Man who tackled ‘Eggboy’ wanted over incident at NSW church
Outspoken Anglican priest Rod Bower has identified one of the men who attacked ‘Eggboy’, as the same person who allegedly terrorised his Central Coast church last year.
It is believed Neil Luke Erikson and several others stormed into a Gosford Anglican Church service carrying a whip, a fake sword and a megaphone in May last year, traumatising the congregation.
At the time Father Bower described the incident as a “terrorist attack”.
Erikson was also one of the men who tackled a teenager who cracked an egg over Queensland senator Fraser Anning’s head at a press conference in Melbourne on Saturday. Photo: The teenager is restrained after the egging incident at the weekend. (ABC News)
The altercation prompted the senator to hit the 17-year-old in the face, after which several supporters tackled the teenager and restrained him.
Mr Anning has been heavily criticised for his comments linking the Christchurch massacre that left 50 Muslim people dead on immigration.
He has refused to apologise for the comments, instead repeating calls for a ban on Muslims in Australia.
“What we’ve seen from the Muslim community in the last few days has been nothing short of extraordinary — extraordinary graciousness, extraordinary sense of forgiveness,” Father Bower said.
“Muslim communities living out of this in the last few days has been inspirational to this Christian.” No stranger to controversy
NSW Police confirmed Erikson failed to front Gosford Local Court last September, charged with using threats to prevent a clergyman discharging duties, and disturbing religious worship.
The 34-year-old has an outstanding non-custodial arrest warrant for the charges.
“I think it’s sad that a senator in our nation gathers around him such as people of questionable moral fibre,” Father Bower said.
“We need to send a very clear message that this sort of extreme right-wing terrorism that we see from these groups is not to be tolerated.”
Erikson, along with other far-right leaders Blair Cottrell and Christopher Shortis were also convicted and fined in September 2017 for inciting serious vilification of Muslims through their stunt of beheading a mannequin with a toy sword outside the Bendigo Council offices in 2015. Building bridges, not walls Photo: Father Bower changed his billboard to read: “We belong to Allah and to Allah we shall return” as a tribute to those killed in the Christchurch attacks. (Supplied: Anglican Parish of Gosford)
Last year was not the first time the Gosford Anglican Church has been targeted by anti-Islamic groups.
The incident followed a similar confrontation in 2016, when far-right group Party for Freedom barged into a service dressed in mock Islamic attire and chastised the congregation for their pro-refugee views.
Father Bower said despite the incidents and threats he received daily, he would continue to stand up to extremists.
“I won’t be deterred from building bridges by people who want to build walls,” he said.
“It’s imperative we don’t bow down to this kind of violent bullying.”
Father Bower has also been openly critical of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s $55 million promise to keep religious schools and places of worship safe.
“It’s quite extraordinary that the Prime Minister is now offering to protect people that his particular policies and his particular politics have inspired to threaten places of worship,” he said.
He said the money didn’t mean much if it wasn’t accompanied by a strategy to target far-right extremism directly.