After more than half a year of being restricted to the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, Malik Naveed bin Rehman and his wife, Zahida Altaf, walked out to freedom Tuesday.
A line of 50 applauding parishioners and other supporters greeted them just beyond the church steps, and bin Rehman and Altaf hugged them one a time, offering thanks for months of hospitality.
Just days earlier, federal immigration authorities announced they wouldn’t deport Altaf and bin Rehman while their federal court appeal is pending. That decision ended seven months of hiding for the couple.
“This is the moment we are waiting for — for seven months,” Altaf said.