Egypt's ambassador to New Zealand has caused upset among Muslim groups by saying imams are being sent from his country to "take control" of mosques.

Tarek al-Wasimy told the New Zealand Herald that three imams were waiting for visas to enter New Zealand to fight the radicalisation of Muslims in the country.

"We don't want anything to happen here like what has happened in Belgium, Paris, Madrid or London so we are sending imams to explain Islam and to take control of Islamic centres and mosques here," Wasimy said.

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