ISLAMIC LAW AND THE CRIME RATE IN SAUDI ARABIA AND KUWAIT:
Students of comparative criminology have been reminded over and over again of the low level of criminology in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. (p.1)
This "reminder" has come in the form of several studies concluding support not only for low crime rates in Saudi Arabia in general but also for the notion that Saudi crime rates are the lowest in comparison with several other Arab states (e.g. Adler, 1983; Souryal, 1987; El-Sendiony, 1981; Mourad, 1980). This supportive evidence has commonly been said to be the result of the fact that, unlike other Arab countries, Saudi Arabia has adopted sacred scripture (the Quran) as its constitution and has implemented traditional law practices (the Shariah) as its penal code.
However, Ali (1985) has challenged the findings of much of the research on Saudi crime and the Shariah, stating that most of this work suffers from methodological contaminants. These contaminants are said to include: (1) comparison of crime rates in two countries at two different periods of time; (2) comparison of offense categories defined differently for different countries; (3) presentation of data indicating low and/or a declining rate of crime in Saudi Arabia with no comparison to other nations; (4) different systems of recording criminal statistics in the comparison countries; and (5) the availability of alternative explanations for findings such as the effects of differences in religious life, family norms, the educational systems, economic conditions, and demographic characteristics of the comparison countries.
The research problem examined in this study is a comparison of Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti crime statistics that attempts to control for several of the confoundings addressed by Ali (1985). First, the study will control for culture by restricting the comparison to two Arab states (Saudi Arabia and Kuwait). Crucial to this comparison is the fac...