(Washington Monument obelisk and crescent moon over Washington January 23, 2007. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst )

With PowerPoint presentations and political promises, Egypt’s influential Muslim Brotherhood made its U.S. diplomatic debut this week hoping to persuade Washington that the Islamist group is committed to democracy and rule of law.

A delegation from the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political wing of the once-banned Islamist movement, has been making the Washington rounds talking to officials and think tank experts about their growing role as Egypt heads toward presidential elections.

“We are here to start building bridges of understanding with the United States,” Sondos Asem, a member of the party’s foreign relations committee and editor of its official English language website, said at a forum at Georgetown University in Washington.

“We acknowledge the very important role of the United States in the world and we would like our relations with the United States to be better than before.”