre Zouheil and not community property. We disagree and affirm.

The record shows that Pierre Zouheil was a Syrian citizen. He married Linda Zouheil in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1972. They are both Christians. They moved to Syria and lived there before moving to Morocco. In 1978 they were living in Morocco but were citizens of Syria. In 1978 they both were to come to the United States but Mrs. Zouheil had a medical problem which prevented her from traveling. Zouheil came by himself to Sierra Vista, Arizona, meeting with his friends, the Massabnis, whom he had met previously in Germany. The Massabnis and Pierre Zouheil bought a restaurant business from Nationwide Resources, which purchase became the subject of the main action involved in Nationwide Resources Corporation v. Massabni, supra. A few days after making the offer for the restaurant, Zouheil invested $120,000 in a day care center in Sierra Vista owned by the Jankes. The parties signed a document stating that Pierre Zouheil invested the money to purchase a one-half interest in the business, including the land involved with the business. The document speaks of the parties as partners. A warranty deed was also made out to Pierre Zouheil, granting him a one-half interest in the realty on which the day care center was operated, as his sole and separate property. The money which Zouheil used to purchase the property and partnership interest in the day care center came from a bank account in Dresden, Germany. Zouheil deposited his Moroccan earnings in this bank account which he claimed was in both his and his wife’s names.

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