Reuters International

Ibrahim Haji Mohammad, a Kurdish refugee from Syria, and his Hungarian wife Krisztina stand front of their barber shop in Budapest, Hungary, May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh

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By Krisztina Than

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - A Syrian refugee has made the most of a fad for trim and dyed beards in Hungary, setting up a barber shop in downtown Budapest popular with foreigners and Hungarians alike.

Ibrahim Haji Mohammad fled to Hungary from the Kurdish region of Syria eight years ago. With the help of human traffickers he flew to Ukraine before walking through the border into Hungary. He applied for asylum but did not intend to stay long, but rather move close to brothers in Denmark and Sweden.

His plans changed quickly after he fell in love with a Hungarian woman whom he has married, and now they have a five-year-old son and his barber shop in the Hungarian capital.

"Thank God, I have all the papers now, and (shortly) I would like to apply for Hungarian citizenship," Ibrahim said.

His clientele has grown especially fast in the past year.

A Hungarian who identifies himself as a rap singer called Mr. Busta said that since last summer he had been coming twice a week from the countryside to have his beard cut by Ibrahim.

"I had some reservations... as with this migrant story many people have had prejudices and also towards Ibrahim, but...over the past year we have slowly become almost friends," he said.

(Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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