|This article examines from a comparative perspective the role of Islam in the Bosnian Muslim and Albanian national movements from the Ottoman period up to the late 1980s. The author analyses the two cases step by step: the Ottoman period, Austro-Hungarian rule for Bosnia-Herzegovina, creation of independent Albania and history of Bosnian Muslims and Albanians in the kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in the Interwar time, and finally post-1945 developments. The article emphasizes different social structures of the two communities throughout their history. Babunal examines how Bosnian and Albaina nationalisms took different forms despite their similar position within the Ottoman millet system. The author argues that the political frameworks in which these nationalisms operated defined eventually different outcomes. The article also makes distinction between national movement among Albanians in the Yugoslav lands and independent Albania. Overall, this study points out how different the role of religion can be in the course of building of national consciousness: it can range from the unifying element for Bosnian Muslims to the dividing one among Albanians.