A Salafist imam who taught two men who were stopped from leaving New Zealand to join the war in Syria says he is no terrorist.

Sheikh Abu Abdulla, 50, was last week accused of being a preacher of extreme Islam and trespassed for a second time in two years from the Avondale Islamic Centre where he has been the leader since 2010.

In an interview with the Herald yesterday, Mr Abdulla said the men - one a local-born New Zealand Muslim and another of Somalian descent - were just two of his many students at the mosque. But he denied that he had prepared them to fight in the conflict.

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