Removing Newton from curriculum makes mockery of decolonial movement, Maajid Nawaz fears

25 April 2021, 16:25

By Seán Hickey

A university contemplates removing Sir Isaac Newton from its curriculum for apparent links to slavery, but Maajid Nawaz thinks such a move 'goes too far.'

Maajid Nawaz accepted that "there is a benefit" to decolonising education, in order for scholars to understand the path and economy of scientific ideas.

He insisted that it is important to "understand the journey this idea took before it got to Newton, or Einstein," but after reports that Sheffield University is considering revision of their physics courses with Isaac Newton — the father of gravity — facing removal from the curriculum, Maajid was left scratching his head.

He told listeners that on the "theory on gravity, I don't know how you decolonise that."

"Sometimes somebody invents somebody and you've got to credit them."

The reports claim that Isaac Newton had shares in a company which had links to slavery, which is being used to justify his potential removal.

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"There's a danger if it goes too far, that it basically becomes material to mock and that's what I'm worried about, that it's getting a bit comedic," Maajid feared.

He added that on the same topic, The Canterbury tales is set to get the same treatment for apparent links to slavery. Maajid scoffed at the story, reminding listeners that the epic was "written a century before the transatlantic slave trade began."

"The pendulum could be in danger of swinging too far the other way," Maajid concluded.