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Student charged in assault at Temple activities fair

A Temple University student has been charged in an attack on another student that reportedly involved anti-Semitic statements at an activities fair.

Court records show Abdel Aziz Jalil is facing charges of simple assault and recklessly endangering another person in the Aug. 20 incident.

He is alleged to have punched another undergraduate student during a dispute at Temple Fest, an outdoor festival being held on Polett Walk to help students learn about campus organizations and services.

The victim told news outlets after the incident that he exchanged words with students at a table for the pro-Palestinian group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and was then assaulted.

Temple University said after the attack that it was alleged to have included physical violence, anti-Semitic statements, and racial slurs. SJP has said Jalil was an acquaintance of group members but not part of the organization and refuted the allegations of anti-Semitism.

No hate crime charges have been filed against Jalil, a student in Temple's College of Science and Technology.

Tasha Jamerson, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office said "the malicious intention toward the religion, ethnicity or race of the victim must be the motive" for the crime for such charges to be filed.

"According to the victim himself, he does not believe that he was assaulted because of religion, race or ethnicity," she wrote in an email. "Witnesses at the scene also expressed the same opinion, they did not believe this victim was assaulted because of religion race or ethnicity."

Jamerson said the victim had taken part in a "pretty combative" conversation with students at the SJP table prior to the assault, but Jalil wasn't engaged in that debate.

Jalil, 22, was arraigned overnight and released after posting 10 percent of $1,500 bail, court records show.

A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 1, according to court records.

Temple's Office of Student Conduct is also looking into the incident. That probe involves a hearing board and a private hearing with information presented by police, the parties involved in the incident, and witnesses.

The university's probe is ongoing, Temple spokesman Ray Betzner said today. Any disciplinary action for Jalil would come as a result of Temple's internal investigation, he said.

The victim, Daniel Vessal, declined immediate medical attention at the scene, according to Temple. Vessal has said he later sought treatment for a headache and stiff neck.