Australian Muslim cleric refused entry to New Zealand after Christchurch terror attack

A top Muslim cleric from Australia was controversially refused entry to New Zealand in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack, it has emerged.

Sheikh Shady Alsuleiman was set to fly to Christchurch on Monday to assist with the burial of 50 victims, who lost their lives in a shooting at two mosques in the city last Friday.

Sheikh Shady, who acts as an advisor to the Australian government on Islamic matters, was told by New Zealand authorities that he would not be allowed to fly here without a special visa.

He is now believed to be in the country, but required intervention from Australian officials to get his visit here signed off, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

"I was shocked. It's sad to see something like this happen, especially during this time of challenges and difficulties," he told the newspaper.

Sheikh Shady was placed on an Islamic State hit list in 2017 because he actively discourages violence in the name of Islam, and urges people to follow the laws of the country they live in.

Immigration New Zealand says he was initially refused entry because Denmark placed a ban on him last year.

"Because of the exclusion [from Denmark] he required what's known as a special direction enabling a visa to be granted," a spokesperson explained.

"Taking into account all the circumstances, Mr Alsuleiman has now been granted the special direction and a one month visitor visa."

Sheikh Shady's ban from Denmark was for "[displaying] behaviour that gives reason to believe the foreign nat­ional could pose a threat to the public order in Denmark".

The sheikh was heavily criticised in 2016 for his contentious views on homosexuality.