Page last updated at 14:41 GMT, Sunday, 5 April 2009 15:41 UK

Faith groups in environment talks

Summreen Sheikh
Summreen Sheikh says some faiths have diluted the green message

Faith groups have been meeting in Berkshire to exchange ideas on how religion can contribute to the debate on protecting the environment.

People from all the main religious denominations met for the one day conference in Reading on Saturday.

Organisers said looking after the planet was already central to many major religions.

A spokesman said the meeting hoped to "highlight the scientific facts behind the current environmental crisis".

The Reading Faith Forum, which hosted the event, represents Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Jews and other smaller groups in the town.

'Wellbeing of communities'

Summreen Sheikh, of the forum and also the Muslim Environment Network, told the BBC the environmental message had become diluted in the education of the Christian and Muslim faiths.

"Buddhists and Hindus - their environmental themes are quite strong through their religions," she said.

"I think being vegetarian, Buddhists follow nature very much in their lifestyles.

"With the Christian and Muslim faiths, I think the environmental message has been diluted in the education of the religions, but is definitely there in all the scriptures."

Tim Clewer, another member of the forum, said environmental issues were "not exclusively a faith concern, but generally people of faith are interested in the future, in values and the well-being of communities; in what will be passed on to future generations".

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